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Hey, burnel72. Great to see another post of yours. I haven't seen one for quite a while. I always enjoy what you come up with. Great vintage pictures and facts. Keep them coming.
 

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Discussion Starter #242
Makoto “Big Mac” Suzuki

Makoto “Big Mac” Suzuki, one of the two people responsible for developing the RG500&.jpg


One of the two people responsible for developing the RG500’s engine. Yes, his name is really Mr. Suzuki.

Forty years ago, Suzuki changed the face of 500cc GP racing with the release of the two-stroke square four XR14. This, and subsequently the legendary customer RG500 went on to win seven consecutive 500GP championships, four world titles, and allowed privateers to compete for GP glory on an equal footing with factory teams for the first time. One of the men responsible for this machine was Makoto ‘Big Mac’ Suzuki who, alongside Makoto Hase, developed and built the RG500 that in 1976, with Barry Sheene onboard, delivered Suzuki its first 500GP world title



In 1974, Suzuki changed the face of 500cc Grand Prix racing forever with the launch of the square-four RG500. Not only did this bike herald the arrival of the large-capacity two-stroke GP bike, but it went on to win seven consecutive 500 GP constructors’ championships, four world titles, 50 individual races, and allowed privateers to compete for GP glory on an equal footing with factory teams for the first time. What is even more remarkable is that this incredible machine wasn’t the result of millions of yen of investment and a huge R&D team; instead, the bike that gave Suzuki its first 500 GP crown and introduced the world to Barry Sheene was the brainchild of just four dedicated engineers.

“We started the project in 1973 with the target of being ready for the 1974 season and only had four people working on it—two for the engine and two for the chassis,” remembers Makoto “Big Mac” Suzuki, who, alongside Makoto Hase, developed the RG’s engine. “People thought we were crazy, as two-stroke engines were only used on small bikes, but the decision was made for us. That was all Suzuki knew; we didn’t build four-strokes. We looked at our small-capacity two-stroke bikes, and as we had already built square-four and V-4 125cc and 250cc racebikes, we simply decided to upsize them.”


While hindsight tells us that Suzuki’s decision to race a two-stroke was the right choice, in the early 1970s, the thought of entering the 500 class with a two-stroke motor was laughable. Italian firm MV Agusta was dominating the world with its four-stroke, taking 13 straight titles with Mike Hailwood, Giacomo Agostini, and Phil Read, and smokers were confined to the tiddler classes. Despite all this, in 1974 Suzuki lined up on the grid with Barry Sheene and Paul Smart riding brand-new 500cc two-stroke racers. Could they be competitive? Although the doubters were yet to be convinced, Suzuki’s race team personnel were confident, as they had made huge leaps forward in technology not only when it came to the revolutionary engine but also the RG500’s chassis. Yet one problem remained: Compared to the smooth power delivery of a four-stroke, taming the brutal two-stroke would require a lot of fine-tuning, not only from the rider but also the mechanics who were working on the bike at the track.
“With the RG we aimed for over 100 bhp, but it made 110 bhp in the end,” Suzuki-san says, “which would have been an issue for the chassis had we not been racing the XR11 in America. The XR11 was a 750cc triple with lots of power, so we had all the issues with this bike. In America we suffered torn tires, snapped drive chains, overwhelmed suspension—it was terrible. The chassis development was so far behind the engine. For the RG500 we used the knowledge from the XR11 to build a good chassis; however, the engine was still very hard to ride and peaky. The power was produced from 8,000 to 10,500 rpm—that was it—but the mechanics could alter these characteristics with exhausts and jets at the circuits. At that time there was a lot of experimentation and development happening. We were looking for inspiration from everywhere—even household items. The exhaust end-cans on the RG500 were modified green-tea cans. They looked the correct size, so I introduced this technology into the GP bike. The same tea company made the exhaust cans for the XR14 and updated XR22 model.”




Barry Sheene with the RG500 development team Mr Suzuki is fourth from left
Barry Sheene  with the RG500 development team in 1977 or 1978  Mr Suzuki is fourth from left.jpg

The Suzuki development team with an XR11 a 750cc machine based on the three-cylinder GT750 engine and raced in the US

The Suzuki development team with an XR11 a 750cc machine based on the three-cylinder GT750 engin.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #246 (Edited)
Some more for the mountain king ..:D



Joey Dunlop

William Joseph Dunlop, (25 February 1952 — 2 July 2000), was a world champion motorcyclist from Ballymoney in Northern Ireland.
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. Joey Dunlop's name is amongst the most revered by fans of motorcycle racing. This iconic stature, coupled to Dunlop's somewhat shy and unassuming persona, has led to him being seen as a true working class hero.


