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Premium Member
379 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The golden years

The Honda race history

For most people, the Honda race history starts with
the 1959 entry of the Honda team in the Isle of Man TT. However, although
practically unknown in Europe at the time, Japan in those days had a fast growing
motorcycle industry, but their models looked very old fashioned, and the ones that
did look (more or less) modern were often straight copies
of German, British or American motorcycles.

Honda, even in those days already a very big motorcycle manufacturer, faced
the problem that it would be very difficult to sell its bikes worldwide.
Japanese products in general had a bad reputation regarding quality, based
on Japanese pre-war products . So how do you overcome such a problem?
By proving to the world, that your engineering and the resulting products
are superior -in the case of motorcycles by winning Grand Prix with them

Soichiro Honda had decided, in the beginning of the fifties, that
one day he would compete in the famous TT of Man, and in 1954 a 220cc
single cylinder prototype racer was developed

In that same year, Soichiro took a trip to Europe, watched the TT, and was very disappointed: the then European 250cc racing bikes had on average more than double the power of his prototype. He also used his trip to go on a buying spree; he bought rev counters, carburettors, rims, spark plugs and what have you. The story goes that, upon arrival at the airport for his return flight to Japan, his luggage was overweight and he was not allowed to check in. Honda opened his suitcases, took out all his clothing, put on as much as possible on top of each other, filled his pockets with parts, and that did the trick, whereupon he remarked to the airport personnel: "You are idiots! Now I'm allowed in, but the total weight in the plane is exactly the same!" He was quite right, of course; they should set a limit to the weight of passengers together with their luggage, not to luggage alone.

A couple of years later, Honda had developed 250 and 305cc twins with a single OHC, used in national events

By 1959, Honda decided he was ready to take on the rest of the world, and the first Japanese team arrived on the Isle of Man.

Pre-1959 events
Soichiro Honda at the Asama camp during the second Asama Kazan race

The second Asama Kazan race (250cc class)


Premium Member
1,066 Posts
Re: A Motorcycle story

Great vids, thank's for posting them.

Premium Member
379 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Re: A Motorcycle story

William Joseph "Joey" Dunlop
OBE (25 February 1952 – 2 July 2000)
king of the hill

Jacket Outerwear Smile

Was a world champion motorcyclist from Ballymoney in Northern Ireland, best known for road racing. Referred to throughout the sport as "Joey", in 2005 he was voted the fifth greatest motorcycling icon ever by Motorcycle News. His achievements include three hat-tricks at the Isle of Man TT meeting (1985, 1988 and 2000), where he won a record 26 races in total. During his career he won the Ulster Grand Prix 24 times. In 1986 he won a fifth consecutive TT Formula One world title.

He was awarded the MBE in 1986 for his services to the sport, and in 1996 he was awarded the OBE for his humanitarian work for children in Romanian orphanages. Dunlop would often load up his race transporter and deliver clothing and food to the trouble spots of Bosnia and Romania. His humanitarian work was done without drawing attention to himself.

Nationality Northern Irish
Born 25 February 1952
Died 2 July 2000 (aged 48)
Isle of Man TT career
TTs contested 25 (1976 - 2000)
TT wins 26
First TT win 1977 Jubilee Classic
Last TT win 2000 Ultra-Lightweight 125 TT
Podiums 40

Helmet Sports gear Motorcycle helmet Personal protective equipment Clothing


Premium Member
379 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Re: A Motorcycle story

Mike Hailwood
known as
Mike The Bike

Another one legendary Honda pilot
Stanley Michael Bailey Hailwood, MBE, GM (2 April 1940 – 23 March 1981) was a British Grand Prix motorcycle road racer regarded by many as one of the greatest racers of all time. He was known as "Mike The Bike" because of his natural riding ability. Later in his career he went on to compete in Formula One auto racing, becoming one of the few men to compete at the Grand Prix level on motorcycles and in auto racing.

Hailwood first raced on 22 April 1957, at Oulton Park. Barely 17, he finished in 11th place, but was soon posting successful results. In 1958, he teamed with Dan Shorey to win the Thruxton 500 endurance race. By 1961, Hailwood was racing for an up and coming Japanese factory named Honda. In June 1961, he became the first man in the history of the Isle of Man TT to win three races in one week when he won in the 125 cc, 250 cc and 500 cc categories. He lost the chance at winning a fourth race when his 350 AJS broke down with a broken gudgeon pin whilst leading. Riding a four-stroke, four-cylinder 250 cc Honda, Hailwood won the 1961 250cc world championship. In 1962, Hailwood signed with MV Agusta and went on to become the first rider to win four consecutive 500cc World Championships. After his success with MV Agusta, Hailwood went back to Honda and won four more world titles in 1966 and 1967 in the 250 cc and 350 cc categories.

On Saturday, 21 March 1981, Mike Hailwood set off in his Rover SD1 with his children Michelle and David to collect some fish and chips. As they returned along the A435 Alcester Road through Portway Warwickshire near their home in Tanworth-in-Arden, a truck made an illegal turn through the barriers into the central reservation, and their car hit it. Michelle, aged nine, was killed instantly; Mike and David were taken to hospital, where Mike died two days later due to severe internal injuries, he was 40 years old

Nationality English
Born 2 April 1940
Died 23 March 1981 (aged 40)
Active years 1958–1967
First race 1958 250cc Isle of Man TT
Last race 1967 350cc Japanese Grand Prix
First win 1959 125cc Ulster Grand Prix
Last win 1967 350cc Japanese Grand Prix
Team(s) Honda, MV Agusta
Championships 250cc - 1961, 1966, 1967
350cc - 1966, 1967
500cc -1962, 1963, 1964, 1965
Isle of Man TT career
TTs contested 12 (1958 - 1967, 1978, 1979)
TT wins 14
First TT win 1961 Lightweight 125 TT
Last TT win 1979 Senior TT

Mike The Bike

Mikes's Honda RC-181
Bore and stroke are 57 x 48 mm for a total capacity of 489.94 cc. Total enclosed valve angle is 75 degrees, symmetrical, so both inlet and exhaust valves are hanging under 37.5 degrees.
There is a six speed gearbox. Power output is 85 bhp art 12,000 rpm, with a redline at 12,500 rpm
A weak point of the RC181 is its crankshaft ? the press fit of the crankpins sometimes gives way, causing the crankpins to change position against one another, with disastrous results, a.o. reason of Hailwood's retirement in Monza.

