Jim Scaysbrook: Desert Racing

Jim Scaysbrook reflects on his time racing with Mike Hailwood.

Jim Scaysbrook

Jim Scaysbrook (left) and Mike Hailwood before the 1977 Castrol Six Hour race.

Photo By Phil Aynsley

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One of Australia’s top motocross racers in the 1970s, Jim Scaysbrook also competed successfully in dirt track, reliability trials, desert racing and speedway, and was the first Australian to race in the AMA Motocross series in 1973. Returning Down Under, he became a copywriter for a top Sydney advertising agency while taking up road racing at the international level, racing Yamahas and Ducatis in the Isle of Man TT, Malaysia, Macau and Australia. 

After a long career in advertising, Jim concentrated on journalism. He’s written more than a dozen motorcycle books, and since 2006 he’s been the editor of Old Bike Australasia. An affection for classic singles saw him involved in the early days of historic racing in Australia, through which he met Mike Hailwood — and that led in turn to Jim’s partnering on Mike’s return to the race track on a V-twin Ducati.

“I got to be mates with Mike Hailwood through being in the right place at the right time,” Scaysbrook says. “Mike had packed up Formula 1 car racing after injuring his leg at the Nürburgring, and moved to New Zealand to be involved with McLaren Marine. He was invited as a guest to the January 1977 All-Historic weekend at Amaroo Park, a combined car and bike meeting held in the infancy of historic racing in Australia. They got him to drive an F1 Lotus and ride Barry Ryan’s ex-Kel Carruthers 500cc Manx Norton. I had a 7R AJS with a 630cc Seeley G50 engine, and in the main race of the day I won and Mike was second on the Norton. MC 

Order the July/August 2013 issue of Motorcycle Classics to read more about Jim Scaysbrook’s experiences riding with Mike Hailwood. Contact Customer Service at (800) 880-7567 or contact us by email.