Joey being presented with his trophy by Geoff Duke
Joey being presented with his trophy by Geoff Duke.jpg

70's Early Joey -Rea Racing
yamaha joey.jpg

King of the mountain
UU.jpg

Isle of Man
iom.jpg

Joey's RVF-750
RVF-750.jpg


The boss doing what he done better than any other motorbike racer in the history of the sport
The boss doing what he done better than any other motorbike racer in the history of the sport.jpg


Tribute to Joey Dunlop
 

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Joey Dunlop's death was at a track in Estonia, which is the country of my heritage,

(my parents were born there, I was born in Long Branch, NJ) .

This is also my shame, because as I understand it, the track was not very safe and raining.

here's from the official Joey Dunlop websight :

The Estonian road races are held on the 3.7-mile ‘Pirita-Kose-Kloostrimetsa’ circuit,
a couple of miles up the coast from the medieval walled city of Tallinn.

From Wiki :

Pirita-Kose-Kloostrimetsa Circuit (Estonian: Pirita-Kose-Kloostrimetsa ringrada) is an inactive street circuit in Tallinn, Estonia.
It is located in Pirita in Kloostrimets (Monastery Forest), crosses the Pirita River twice.
The length of the track is 6.761 kilometres (4.201 mi).

The circuit was opened in 1933. Motorcycle TT races took place from 1933 to 1939 and car races were held from 1934 to 1936
as Estonian Grand Prix with mainly local and Finnish entries. After World War II the track was used for Soviet championships.

Five-time world champion Joey Dunlop was killed in an accident on the Kloostrimetsa circuit in 2000.
A year after a memorial stone was erected.
Track was used until 2006 for annual Kalevi Suursõit motorcycle race but was abandoned due to worsened road surface and lack of money to repair it.

It was wet — ‘water bouncing off the track’ — for Sunday’s Superbike race. Using full wet tyres front and rear, Joey won again.

When the bikes lined up for the 125cc race 15 or so minutes later, the track was drying rapidly. In such circumstances tyre choice is always tricky, particularly on such a long track where conditions may vary considerably from place to place. Joey opted for a full wet front and an intermediate rear, nodding to John Harris after the parade lap that the combination seemed OK.

The crash happened three laps into the race, just as it began to rain again. Eye witnesses described the 125’s rear wheel stepping out part-way through the last corner, a left-hand bend where the surface is quite flat and water tends to lie. Joey corrected the slide, but was by then running out of room. This was deep in the pine forest where there was no run off, and a crash was inevitable. Joey got rid of the bike, which wedged itself between two trees, snapping in two. Parts of the machine struck two spectators, but their injuries were mild. Joey struck another tree. He died instantly, although attempts at resuscitation were made as a matter of routine.

When checked out later, there were no indications that the Honda’s engine had seized — an obvious suspicion in such an accident. Evidently no solo rider had been killed on the circuit since 1961. Wet or dry, you’d have put your house on Joey not being the next.

People have asked, angrily, ‘what was he doing there?’ and a few may be looking for someone to blame. It was typical of the man that he should race — as he had several times before — at such a backwater. Some years ago I visited the circuit. The local bike racing club was a poverty-stricken crowd enthusiastically racing anything with wheels — not unlike a grubby young fella from Ballymoney, on a battered old Tiger Cub, 31 years before. They clearly adored Joey, and he had seemed at home there: no fuss, just his bikes, a track, the fans, and something to contribute. As to blame, I imagine that the man would be horrified at the suggestion that responsibility lay with anyone but himself.

Joey’s start money in Estonia was £1000. So he certainly wasn’t there for the wealth, but when was he ever? He was there to get away.

Burnel, thanks for the post on the King of the IOM.

I followed his career and regret to not have ever seen him in action at the track.

BTW, the YouTube tribute music background is from Dire Straits (Mark Knopfler) album and song "Brothers In Arms"

This bought tears to my eyes.
 