The much anticipated clash between the two road racing giants - Hailwood and Agostini - turned out to be a non event at the 1966 Brands Hatch season closer, when after little more than 100 yards from the start, the former's 250cc Honda six threw a rod and day belonged solely to the Italian

Mike the Bike

1967 Hailwood


1967 Belgium Grand Prix, Mike Hailwood (#104), RC166(M)

1966 Hailwood

1967 Grand Prix of Czech Republic, Mike Hailwood, RC174

1967 Finland Grand Prix, Mike Hailwood, RC181(M)

1967 Isle of Man TT Race, Mike Hailwood

1967 Isle of Man TT Race Inspection

1967 West German Grand Prix, Mike Hailwood (center)

1967 Isle of Man TT Race, Mike Hailwood, RC181

1967 Grand Prix of Czech Republic, Mike Hailwood, RC181

Mike at 1961 Isle of Man workshops at Geoff Dukes Hotel

Mike The Bike Spa, Francorchamps

Mike Hailwood's 350 MV

1962 Dundrod, Hailwood, 350 MV

Mikes's Honda RC-166 (IN LINE-6)



Mike the Bike


Mike Hailwood


Premium Member
379 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Re: A Motorcycle story

Tommy Robb

(October 14, 1934) is a former Grand Prix motorcycle road biker from Northern Ireland.
Robb began his Grand Prix career in the 1957 season.
He won his first world championship race in the 250 class at the Ulster Grand Prix. In the 1962 season,
Robb became one of the first non-Japanese pilot hired by the Honda factory racing team.

He enjoyed his greatest success with Honda, finishing second to his team-mate, Jim Redman, i
n the 1962 350 world championship. In 1973, he won the Lightweight TT at the Isle of Man TT races, aboard a Yamaha .
He was also a five-time winner of the North West 200 race in Northern Ireland

Nationality Northern Ireland
Active years 1957 - 1959, 1961 - 1973
First race 1957 250cc Ulster Grand Prix
Last race 1973 125cc Isle of Man TT
First win 1962 250cc Ulster Grand Prix
Last win 1973 125cc Isle of Man TT
Team(s) Honda

Tommy Robb one of the Honda team who had to do battle with the Morini in this race, the wet 1963 Ulster Grand Prix

Tommy Robb on the RC113
"The RC113 Twin 50cc was a beautiful little bike and the "push bike"
rim block brakes actually worked exceptionally well, although it took a
lot of bravery when coming into an acute hairpin from 115mph to apply
a lot of pressure and hope that these little brake blocks would perform
as they should.....but they did

Tommy Robb on the RC112
"I must admit the 50cc Honda Twin (on which I won the first "All
Japan GP") was my favourite 50cc bike, it was considerably better
than the earlier single. Very smooth, excellent power and the handling
was superb. It was also an excellent riding position and didn't feel
as cramped as the old single.
Of course the bike I rode was very much the prototype and this kept
improving after I then left Honda and became better and better with
every race, as proved when it eventually won the World Championship
from Suzuki after many years of trying.
I was very disappointed that after that first win at Suzuka that my
contract, and that of Takahashi, was withdrawn for the 1964 season
when Ralph Bryans went on to win the Championship


Premium Member
379 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Re: A Motorcycle story

James Albert Redman

(born November 8, 1931 in London, England) is a six-time World Champion motorcycle road racer.

As a young man, he emigrated to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), where he began his racing career. He earned a factory ride with Honda for the 1960 season. He would go on to claim four consecutive 350cc World Championships from 1962 to 1965. In 1962 and 1963 he claimed double championships winning both the 250cc and 350cc World Championships. In 1964, he became the first rider in history to claim 3 Grand Prix victories in one day (the only other rider to achieve this being Mike Hailwood in 1967. After being injured at the 1966 Belgian Grand Prix, Redman made the decision to retire.

Redman was also a six-time Isle of Man TT winner, taking double wins in 1963, 1964 and 1965 in the Lightweight & Junior TT Races. He achieved a total of 45 Grand Prix victories. Redman was awarded the MBE for his achievements.

