Imagine the scene, freshly cleared snow lying round the outside of a circuit amidst freezing cold temperatures. A scene from the close season perhaps.

In the last full weekend of March 1979, that's exactly the conditions that confronted Tom Herron, now a fully fledged Suzuki GB works rider, as he competed in the early season World of Sport International meeting at Donington Park. 
It was Tom's first race in Britain in the colours of Texaco Heron Team Suzuki.

Just a few weeks previously Tom had made his Suzuki grand prix debut in the sweltering heat of the Venezuelan GP where he finished a brilliant third.

But this was an entirely different scenario. There was a biting cold wind throughout the two day meeting as rain showers (and in some cases sleet) persisted during the meeting, but even these failed to deter the riders that weekend. 

Tom was one of the main stars of the event and in a photo call in the paddock, he took the opportunity to show off the Senior TT trophy which he won the previous season. The trophy was presented to Tom at the circuit by fellow TT legend Mick Grant.

As his official Suzuki leathers had gone astray at the aforementioned Venezuelan GP, Tom came to the line in his 1978 leathers complete with duct taped covered Castrol lettering (one of Suzuki GB's main sponsors was Texaco) for the televised World of Sport Superbike Challenge race on Saturday afternoon. 

Among the entry list for the race were home riders including Mick Grant, Ron Haslam, Roger Marshall, John Newbold, Steve Parrish, Dave Potter, Steve Parrish and Barry Sheene. 

American riders included Skip Aksland, Dave Aldana, Wes Cooley and Mike Baldwin with Japan's Takazumi Katayama thrown in for good measure.

A slight ankle injury, sustained during a a hockey match a few weeks previously did little to deter the Ulsterman as he powered the factory RG500 away from the start line. 

After a solid ride, Tom eventually finished fourth behind team-mate Barry Sheene. Mick Grant was second with John Newbold claiming the last podium place after a strong performance

The following day Tom took second behind Grant in the 500cc race in which Sheene was a casualty of the treacherous conditions. 

Then in the Daily Mirror Trophy race, won by Ron Haslam from Mick Grant, Tom turned the tables on Newbold as he got the better of his Yamaha mounted rival to claim the last podium place.

Tom'TW'Herron.com
March 2010





Main Photo
Tom sits on the pit wall at Donington Park in March 1979.
Photo: Jim Blanchard
By Kind Permission.