Issue 5 as PDF



Issue 5 as PDF
Classic Motorcycling
Ozebook’s Online Magazine - Issue 5
The Centennial Classic
The European Racers
Ozebook Classic Motorcycles
The Centennial Classic at Assen in September 2010 must have been a feast of sights
and sounds.
Thanks to Jan Burgers we have a smorgasbord of photos of fabulous European classic
racers, seen at Assen, to view in this issue of the magazine.
Why Assen? 2010 was in many ways a jubilee year as not only was the Assen TT held
for the 80th time but it was also 35 years ago that Giacomo Agostini received his 15th and
final World title. 35 years ago the historic race between Berry Sheene and Agostini was
held in Assen and the two opponents finished within a hundredth of a second. 2010 was
also the year in which Suzuki has been active for 50 years in motorsport. It was also a
Suzuki which triumphed with Kevin Schwantz on the TT Circuit Assen. Another milestone
was undoubtedly the Assen TT which Jack Middelburg won 30 years ago.
Well where is classic motorcycling in general heading?
Prices for machines considered rare or collectable are going through the roof and are
becoming unaffordable ensuring most of these machines are confined to museums or
private collections. It, however, has always been so.
As the generations change, newer machines become collectable and classic in their
own right. There is no static definition of classic. Largely it is a case of whatever machines
one grew up with, will become the classics of the present. For example, the youth of the
early 70s see Kawasaki Mach IIIs and Honda Fours as classics today, while the previous
generation of the 60s would see the Norton Atlas, Triumph Bonnevilles and BSA Gold
Stars as the only classics. The children of the 80s will not look much beyond the Suzuki
The market for a new bike has never had so much choice, with every variety of engine
layout and country being there for the taking if you have enough money; but where are
the exciting bikes? Plenty of power, uncompromising riding positions and powerful brakes
and compliant suspension. But where is the excitement factor?
Maybe the lack of big two strokes is the problem. Do I see some specialist small scale
operations starting to explore the production of 500cc two strokes again. I hope so.
Murray Barnard
Layout and original content copyright: Murray Barnard 2012
Ex Libris
Email: [email protected]
Cover Shot: : Hummel Kreidler 50cc - Photo copyright by Jan Burgers 2010
Kawasaki KR500
Photos by Jan Burgers
The Kawasaki KR500 was a racing motorcycle built by Kawasaki from 1980 to 1982 for the
500cc GPs. The bike debuted in the world championship at GP of Nations 1980 (the
circuit Misano Adriatico) with Kork Ballington in the saddle. At the end of the season the
South African rider finished 12th in the standings. For the 1981 season the KR500 was
improved, a new chassis was built which was stiffer and lighter, the bike got a magnesium
crankcase and a fork with anti-dive. The season saw the KR500 get its first podium finishes
with two third places (in Netherlands and Finland) with Ballington finishing 8th in the final
standings of the championship. The main change before the 1982 season was switching to
Showa suspensions. Kork Ballington finished 9th in the championship, the best result during
the season was a 6th place in Misano. At the end of the season Kawasaki retired from Grand
Prix motorcycle racing.
The KR500 features a stepped water-cooled square four two-stroke motor in an aluminium
moncoque frame. The front suspension featured a mechanical anti-dive arrangement.
Kawasaki KR500
Kork Ballington below
on the KR500. To the left,
Kork on an earlier version
of the KR500
Gilera is an Italian motorcycle manufacturer founded in Arcore in 1909 by Giuseppe Gilera.
In 1935 Gilera acquired rights to the Rondine four-cylinder engine. This formed the basis
for Gileras racing machines for nearly forty years. From the mid-thirties Gilera developed a
range of four-stroke engine machines.
After World War II, Gilera dominated 500 ccGrand Prix motorcycle racing, winning the 500
cc road racing world championship with Masetti in 1950 and 1952 and with Geoff Duke in
1953, 1954 and 1955. Libero Liberati won in 1957.