Nationality Rhodesian
Active years 1959 - 1966
First race 1959 350cc West German Grand Prix
Last race 1966 250cc Belgian Grand Prix
First win 1961 250cc Belgian Grand Prix
Last win 1966 500cc Dutch TT
Team(s) Honda
Championships 250cc - 1962, 1963
350cc - 1962 - 1965


Nobby Clark (mechanic) and Jim Redman

1961 West Germany Grand Prix 250cc, Takahashi, Redman

1961 Spanish Grand Prix 125cc, Redman

1961 Isle of Man TT Race

1962 Isle of Man TT Race, Redman

1962 German Grand Prix 250cc

1962 Italian Grand Prix 250cc, Rob, Redman

1962 French Grand Prix 250cc, Redman, McIntyre

1962 Spanish Grand Prix 250cc, Phillis, Redman

1962 Spanish Grand Prix 125cc, Redman

1962 Isle of Man TT Race 125cc, Redman, winner Taveri

1962 French Grand Prix 250cc, Redman, McIntyre, Phillis

1962 Ulster Grand Prix 250cc, Redman

1963 French Grand Prix 125cc, Redman

1963 French Grand Prix 250cc, Taveri, Redman

1965 Japan Grand Prix, Jim Redman, 2RC172

1965 Japan Grand Prix 250cc Start

Champion Jim Redman

1965 Hailwood Redman Pit Stop Hailwood Redman Pit Stop.mp3



Premium Member
379 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Re: A Motorcycle story

Ralph Bryans

(born March 7, 1942 in Northern Ireland Died 6 August 2014) was a Grand Prix
motorcycle road racer. In 1965, he won the 50 cc World Championship
aboard a factory-sponsored Honda

Active years 1962 - 1967
Teams Honda
Grands Prix 62
Championships 50cc - 1965
Wins 10
Fastest laps 7
First Grand Prix 1962 50cc Isle of Man TT
First win 1964 50cc Dutch TT
Last win 1967 250cc Japanese Grand Prix
Last Grand Prix 1967 350cc Japanese Grand Prix


Dutch TT Assen 1966

1965 Japan Grand Prix, Luigi Taveri (#8), Ralph Bryans (#2)

1965 Japan Grand Prix, Ralph Bryans, RC148

1964 Bryans

Ralph Bryans RC115



Premium Member
379 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Re: A Motorcycle story

Robert MacGregor McIntyre
The "Flying Scotsman"

Bob McIntyre was a Scottish motorcycle racer famous for five motorcycle Grand Prix wins which included three wins at the Isle of Man TT Races, and two victories in the North West 200.

McIntyre was the man who, for the very first time, lapped the Isle of Man course at over 100 mph during the jubilee TT races in 1957 on a Gilera four 500 cc.

With the Honda 250 four he sets a lap record on Man this year of 99.58 mph, but retires with oil problems. Later in the season he is tragically killed when competing in a local race on a Norton.

In November 1957, with racing over, Gilera had McIntyre had a 350 cc racer around the banked Monza circuit in an attempt to break the one hour speed record, and he averaged 227 km/h on the bumpy Monza surface.
This record was not bettered until 1964, and then by Mike Hailwood at 144.8 on an MV Agusta, on the track at Daytona.

Grand Prix motorcycle racing career

Active years 1953 - 1962
Teams AJS, Bianchi, Gilera, Honda, Norton
Grands Prix Championships 17
Wins 5
Podium finishes 16
Career points 171
First Grand Prix 1953 350cc Isle of Man TT
First win 1957 350cc Isle of Man TT
Last win 1962 250cc Dutch TT
Last Grand Prix 1962 250cc German Grand Prix

1962 Ulster Grand Prix 250cc, Rob

1961 Isle of Man TT Race 250cc, McIntire

1961 Ulster Grand Prix 125cc, Phillis, MaIntyre

1961 Bob McIntyre, RC162

1961 Isle of Man TT Race 250cc, McIntire

1961 Isle of Man TT Race 250cc, McIntire


Premium Member
379 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Re: A Motorcycle story

Jarno Saarinen

With a riding style that was at once dynamic and precise, he was
affectionately known to his many fans as "the Flying Finn."

Saarinen began his Grand Prix career during the 1970 season, at the age of 25.
He would finish in a good fourth place in the 250cc class, despite missing the last three
race to return to his engineering degree studies - before the DNF at the Finnish TT he
was tied for second. In 1971 Saarinen competed in both 250cc and 350cc classes.
Saarinen won his first Grand Prix that year, claiming the 350cc class in Czechoslovakia.
He finished third in 250cc World Championship and second in 350cc.
His success didn't go unnoticed as Yamaha signed him to run
its TD3 and TR3 bikes, then pre-production TZs for the 1972 season.
Saarinen delivered as expected, winning the 250cc World Championship.
He finished second in 350cc World Championship, giving defending
champion Giacomo Agostini a strong challenge.

Yamaha developed a new, four cylinder, two-stroke 500cc bike for the
1973 season and chose Saarinen to run it.
Finally, Saarinen was ready to
challenge Giacomo Agostini and Phil Read in the 500cc class with competitive equipment.
Saarinen's 1973 season started amazingly well, as he became the first European
pilot to win the prestigious Daytona 200 race in the United States on a TZ350 against
much larger-capacity opposition. Returning to Europe, he jumped to an early
lead in the Grand Prix championships by winning his first 500cc , then the premier , class.
His win was also the first win for the new, four cylinder Yamaha.
Saarinen went on to win the first three 250cc rounds and the first two of
three 500cc rounds, but his bike suffered a broken chain in the third.
It seemed he was on the brink of running away with these titles, with the
opportunity to complete in the 350cc class if or when the 250cc title was certain.

However, the 1973 season ended in tragedy. On May 20, 1973, the
fourth Grand Prix of the season was held at Monza near Milan, Italy, a very
fast track, with few strong chicanes. The race leader, Renzo Pasolini fell in front
of Saarinen, who was in second place. He couldn't avoid the fallen pilot and the
resulting crash caused a multiple pile up. In all, 14 bikers were embroiled in the
mayhem that resulted. When the dust cleared, Jarno and Pasolini
lay dead with many other pilots seriously injured

Nationality Finnish
Born December 11, 1945
Turku, Finland
Died May 20, 1973 (aged 27)
Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Italy
Active years 1970 – 1973
First race 1970 250cc West German Grand Prix
Last race 1973 250cc Nations Grand Prix
First win 1971 350cc Czechoslovakian Grand Prix
Last win 1973 250cc West German Grand Prix
Team(s) Yamaha
Championships 250cc – 1972



Premium Member
379 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Re: A Motorcycle story

Luigi Taveri

was the antithesis of today’s teenaged tear-away 125 GP racers – technically savvy, immaculately presented and cool headed.

