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With the Blasters

by Sam Regi
Cover photo for the Blasters story

The Brisbane Blasters, a renowned cycling team that raced from 1985 to 1995, left an indelible mark on Brisbane's cycling scene. Their vibrant orange and blue jerseys, distinctive team strategy, and commitment to challenging the norms of racing set them apart. John Whip, the mastermind behind the Blasters, envisioned a concept that revolutionised team racing, emphasising collaboration over individual success. As Whip's vision took shape, the Blasters became a trailblazer, combining a racing team with a cycling club to navigate the regulatory landscape. Their iconic pink jerseys, later transitioning to blue and orange, became a symbol of their progressive approach to cycling. Today, the legacy of the Blasters lives on, embodied in the river ride, a popular cycling loop that showcases the importance of riding safely in a bunch. Though the dynamics of bunch riding have evolved over time, the wisdom and techniques of the Blasters continue to inspire and guide the cycling community in Brisbane.

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“To get a racing license in Australia, you had to belong to a cycling club. So we had to make the Blasters a club,” Whip said.

Cover photo for the Blasters story with John Whip

John Whip with his bikes.

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Press play to listen to an extract from the conversation with John Whip.

John Whip, a vibrant character in Brisbane's cycling scene, stepped onto the stage during the 70s as part of Team Bluebird. A trip to America in 1985 and a chance encounter with a rock band called "The Blasters" sparked a radical idea. Returning home brimming with enthusiasm, he founded the Brisbane Blasters cycling team, challenging traditional racing norms and redefining teamwork. He traded personal victories for the role of a "domestique," orchestrating the team's collective success and making an indelible impact on Brisbane's cycling scene.

Ian Goodwin for Talkin Stories

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Press play to listen to an extract from the conversation with Ian Goodwin.

Ian Goodwin initiated his racing journey around 1987, rubbing shoulders with luminaries like John Whip and Rob Crossley. As a novice racer, his induction into the prestigious Brisbane Blasters in 1989 represented a significant milestone. Despite a conservative climate in the cycling world of that era, Goodwin embraced the disruptive vision of John Whip, who was setting new paradigms with his team-centric racing model. These were the nascent years of sponsorships, a game-changing concept for a young university student like Goodwin, where the provision of tyres, high-end equipment, and even Cannondale bikes, radically transformed his racing experience.

Ian Goodwin wearing the Blasters iconic Orange and Blue .

Ian Goodwin with a Canondale frame and current bike.

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Press play to listen to an extract from the conversation with John Casky.

In this engrossing conversation, John Casky transports us back to his formative cycling years around 1973-1974, sharing intimate memories filled with challenges and inspirations. He recalls the tough love from his father and his interactions with Johnny Whip. Known for his peculiar fondness for pink and matte black colors, Whip stood out in Casky's memory as a figure of exceptional generosity. Despite their differences, Casky fondly remembers Johnny’s pivotal role in his development both as a cyclist and an individual.

Interestingly, the discussion veers toward the colorful uniform choices that characterised Brisbane Blasters. Casky humorously recounts the "pink vomit" uniforms, the bizarrely endearing fabric that Johnny incorporated into their attire. Yet, beneath the unconventional aesthetics, the uniforms acted as a badge of honor and a sign of belonging to an exclusive group – a group that cyclists aspired to join and rivals recognized as a significant threat.

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