Facing a downturn in motorcycle sales due to the increase in the popularity of automobiles
after the war, Gilera made a gentleman's agreement with the other Italian motorcycle makers to quit Grand Prix racing after the 1957 season as a cost-cutting measure.
Between 1953 and 1957 Geoff Duke had won 3 world championships for Gilera and like so
many others had been affected by the Italian withdrawal. Since then he had made approaches to Commenditorre Gilera to provide machines to at least challenge the current
MV domination. These were rejected; however in 1962 one of the 1957 bikes was made
available for Duke to make demonstration laps at the Bob McIntyre Memorial meeting at
Oulton Park.
Geoff Duke made approaches to Commenditorre Gilera to provide machines again to challenge the MV domination. These were rejected; however in 1962 one of the 1957 bikes
was made available for Duke to make demonstration laps at the Bob McIntyre Memorial
meeting at Oulton Park.
Classic Racing Photogallery
Photos by Jan Burgers
Classic Racing Photogallery
Photos by Jan Burgers
Fitted with the latest in tyre technology Duke was recording his fastest-ever times at
Oulton Park, despite not having competed seriously since 1959.This outing convinced
Duke that the Gileras would still be competitive despite a five-year lay-off. In late 1962
Signor Gilera agreed to loan machines to Geoff’s private team , which comprised Derek
Minter and John Hartle. Gilera gave the go-ahead to contest the 1963 season.
The team’s first outing was at Silverstone, where Minter and Hartle took 1st and 2nd
places. Further success came at Brands Hatch which saw once again, a Minter/Hartle
1st and 2nd. Following these successes the team appeared at the Imola circuit in Italy
where Minter overtook Hailwood to claim a significant victory.
Derek Minter was seriously injured in a non championship race at Brands Hatch in an
incident where Dave Downer was killed. At the Dutch TT, team spirit was revived; following Hartle’s 500 win. Hartle’s win represented the sole GP victory for the equipe. iIt
was a measure of the bike's prowess however that John Hartle, Phil Read and Derek
Minter brought the six year-old hardware to second place in the manufacturers' championship.
Classic Racing Photogallery
Photo by Jan Burgers
1974 Barry Sheene portrait Imola 200
Count Vincenzo and Domenico Agusta had a passion for motorcycle racing. They were determined to have the best Grand Prix motorcycle racing
team in the world and spared no expense on their passion which was rewarded by a 500cc World Championship in 1956 ridden by John Surtees.
After the 1957 season, the Italian motorcycle manufacturers Gilera, Moto
Guzzi and Mondial jointly agreed to withdraw from Grand Prix competition
due to escalating costs and diminishing sales. Count Agusta originally
agreed to withdraw, but then had second thoughts. MV Agusta went on to
dominate Grand Prix racing, winning 17 consecutive 500 cc world championships.
Count Agusta's competitive nature usually saw him hire some of the best
riders of the time, namely Carlo Ubbiali, John Surtees, Mike Hailwood, Giacomo Agostini, Phil Read, among others, and having the best engineers,
most notably Arturo Magni.
The three- and four-cylinder race bikes were known for their excellent road
handling. The fire-engine red racing machines became a hallmark of
Grand Prix racing in the 1960s and early 1970s.
Classic Racing Photogallery
Photos by Jan Burgers
Classic Racing Photogallery
Photo by Jan Burgers
Giuseppe Pattoni was a keen racing motorcyclist before he joined
Mondial. Pattoni proved his worth as a mechanic by tuning the vehicle
that Cecil Sandford rode to win the 1957 250-class world championship.
The following year the Mondial company retired from racing, and Pattoni set up his own race workshop. In addition to repairing vehicles, Pattoni and Lino Tonti began to build racing motorcycles under the name
of Paton. In 1958 they produced a single-cylinder two-shaft 125 that
Mike Hailwood, who was just starting out, rode to sixth place at the Isle
of Man Tourist Trophy.
A few years later they produced a two-cylinder 250, which was later
turned into a 350 and then a 500 model. The Paton two-cylinder 500
was opposed by factory three and four cylinder machines in it’s class.