An Italian-Swiss, born near Zurich in 1929, Taveri won the first of his three world 125 championships on a four-cylinder Honda in 1962 at age 32. He won again in 1964, also on a 125-4, and in 1966 on the fantastic five-cylinder Honda RC149 which revved to 20,000rpm.

Luigi’s racing career began in the late 1940s, as sidecar passenger for his elder brother Hans. He recorded his first world championship points in the 1954 French GP, on a 500 Norton. He signed with MV-Agusta in 1955 and won the opening 125 GP of the season at Montjuic Parc, Barcelona.

Wife Tilde saved the day by approaching Honda on Luigi’s behalf. He was given second string bikes in 1961, but in 1962 he soon became the firm’s number one 125 racer.

By the end of 1966, Taveri had won three championships and 30 GPs — 22 in 125, six in 50s and two in 250s.

In retirement, he ran a spotless automotive panel shop. Underneath, he had a private museum with his collection, including a Honda 125-5.

In 1988, Taveri told the author that when he was at MV, he was never sure who received what equipment; there was a pecking order. At Honda, the equipment was the same for all the riders, but he could never figure out how Jim Redman had so much power in the team!

Nationality Swiss
Active years 1954–1966
First race 1954 500cc French Grand Prix
Last race 1966 125cc Nations Grand Prix
First win 1955 125cc Spanish Grand Prix
Last win 1966 125cc Nations Grand Prix
Team(s) Honda
Championships 125cc – 1962, 1964, 1966

1962 Netherlands TT Race, winner Taveri

1962 Spanish Grand Prix 125cc, Taveri

Ulster Grand Prix 125cc, Taveri

1965 Japan Grand Prix, Luigi Taveri, 50cc

1965 Japan Grand Prix, 50cc Award Ceremony

1965 Japan Grand Prix, Luigi Taveri, RC148

1965 Japan Grand Prix 50cc Start

1966 Isle of Man TT Race, Luigi Taveri, 125cc Podium

1966 Isle of Man TT Race, Luigi Taveri, RC116


Premium Member
379 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Re: A Motorcycle story


On 5 May 1959, the Japanese riders arrive at London airport.

The Japanese works riders this year are Kunimitsu Takahashi , Shimazaki, Yukio Sato M. Tanaguchi, and Australians Tom Phillis and Bob Brown are contracted.

Honda Team (1959 The Isle of Man TT)

The Isle of Man TT (1959)

Phillis acts as team leader until his death in the 1962 TT of Man during the 350 cc race.

Bob Brown is killed when he crashes on the Solitude in Germany.

When Phillis crashes during practice for the Dutch TT, Rhodesian Jim Redman joins the team . After Phillis' death, he takes over as team captain until his retirement, aged 36, after his crash in the Belgian GP in 1966.

Redman was a brilliant rider and an absolute professional, who was, I feel, underrated by most people. He won six world titles for Honda, two times in the 250 class and four times in the 350 class and had 46 GP victories.

In Honda's first Isle of Man challenge, everyone worked on maintaining the machines, including the team leader, the riders, and the manager. From left: riders Junzo Suzuki and Giichi Suzuki, team leader Kiyoshi Kawashima, team manager Yoshitaka Iida, mechanic Shunji Hirota, rider Teisuke Tanaka, chief of maintenance Hisakazu Sekiguchi, and rider Naomi Taniguchi.

Soichiro Honda had decided, in the beginning of the fifties, that one day he would compete in the famous TT of Man, and in 1954 a 220cc single cylinder prototype racer was developed

Honda arrives on Man with 5 riders, 4 Japanese and one American. They bring along five 125cc racing motorcycles and four training bikes, plus enough spares and tools to set up a self sufficient workshop - a very professional approach.
The racers, with the type designation RC142, have open spine frames, in which the engine is a stress bearing part, with leading link front and swing arm rear suspension. The engine is a four stroke twin with the cylinders slightly inclined forward under 6 degrees, with DOHC, driven by a vertical shaft with bevel gears on the left hand side of the engine, and from there with gears to the camshafts.
In the TT, the bikes finish 6th, 7th, 8th and 11th, earning Honda the team prize.

The same year, 1959, Honda announced that they had produced a 250cc four-cylinder along the same lines as the 125cc twin. The idea of a 250 four was not a new one; during 1939-40, Gilera, Bianchi and Benelli had built supercharged 250 fours, the Benelli water-cooled, the other two air-cooled. The outbreak of the war prevented the use of those bikes, and when racing was resumed after the war, supercharging was banned, making them redundant. It was only in 1960, one year after the Honda four was introduced, that Benelli again fielded a 250cc four.
1959 250cc RC160

When Honda returned to Europe in 1960, a lot has changed compared with the year before.
In the first place, instead of competing in only one race, all the Grand Prix are contested. Furthermore, next to the Japanese riders, Tom Phillis and Bob Brown are contracted to ride for Honda, later joined by Jim Redman, the future six-times world champion on Hondas, after Phillis crashes during practice for the Dutch TT . Unfortunately, Bob Brown fatally crashes at the Solitude in Germany.
In the 125cc class, the MVs and MZs are still faster than the Hondas, and the world champion is Carlo Ubbiali on the single cylinder MV, with Gary Hocking on an MV second and Ernst Degner on MZ third. However, Honda ends up third in the manufacturers' world championship behind those two marks. Best individual results for Honda are fourth places for Redman in Monza and Assen
1960 250cc RC161

