1972 Austin Aqua Festival

They started having sports car races during the annual Austin Aqua Festival about 1963. I went there in 1964, and by 1968 we convinced the organization to include motorcycle races, as well. In the summer of 1972, just before we moved to Dallas, I hired on to take photos for the event. Here are some from the motorcycle races that year.

This came up because of recent publicity about the¬†Bandidos motorcycle gang. Bandidos were at the event in 1972, and I took some photos. Searching my archives, I didn’t find the Bandidos, but I did find these.

First a bit of fluff from the ceremonies.



Then some actual bike photos.
















About John Blanton

I'm a retired engineer living in San Antonio, Texas. I have served in the Navy, raced motorcycles, taken scads of photos and am usually a nice guy. I have political and religious opinions, and these opinions tend to be driven by an excess of observed stupidity. Gross stupidity is the supposed target of many of my posts.
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5 Responses to 1972 Austin Aqua Festival

  1. Editor says:

    Reblogged this on Ancala Sports Car Club and commented:
    Before there was COTA there was the Austin Aqua Festival. Enjoy these vintage motorcycle racing snaps from Spectacular Photo of San Antonio.

  2. Different universe. People and their artifacts do indeed look extremely distinct from contemporary equivalents. Thanks for running this. I fell on my ass off of Jack O’Leary’s TD-1B (which went skidding down the road on its fairing) in the 1965 event, giving the spectators an additional delight.

    • John Blanton says:

      Byron, you fell of in the 1968 event. I have the photograph. As at other times my photographer’s instincts failed me, and I was unable to focus the 200mm Takumar in time to get a sharp photo.

  3. ChuckK says:

    That’s Walt Terney on his KS800, and Mike Leet on his Chief.
    We had antique motorcycle shows at the Aquafestival races in ’72 and ’73. Jack O’leary was the motorcycle admiral and lead the vintage parade on his field meet champion ’53 Chief that year.
    One of the small shop owners had a Goldstar, and tried to pass Jack on the start of the second parade lap, and THE RACE WAS ON.
    I came to the straightaway, and noticed almost everybody had already disappeared down Riverside.
    A buddy that was watching said that on the first parade lap, folks were saying, “THAT’S the way motorcycling used to be.”
    When the leaders came past on the second lap it was more like, “HOLY SHIT!”
    I almost drove my Chief off the turns at both ends of the straight away.
    Do you have more photos of the vintage bikes?

    • John Blanton says:

      Chuck, I pulled these from a disk of negatives I scanned about 10 years ago. I may not have scanned all the negatives, and I’m going to check. I was hired by the Aqua Festival to do the photos, so I’m sure they wound up with most of the negatives. What I have is from a set I made for myself.

      I also photographed the 1968 through 1971 races plus likely the 1974 race. Those negatives are mine, so I likely still have some.

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