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Childhood Memories: Part 15 – Fast Exciting Motorcycle Grand Prix

grand prix superbike motorcycle

Still, remember the time when Formula 1 was unknown and a distance away and all we have was the Bike GP (Grand Prix)?

And to colour them was Rothmans Honda, Lucky Strike Suzuki and Marlboro Yamaha. I still remember entering my uncle’s room one day and there on the wall, was a large poster of Kevin Schwantz taking a corner on his Lucky Strike Suzuki.

Read the childhood series here

Me and my cousins used to get excited whenever we see replicas of the Rothmans Honda, Lucky Strike Suzuki or Marlboro Yamaha on Malaysia roads (although it is not of the same model). The Motorcycle Grand Prix came in 3 classes – 125 cc, 250 cc and 500 cc. One needs to agree that the most intensive competition lies in the 125 cc class but at the end of the day, the juicy stuff lies in the 500 cc class.

Rothmans Honda grand prix superbike motorcycle

Freddie Spencer / Wayne Gardner and Rothmans Honda

One of the most outstanding achievement by Freddie is being the 250cc and 500cc Grand Prix World Champion in the same year. I still recall watching Fast Freddie way up in the front, riding rather casually whilst the nearest competitors fighting off for the second place. Wayne Gardner continued carrying the Rothmans Honda challenge thereafter to be the first World Champion from Australia (way before Mick Doohan came into the picture)

Malboro Yamaha grand prix superbike motorcycle

Eddie Lawson and Marlboro Yamaha

The 4 times world champion and were the one who everyone else would try to outrun in the Grand Prix. Steady Eddie was Kenny Roberts’ partner before taking the helm at the team.

Lucky Strike Suzuki grand prix superbike motorcycle

Kevin Schwantz and Lucky Strike Suzuki

Kevin Schwantz was a blast with the corners – he introduces the sliding when taking corners. This way he was able to catch up with the front runners when they slowed down for the corners. He was battling with Wayne Rainey for the championship and managed to be one in 1993.

Whilst the riders are the main focus when we were watching the Grand Prix on the television, the colourful bikes were the focus especially on the colour of the tire rims as the riders were taking the corners.

2 thoughts on “Childhood Memories: Part 15 – Fast Exciting Motorcycle Grand Prix”

  1. Hi Joe,

    All of us brothers would sit and watch these races from start to finish. True the juicy one was the 500cc. You remember there was another category where they rode the machine in two?
    Eddie Lawson and Marlboro Yamaha were my fav. My brother’s fav was Rothmans team. Its true what you said about what we used to notice during the ‘lap’ – colour of the rim. At one point Marlboro Yamaha was having a florescent orange rim. The bike was superb at that time.

    I even used to draw those motobikes when I was in school…

    Once there were even a roadshow in my hometown near Sg. Petani where they brought those Yamaha bikes. They were just superb!!! I was in primary school back then.

    1. Ya, I remembered the other class where they had 2 people (one in the sidecar) – not all had this type of races. One thing I recall about this is how close the person came to be scrapped against the tarmac at the corners.

      Ha ha, I used to draw the bikes as well when I was in school – Rothmans Honda was my fav until Kevin Schwantz came along and showed that sometimes the rider is much cooler than the bikes.

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