1961 brings the great breakthrough for Honda. Next to Tom Phillis, Jim Redman, Kunimitsu Takahashi, Shimazaki and M. Tanaguchi, Luigi Taveri is contracted. Furthermore machines are lent to Bob McIntyre and to a young, talented rider by the name of Mike Hailwood. The bikes have been improved again, and the combination of riding talent and fast, reliable machines brings Honda the individual and the manufacturers' world titles in both the 125 and 250 cc class
In the 250 cc class Mike Hailwood wins the title, with Phillis 2nd and Redman 3nd a total Honda domination. The only GP not won by Honda is Spain, in which Gary Hocking wins on an MV. However, for that race, the first of the season, the new bikes were not yet ready, and hybrid machines (about which more later) with the old RC161 engines are used
1961 250cc RC162

This year a new class is introduced for the world championship races: 50 cc, and Honda decides to participate. Furthermore they participate in the 350 cc class. In the 50 cc they are not successful, the two-strokes are simply faster, but the other three classes yield three individual world titles and three constructor's world titles. The works riders for 1962 are Redman, Phillis, McIntyre, Tanaka, Takahashi and Tommy Robb. Phillis crashes fatally during the 350 cc race on Man while in pursuit of the MVs of Hocking and Hailwood. This causes Hocking, a personal close friend of Phillis, to stop motorcycle racing. He returns to Rhodesia, and is killed when practising for a car race. Later in the season Bob McIntyre is killed in a crash during a national race in England on a Norton. The 50 cc world title is won by Ernst Degner on Suzuki, Hans Georg Anscheidt is second with Kreidler, and Taveri comes in third. The 125 cc title goes to Taveri, with Redman and Robb in second and third place
The 1962 350cc RC171 Honda

1963 is the year that Honda does a step back. The racing over the last 4 years has been an enormous drain on the company's resources, and a lot of those resources are now needed to develop the formula 1 car. Honda retires from the 50 cc class, and the works riders Redman, Taveri, Takahashi and Robb have to make do with last year's bikes, plus production racers. After the Ulster GP, mechanics and spare parts go back to Japan, leaving the works riders more or lesslike privateers
Redman at the GP of Monza following Provini who won at an average speed of 179.6km/h

Honda realized during the 1963 season, that their relaxed attitude would cost them, and for the last GP of the 1963 season, in Japan, new machines were developed. For the 50 cc class, a new twin and for the 125 cc a new four cylinder were developed, and for the 250 and 350 cc the existing fours were improved. These machines are used during 1964. The works riders are Jim Redman, Luigi Taveri, Tommy Robb, Kunimitsu Takahashi and newcomer Ralph Bryans. Halfway through the season Robb is sacked, followed by Takahashi

1965 proves to be a year of mixed results. The Honda Research & Development Company (which covers the racing department, said to contain at this stage 400 engineers, technicians and mechanics) is still heavily involved in the development of the formula 1 car, and the motorcycles might not get the amount of attention they need. After Franchorchamps, halfway through the season, the mechanics return to Japan and the c1
are for Redman's bikes is left to Nobby Clarke
1965 RC148 Honda

1966 becomes the absolute top year for Honda. They win the manufacturers' world championship in all five classes, for this year they also compete in the 500 cc class, and individual world championships in three classes. It is a unique fact, a record still standing today. Although during the years 1958-60, MV also won the manufacturers' title in all the classes they contested, there were only four classes then – and the competition of the MVs was weak, not to use the term non-existent.
This year Mike Hailwood, arguably the greatest motorcycle racer ever, joins the Honda team as a works rider (his participation and resulting first world championship 250 cc in 1961 was as a privateer, with the Hondas on a loan basis). After Redman's retirement, Stuart Graham, son of the famous Leslie Graham, joins the team to assist Hailwood
1966 250 cc RC166

This will be, for the time being, Honda's last year in Grand Prix racing. They pull out of 50 and 125 cc racing at the end of 1966 and, at the end of the 1967 season, Honda withdraws from the other three classes. They have achieved what they set out to do: from a totally obscure and unknown company at the start of 1960, they have become the biggest and best known motorcycle manufacturer in the world. Yet, the decision comes unexpected – Hailwood and Bryans have already signed their contracts for 1968. Moreover, there are rumours about new, exciting racers – a 50 cc triple, a 125 cc six cylinder and a V8 for the 250 cc class.
Suzuki also stops at the end of the season, and Yamaha follows one year later



Premium Member
379 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Barry Sheene

(September 11, 1950 – March 10, 2003)
was a British former World Champion Grand Prix motorcycle road racer
He became the British 125cc champion aged just 20, and finished second in
the World Championships for that class a year later.

Sheene won the newly formed Formula 750 European championship
for Suzuki in 1973. A spectacular crash at the Daytona 200 in the 1975
season threatened to end his career, breaking his left thigh, right arm, collarbone
and two ribs, yet he recovered and was racing again seven weeks afterwards.

In 1973, he won the Formula 750 World Championship.
In the 1976 season, he won five 500cc Grands Prix, bringing him
the World Championship. He repeated as champion in the 1977
season with six victories.

Sheene's battle with Kenny Roberts at the 1979 British Grand Prix
at Silverstone has been cited as one of the greatest motorcycle Grand Prix
races of the 1970s. After the 1979 season, he left the
Heron-Suzuki factory team, believing that he was receiving inferior equipment
to his team-mates. He shifted to a privateer on a Yamaha machine, but soon
started receiving works equipment. In 1981, Kenny Roberts was the
reigning World 500cc Champion for the third time, and Barry Sheene, now on a
competitive Yamaha, was determined to regain the championship.
Ironically, Sheene and Roberts battled all season and let Suzuki riders
Marco Lucchinelli of Italy and American Randy Mamola beat them for the top
two spots. Roberts finished third and Sheene fourth for the 1981 championship.