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Not sure where his bike is displayed, but seeing it with a pint and then catching a race sounds like the perfect vacation
 

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Discussion Starter #250 (Edited)
Percy Tait


Percy Tait (born 1929) is an English former professional motorcycle road racer and senior road tester for Triumph motorcycles, where he was estimated to have clocked over a million miles of road testing. He is now a farmer specialising in award winning rare breeds of sheep

Tait joined Triumph at the age of 21 in 1950 on the assembly line but was soon promoted to the Experimental Department and was encouraged to go road racing by his manager Frank Baker. Tait joined the Triumph works team and worked under Doug Hele on Triumph's chassis development programme through the early 1960s. He became the main test rider for the development of the three cylinder motorcycles which meant clocking up high mileages in all weathers and grueling sessions at MIRA and in wind tunnels. Triumph engineer Brian Jones was watching the Thruxton 500 endurance race for production motorcycles and saw Tait come into the pits after an hour on the track and plunge his blistered hands into a bucket of water. Following this Jones worked with Hele on improvements to the chassis which resulted in an Isle of Man TT victory.Testing could be also be dangerous work and he broke his collarbone when he was thrown off a prototype Triumph when the gearbox seized at the 1968 Isle of Man TT



In the 1969 Belgian Grand Prix, on the Spa-Francorchamps racetrack in the Ardennes, Tait was riding Triumph's entry for the 500cc race - a version of the Triumph Daytona developed by Doug Hele. Percy travelled with the mechanics Arthur Jakeman and Jack Shemans in an old Ford Transit van, in which the three of them also had to sleep. Percy led the world champion Giacomo Agostini for three laps to finish second to the MV Agusta at an average speed of 116 mph. Also in 1969, he teamed with Malcolm Uphill to win the Thruxton 500 endurance race.


'Slippery Sam'
was one of three similar motorcycles Triumph built for the 1970 Production TT, one of which, ridden by Malcolm Uphill, won the race at 97.71 mph. The Slippery Sam name was acquired during the 1970 Bol d'Or 24 Hour Race in France when a faulty oil pump covered Tait with engine oil. In 1971 Tait and Ray Pickrell won the Bol d'Or 24-hour endurance race on a Triumph triple.

Tait was hired by Suzuki in 1976 to help develop their 500cc Grand Prix bike for Barry Sheene. In 1976, Tait won the 750 class at the North West 200 race. He continued racing two-strokes and 'Slippery Sam' in his late forties but gave up racing after a serious crash on the 'Son of Sam' production racer in the 1976 Production TT

Team Suzuki 1976
( left to right : Percy Tait, Sheene, John 'Noddy' Newbold and John Williams)
1.jpg


Paul Smart, Pickrell and Percy Tait
2.jpg


Percy Tait TT 1974
3.jpg





Slippery Sam

Slippery Sam is a British production class racing motorcycle that used a tuned version of the 750 cc Triumph Trident ohv (pushrod) three-cylinder engine. The "Slippery Sam" name was acquired during the 1970 Bol d'Or 24 Hour Race in France when a faulty oil-pump covered its rider, Percy Tait, with engine oil. The machine, which was on display at the National Motorcycle Museum, was destroyed in a fire, but has since been completely rebuilt.

"Slippery Sam" was one of three similar motorcycles that Triumph built for the 1970 Isle of Man Production TT. The bike was created by the engine's designer, Doug Hele, using stock frames slightly modified so as they were lower. Doug Hele joined with frame expert Rob North to produce the successful works formula 750 race bikes. One of these was ridden by Malcolm Uphill, won the TT at 97.71 mph (157.25 km/h). "Slippery Sam" won consecutive production TT races at the Isle of Man five years running from 1971 through 1975. Other riders included Mick Grant; and in 1971 Percy Tait and Ray Pickrell won the Bol d'Or 24-hour endurance race on a Triumph triple. The motorcycles were prepared for races by Les Williams and his team. (Williams went on to develop the Triumph Legend 964cc). Bert Hopwood urged BSA's managers to make a production version of the racing triple, producing 84 bhp (63 kW) at 8,250 rpm – but this suggestion was ignored, partly due to financial concerns




<strong><span class="fbPhotosPhotoCaption" tabindex="0" data-ft="{"tn":"K"}" id="fbPhotoSnowliftCaption"><span class="hasCaption"><a href="http://spirit.triumphmotorcycles.com/1/issue5/page11/" data-cke-saved-href="http://spirit.triumphmotorcycles.com/1/issue5/page11/">








 

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Percy had some real hair going on in 76.
 

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Not sure where his bike is displayed, but seeing it with a pint and then catching a race sounds like the perfect vacation
Bit of a late response..but.. if you're ever over, I'll share a pint with you Lefty.
One could even organise a lively spin or two round some of the proper road-race circuits here :)
 

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Absolutely, great stuff - glad it was "unearthed" today, hadn't seen it yet. I will definitely revisit... love historic racing info and pictures. American Honda in its infancy, a tiny little building not many paid attention to. How far it's all come.
 

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Okay, so I don't know how or why this old thread came to the surface but I sure am glad it did!!!!!
Now I have something to do this evening. ?
 
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