Racing history Blair Briggs (NZ)
Blair started road racing in 1979, 250 production riding an X7 Suzuki. In 1980 the LC250 Yamaha arrived and he like everyone else had to have one to be competitive.
Blair managed some top 3 finishes nationally on the LC but really all he had eyes for was a TZ so late 1980 he bought what he had always wanted, a McIntosh TZ350F.
The thrill of riding a pure bred racing bike for the first time was something I’ll never forget.
Coming to terms with the TZ was another thing altogether and that first year was a steep learning curve. Blair's second full season on the TZ was showing signs of promise and about mid-season things came together and he found himself dicing with the Woodley brothers, Neil Smith, Robert Holden, Bob Toomey, Mike Pero, Brent Jones and about 5 or 6 other competitive TZ’s and Rotac’s it was a great period of racing and a real riders class, Blair enjoyed some podium finishes in the NZGP, TT and National Championship Series. Blair finished second to Rodger Freeth in a senior TT race and won a Juniot TT.
...we (Rodger and myself) were both on McIntosh’s which was really neat
Blair bought an RZ350 just for extra track time, but never really paid too much attention to setting it up but really enjoyed racing it on the street circuits,
...the TZ was hard work around tight street circuits but out on its own on the tracks
Blair rode a 6 hour with Mike Pero on the 350
...that was a bit of fun, although we finished in the top 10, we had started as favourites so ended up coming away disappointed.
The big F1 bikes caught Blair's interest, the 350 class was no more so it was a TZ250 or up a class. Norris Farrow was selling his Steve Roberts Suzuki he wanted to get a Mk 7 RGB500. This second ‘plastic fantastic’ had won the Macau GP had done well in the International series and led the Arai for a while (DNF engine). Blair first rode it at Bay Park...
Rodger (single shock McIntosh) Norris RGB500 and myself booked the track, man did that thing fly, I just loved the way the big 4 cylinder would just lay on its side until everything was scraping then just throttle on! Like all big bikes it was easy to look fast, trying to stay with the fast guys was a different story! These things ate tyres (the TZ ate pistons, rings and cranks)
Steve Roberts took Blair under his wing as did Phil Payne (mechanic for Randy Mamola and the Britten V1000) they helped with set up and Wellington Motorcycles the engine...
the thing just kept getting faster I was putting in some respectable rides, some podiums, even pushed Rodger and Robert once or twice.
In 1986 Blair accepted a role in Australia establishing a new business his racing came to an unexpected but required end. Turn the clock forward 24 years and
I find myself back on the track riding a bike more beautiful than I could have imagined, with a team I wish I had 24 years earlier.
Orange is my new favourite colour