He died in 2003 aged 52 of cancer of the
oesophagus and stomach, and is
survived by his wife Stephanie and two children.

Nationality British
Born 11 September 1950
Died 10 March 2003 (aged 52)
Active years 1970 - 1984
First race 1970 125cc Spanish Grand Prix
Last race 1984 500cc San Marino Grand Prix
First win 1971 125cc Belgian Grand Prix
Last win 1981 500cc Swedish Grand Prix
Team Suzuki, Yamaha

Biggest highside ever: Barry Sheene Daytona 1975
Barry Sheene was testing the Suzuki XR14 in preparation for the Daytona 200 in 1975
when disaster struck. Pinned in 6th gear at 8500 rpm and topping 170mph on
the famous Daytona banking, his bike locks up and spits Barry onto the track in a
sickening, skin shedding, bone breaking crash

A hero and inspiration to millions, Barry Sheene has a particularly unique
place in the hearts of bike and sports fans the world over.
special two-disc DVD release that offers an intimate and
frank look at the life of Sheene as a sportstman as well as
the individual, putting together never before seen archive
and home movie footage along with in-depth interviews
with those who have loved, admired and were inspired by
Sheene. Narrated by actor and bike fan Ewan McGregor




Premium Member
379 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Paul Smart

(Born on April 23, 1943 in Eynsford, Kent) is a former English motorcycle
Grand Prix road racer. He is famous for winning the Imola 200 in April 23, 1972,
at age 29, with Ducati's new 750. He raced in Grands Prix in the early 1970s,
with second place results in 1971 in both the 350cc and 250cc categories,
with Yamaha machinery

Nationality United Kingdom British
Active years 1970 - 1972
First race 1970 250cc Finnish Grand Prix
Last race 1972 500cc Nations Grand Prix

1972 Ducati's - Paul Smart - Bruno Spaggiari



Premium Member
379 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Phillip Read
The Prince of Speed

Born in Luton, England in 1939, this smiling and elegant rider who was a
lover of luxury (he went to the tracks with his white Rolls) practically
closed the glorious MV world championship cycle. MV signed him
in 1972, after he had already won five world titles with Yamaha, not
only because of his class and experience, but also owing to his
disposition. He was combative and meticulous, and impatient of secondary roles.

It was precisely this aspect that made him an interesting stimulus for
Agostini, who was anything but in unprepared, but who was too fearful
of the Japanese offensive. Read raced in 1972 with the 350, getting
good results, and in 1973 with the 500 where, with full leeway, he was
able to capture the title with "Ago" coming in only third. He was left
MV's only leading man in 1974 and confined himself to just the
top class, winning the title again without much difficulty.
That was the last world trophy for the Cascina Costa manufacturer.

Nationality British
Active years 1961 - 1976
First race 1961 350cc Isle of Man TT
Last race 1976 500cc Nations Grand Prix
First win 1961 350cc Isle of Man TT
Last win 1975 500cc Czechoslovakian Grand Prix
Team(s) Yamaha, MV Agusta
Championships 125cc - 1968
250cc - 1964, 1965, 1968, 1971
500cc- 1973, 1974

Ready to do battle. Once good friends, Sheene and Phil Read
fell out in a big way in 1975 - but they retained their respect for
each other as riders. Read wanted MV to recruit Sheene as
his team-mate in 1974 but switched to campaigning a private
RG500 Suzuki himself in 1976



Premium Member
379 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Giacomo Agostini

(born 16 June 1942 in Brescia, Lombardy) is an Italian multi-time world champion
Grand Prix motorcycle road racer. He is the all-time leader in victories in motorcycle
Grand Prix history, with 122 Grand Prix wins and 15 World Championships titles

Of these, 68 wins and 8 titles came in the 500cc class, the rest in the 350cc class.
Agostini was the son of a wealthy Italian industrialist. His father originally didn't
approve of his son's motorcycle racing career. He did everything he could to
persuade his son not to race. Agostini had to steal away to compete, first in
hill climb events and then in road racing.

Eventually his father came to terms with his racing and he won the
1963 Italian 175cc championship aboard a Morini. He got his break when
Morini factory rider, Tarquinio Provini left the team to ride for Benelli.
Count Alfonso Morini hired the young Agostini to ride for him.
In 1964, Agostini would win the Italian 350cc title and proved his ability
by finishing fourth in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
World championship.

These results caught the eye of Count Domenico Agusta who signed
Agostini to ride for his MV Agusta squad as Mike Hailwood's team-mate.
Agostini then fought a season-long battle with Honda's Jim Redman
for the 1965 350cc world championship. He seemed to have the title
won when he led the final round in Japan at Suzuka when his bike
failed him, handing the title to Redman.

At the end of the 1965 season, Hailwood left to join Honda as he had tired of
working for the difficult Count Agusta. With Agostini now the top
MV Agusta rider, he responded by winning the 500cc title seven years in
succession for the Italian factory. He would also win the 350cc title seven
times in succession and won 10 Isle of Man TTs. In 1967 he battled Hailwood
in one of the most dramatic seasons in Grand Prix history. Each rider had 5
victories before the championship was decided in Agostini's favor at
the last race of the season.

