Part Five of the yearlong Jim Greening Match Race photo installment features the two stars of the 1972 Transatlantic Match Races – Cal Rayborn and Ray Pickrell. While the British team beat the U.S. squad that year, long running assumptions about road racing held by the people of the country that invented the sport were shattered by Rayborn’s record-setting performance.
Rayborn raced a Harley-Davidson XR with one of the early iron engines, a motorcycle that was considered hopelessly outdated by road racing pundits. The Brits fancied their short courses as tracks that took years to master. The short-circuit kings of the day were Ray Pickrell and John Cooper. There were six races over the Easter holiday at three different tracks – Brands Hatch, Mallory Park and Oulton Park. Rayborn shocked the British fans by winning half of those races on the Harley XR and setting a lap record at Brands.
Rayborn was awarded the BP Man of the Meet Award. It marked one of the first times an American rider had performed so spectacularly in an international competition.
Other posts in the Jim Greening Transatlantic Match Race photo series can be found here.