Racing motorcycle, Honda H100, metal / rubber / vinyl / plastic, modified for racing by Michael Combley and Mark Bliss, Australia, 2002, raced by Michael Combley and Mark Bliss, Australia, 2003-2005, made by Honda Motor Company Limited, Japan, 1984
'Bucket racing' was introduced about 1983 as a means for motocycle racing enthusiasts to compete against one another "on a level playing field" where money and technical expertise played little role in the outcome of a race. Most of the initial protagonists of the class either had or were able to acquire cheaply a 'bucket', an old, low powered commuter bike that many had owned and ridden in their youth, and had been pushed to the back of the garage or shed. The name 'bucket' referred to a 'bucket of rubbish' - thus a bike with little power and class. The engine size was limited to 150cc for four stroke machines and 100cc for two strokes. Initially a monetary value of $200 was placed on the bikes so that the temptation to spend money on increasing performance was resisted, especially when the rules allowed a competitor to purchase a winning bike for $200. The owner was compelled to sell. This figure was later changed to $500 as 'bucket' racing became more of an accessible form of budget motorcycle racing with less emphasis on rider ability as the race decider, before being dispensed with.
Bucket racing evolved into the cheapest form of motorcycle racing, making it accessible to all, and it has been reckoned as "...one of the most enduring forms of motorcycle racing that NSW and Australia has seen in the post war period." Bucket racing reached a peak in the mid-1990s with up to 60 riders , divided into amateur and pro (junior and senior) classes, competing at race meetings. Because of its popularity bucket racing spread to Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania and New Zealand.
As with many forms of motor sport the evolution acknowledges money and technical expertise, as well as rider/driver ability, as deciding factors in racing; and bucket racing is a typical example. It became accepted that bucket racers could be developed into "...very speedy racing machines." Racing seats, fibreglass fairings, rear set footrests and gear changes and clip-on handlebars turned the bucket racers into replicas of production racing bikes. Technically savvy owners managed to modify the engines of these bikes to produce double the horsepower of the standard commuter basis of their racer, giving the engine a power output proportional to factory production racers.
This Honda H100 is a typical of the two-stroke bucket racers competing in the past two years. It has been built and raced, with some success, by amateurs with no formal technical training. Michael Combley, the donor, is currently the newsletter editor of the Bucket Racing Association (BRA) .
This motorcycle was purchased by Michael Combley on Ebay in 2002 for $350 with the purpose of converting it into a 'bucket racer'. Michael had done some motorcycle racing in England before emigrating to Australia. He was assisted in the conversion of the motorcycle by Czech-born film maker, Mark Bliss.
Michael and Mark formed a racing team called Team Mad Dog and the motorcycle was first raced in NSW in 2003. It was raced by Mark Bliss at Wakefield Park, Eastern Creek, Oran Park GP, South and Figure-of-Eight circuits. It finished third in the Bucket Race Association (BRA) NSW AM 2-stroke championship in 2003. It participated in the Bucket one-hour race at Oran Park on November 28, 2004, ridden by Martin Dunlop and Dieter Steinbusch, with an average speed of 106.4kph. It was last raced at Eastern Creek on February 26 and 27, 2005 where the engine was damaged internally.