Nationality Italian
Born 16 June 1942 (age 70)
Active years 1964 – 1977
First race 1963 250cc Nations Grand Prix
Last race 1977 500cc British Grand Prix
First win 1965 350cc German Grand Prix
Last win 1976 500cc German Grand Prix
Team(s) MV Agusta, Yamaha, Suzuki
Championships 350cc – 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974
500cc – 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 197

Giacomo Agostino wint TT Assen (1972)

You can feel the atmosphere as Italian ace
Giacomo Agostini pushes off on his MV alongside
Liverpool's Keith Heckles (Norton) to start
the 1969 Senior TT.



Premium Member
379 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Geoffrey Duke
(born 29 March 1923 in St. Helens, Lancashire Died 1 May 2015 (aged 92)

Was a British multi-time motorcycle Grand Prix road racing world champion.

Geoff Duke dominated motorcycle racing in the 1950s, winning six world championships
and five Isle of Man TT races. Duke came to prominence after winning
the 1949 Senior Clubmans TT and the Senior Manx Grand Prix and was
to become the very first post-war motorcycling 'superstar', popularly known
amongst the racing fraternity simply as 'the Duke'
He was signed up to the Norton works team for the 1950 TT, finishing second in
the Junior and breaking both lap and race records in the Senior.

After winning three World Championships for Norton, he moved abroad to
Italian motorcycle manufacturer, Gilera in 1953. With Gilera, he had a
string of three consecutive 500cc world championships.

United Kingdom British
Born 29 March 1923
Died 1 May 2015 (aged 92)
Active years 1950 - 1959
First race 1950 Isle of Man TT
Last race 1959 Nations Grand Prix
First win 1950 500 cc Isle of Man TT
Last win 1958 500 cc Swedish Grand Prix
Team(s) Benelli, BMW, Gilera, Norton, NSU
Championships 350 cc - 1951, 1952
500 cc - 1951, 1953 - 1955
Isle of Man TT career
TTs contested 9 (1949 - 1955, 1958, 1959)
TT wins 6
First TT win 1949 Clubmans Senior TT
Last TT win 1955 Senior TT

TT legend Geoff Duke signing an autograph for a young fan during his tour of Australia, 1955
Photograph Forehead Photography Stock photography Black-and-white

Photograph White Bouquet Black-and-white Monochrome photography

Testing the Gileras at Oulton Park, John Hartle, Derek Minter and Phil Read Mbe with Geoff Duke and Avon tech
Tree Headgear Personal protective equipment Outerwear Helmet

Gilera 500 four 1957
Land vehicle Vehicle Motorcycle Motor vehicle Car

The greatest racer of his day and certainly in the all time top ten


Premium Member
379 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Erwin George "Cannon Ball" Baker
(March 12, 1882 – May 10, 1960)

was a motorcycle and automobile racing driver and organizer in the first half of
the 20th century. Baker began his public career as a vaudeville performer, but
turned to driving and racing after winning a dirt-track motorcycle race
in Crawfordsville, Indiana in about 1904.

Baker was also famous for his record-setting point-to-point drives, in which
he was paid to promote the products of various motorcycle and automobile
manufacturers. In all, he made 143 cross-country motorcycle speed runs
totaling about 550,000 miles (890,000 km).

In 1908, Baker purchased an Indian motorcycle and began entering and
winning local races. His most famous victory came in 1909 at the first race
ever held at the newly built Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Baker also raced at
the 1922 Indianapolis 500, placing 11th in a Frontenac.
He later became the first commissioner of NASCAR. Baker was
inducted into the American Motorcyclist Association Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1998.


Premium Member
379 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Colin Seeley

Colin Seeley (born January 2, 1936 in Crayford, Kent, England ) is a former
English motorcycle sidecar racer and, later became a successful motorcycle
designer and constructor.

Seeley began his motorcycle career as an apprentice for Vincent Motorcycles.
He then raced in the British and world championship sidecar competitions between
1961 and 1967. His best result as a competitor was a second place finish in
the sidecar competition at the 1964 Isle of Man TT.

When the AMC motorcycle firm ended production in 1963 due to
financial problems, Seeley purchased all the tooling and spares for their
AJS and Matchless motorcycle brands. After retiring from competition, he
concentrated his efforts on designing and constructing Seeley motorcycles
powered by AJS and Matchless motorcycle engines. During the late
1960s and early 1970s when almost all the major motorcycle manufacturers
had pulled out of Grand Prix racing, the Seeley-designed chassis became
the race bike of choice for privateer racers of the era.John Cooper won
the 500cc class at the 1968 North West 200, while Brian Ball finished second
to Giacomo Agostini in the Senior TT at the 1968 Isle of Man TT, both riders
on a Matchless-Seeley. At the 1969 North West 200, John Blanchard and
Brian Steenson placed first and second in the 500 class aboard
Seeley-designed motorcycles. In the 1969 Isle of Man TT, Seeley placed four
of his machines in the top ten in the Senior TT race with third, fourth, sixth
and seventh place finishes. His best result as a constructor came in 1970
when Tommy Robb rode one of his machines to a fourth place
finish in the 500cc world championship.

Seeley later used Japanese engines in his chassis, most notably using a
Suzuki T500 engine for Barry Sheene in 1971. Sheene used the bike to
win the British national championship and declared
it the best-handling motorcycle he had ever ridden.
His designs proved so successful in competition that he earned a
reputation as one of the best motorcycle frame designers in the industry.
In the 1970s, Seeley moved to automobile racing when Bernie Ecclestone
hired him to work in the Brabham Formula One team.

As vintage racing increased in popularity, Seeley's motorcycles experienced a
resurgence with a victory at the 1988 Manx Grand Prix. Since then, Seeley machines
have won twelve times in vintage class racing at the Manx Grand Prix.



Premium Member
379 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Bill Ivy

William David Ivy better known as Bill Ivy (27 August 1942–12 July 1969) was
a British Grand Prix motorcycle road racer from Maidstone, Kent.

Ivy started racing motorbikes at Brands Hatch in 1959. He raced in the
Grand Prix motorcycle racing championship towards the end of 1965, where
he finished fourth in two 125 cc races and third in a 250 cc race. In 1966,
he raced for the works Yamaha team, won the first race of the year at the
Montjuich Circuit in Spain, and took three more wins—not enough, however,
to beat Swiss rider Luigi Taveri, who beat Ivy to the title by six points.

In 1967, Ivy dominated the 125 cc championship: he won eight out of twelve
races to claim the World Championship by 16 points over Phil Read.
On top of this, he won two 250 cc races in France and Belgium.

In 1968, Ivy and teammate Phil Read controlled both the 125
and 250 cc championships. In the process Ivy also became the first
125cc rider to lap the famous Isle Of Man TT Mountain Course at over 100 mph.
As the season progressed, Yamaha ordered them to win one title each, with Ivy
scheduled to win the 250 cc championship and Read the 125 cc championship.
After securing the 125 cc title, Read ignored Yamaha's orders to tie
with Ivy on points. The tie break was decided on overall
race times, and Read took the title. Ivy announced his retirement
from motorcycle racing, stating he would race Formula Two cars during
the next season.Despite showing some impressive results in Formula Two,
he was enticed back to motorcycling by an offer from Jawa in
1969 to race their 350 cc motorcycle. The season started promising,
as he took two second places behind Giacomo Agostini. However, during practice
for the fifth race, on the Sachsenring in East Germany, Ivy was touring back to
the paddock with his helmet resting on the tank when his motorcycle's engine seized.
He was thrown from the bike, sustained massive head injuries, and died in hospital.

Bill Ivy's Jawa after his fatal crash. As he was approaching the
start line for the beginning of final practice, he took his hand off the clutch to
adjust his goggles - helmet, the bike seized and
threw him into the slip road wall." The organizers laid a wreath in his starting box

Nationality British
Born 27 August 1942
Active years 1962 - 1963, 1965 - 1969
First race 1962 Isle of Man 50cc Ultra-Lightweight TT
Last race 1969 350cc East German Grand Prix
First win 1966 125cc Spanish Grand Prix
Last win 1968 125cc Nations Grand Prix
Team(s) Yamaha, Jawa
Championships 125cc - 1967




Premium Member
379 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Renzo Pasolini
(18 July 1938 – 20 May 1973),

nicknamed "Paso", was a popular Italian Grand Prix motorcycle road racer
in the 1960s and late 1970s.

His unpredictable and unrehearsed racing style made him a crowd favourite.
Pasolini's rivalry with Giacomo Agostini divided motorcycling enthusiasts, and
while Pasolini's style brought mixed results
(ultimately preventing him from winning a world title), it earned him a place in the hearts
of many fans.

In 1986, Ducati Motor Holding, then under the ownership of Cagiva, introduced
the Ducati Paso
named after the raider

Pasolini was born in Rimini, the son of a motorcyclist.

He began his motocross career in 1958, after having shown great interest
in boxing as well. A smoker and incorrigible party-goer, he was an
uncommon athlete, as was his approach to corners while racing—a dangerous
combination of balance and speed which always made him seem about to fall
off his bike.

After performing well in motocross, Pasolini focussed on road racing while remaining
active in other sports to keep physical form. In 1962, he debuted with the
Aermacchi 175cc, when his two first-place finishes ahead of Giacomo Agostini
spurred their long rivalry. Pasolini took a two-year break from racing to complete
his military service and, while stationed in Sardinia, he met his future
wife, Anna, with whom he would have two children, Sabrina and Renzo Stefano.

Pasolini resumed his racing career in 1964, racing Aermacchi 250cc and 350cc bikes
at the senior level. In the 1965 Italian championship, Pasolini, racing
a Benelli, finished second to Tarquinio Provini in the 250cc class and third
in the 350cc class behind Giacomo Agostini and Giuseppe Mandorlini.
1966 was a year of varying results both domestically and internationally; most notable
was the final race of the Italian championship, which Pasolini won on the then-new
four-cylinder Benelli 500.

With a more competitive bike, Pasolini was able to rival the best, and this marked
the start of a string of epic confrontations with Mike Hailwood, then riding a Honda, and
the revival of his rivalry with Agostini, an MV Agusta rider. The 1968 season saw
him second to Agostini in the 350cc championship, after having earned the 250cc
and 350cc Italian titles.

1969 brought mixed results, causing Pasolini to lose out to Benelli teammate
Kel Carruthers in the 250cc world championship. New regulations in the 250cc
classification for the 1970 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season limited the
category to two-cylinder bikes, which prompted the Benelli team to concentrate
on the 350cc class.

After a miserable season, Pasolini left Benelli and joined Aermacchi, fresh out of a
merger with Harley-Davidson. Much of the 1971 season was lost to testing
the Aermacchi/Harley-Davidson 250cc bike, which took much longer in development
than had been anticipated. The resulting bike was not superior to most, and a
number of up-and-coming racers increased competition; among them was
Jarno Saarinen, to whom Pasolini lost the 250cc world championship in
1972 by a single point.

Nationality Italian
Active years 1964–1973
First race 1964 350cc Nations Grand Prix
Last race 1973 250cc Nations Grand Prix
First win 1969 250cc Dutch TT
Last win 1972 250cc Spanish Grand Prix
Team(s) Aermacchi, Benelli

Renzo Pasolini
Benelli 500



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