Classic Racing Photogallery
Photo by Jan Burgers
In 1967 the first 500cc Paton arrived and the 470cc twin produced 52bhp at 9600rpm.
It won the Senior Italian championship in the hands of Angelo Bergamonti. In 1970 Pattoni
enlarged the motor to 484cc and was claiming up to 62bhp in the end. The main riders for
that year were Billie Nelson and Fred Stevens.
With the all winning two strokes making their mark by the early 70s Pattoni also evolved
his 500 offering into a 4 cylinder water-cooled two stroke GP machine.
By 1975 he retired from racing his own machines after a wonderful string of successes
from his own designed and manufactured machines. Something we may never see again.
Classic Racing Photogallery
Photos by Jan Burgers
In 1960, Benelli was forced to acknowledge that it
needed a multi-cylinder machine to remain competitive in Grand Prix racing's 250cc class, the Italian firm was able to draw on past experience of
this type of machine, having constructed a 'blown'
quarter-liter four in 1939. The new 250 four was
set transversely in the frame and built in unit with
the six-speed gearbox, while early developments
led to the abandonment of a separate oil tank in
favor of a long, finned sump. There were two
valves per cylinder operated by twin overhead
camshafts driven from the crankshaft via a central
gear train, and in its initial form the Benelli 250
four produced a claimed 40bhp at 13,000rpm.
Pictured here is a 16 valve, 350 four cylinder
Benelli from 1969
Although it was first seen in 1960, the 250 Benelli four did not race competitively until April
1962, when Silvio Grassetti debuted the bike at Imola. Although eliminated by a bent
valve in that first race, Grassetti stunned the racing world a week later at Cesenatico,
beating the seemingly invincible works Hondas of Jim Redman and Tom Phillis. The great
Tarquinio Provini was signed for 1964, but even with a seven-speed gearbox and more
power, Benelli found it impossible to win Grands Prix. Development continued into 1965,
an eight-speed gearbox being new for that season, but by now Honda were fielding a sixcylinder 250 ridden by the best rider in the world – Mike Hailwood. Spreading its limited
resources even more thinly, Benelli pressed ahead with developing a 16-valve 350 and a
With Provini forced into premature retirement through injury, Benelli signed Renzo Pasolini who promptly rewarded his new employers' faith by winning the 250 and 350 Italian
Championships in 1968. In 1969 he reaffirmed the 350's competitiveness by beating MVmounted reigning World Champion Giacomo Agostini six times out of seven in the Italian
Championship. By this time the last of the Japanese manufacturers had pulled out of the
World Championships, clearing the way for the Benelli fours to grab a slice of Grand Prix
glory. Agostini and MV Agusta remained unassailable in the 350 and 500 classes at World
level, but in the 250 category Benelli eventually got the better of Kent Andersson's Yamaha and Santiago Herrero's Ossa, Australian Kel Carruthers bringing the Championship
back to Pesaro. There were sporadic appearances by the 350 and 500 fours over the next
few years (four-cylinder 250s having been banned) but that glorious 1969 season effectively marked the end of Benelli's Grand Prix campaign.
Kreidler was a German manufacturer of small motorcycles and mopeds, based in
Kornwestheim, between Ludwigsburg and Stuttgart. The company was founded in
1903 as "Kreidlers Metall- und Drahtwerke" (Kreidlers metal and wire factory) by Anton Kreidler and started to build motorcycles in 1951. In 1959 one third of all German motorcycles were Kreidler. In the '70s Kreidler had very great success in
motorsport. Especially in the Netherlands the riders Jan de Vries and Henk van Kessel were very successful.
The company went out of business in 1982.
Classic Racing Photogallery
Photos by Jan Burgers
Carlo Ubbiali (born September 22, 1929) is an Italian nine-time World Champion motorcycle
road racer. In the 1950s, he was a dominant force in the smaller classes of Grand Prix motorcycle racing. Ubbiali was born in Bergamo, Lombardy. In 1949, the first year of Grand Prix
motorcycle racing, he finished in fourth place in the 125cc class riding an MV Agusta. That
year, he also won a gold medal in the International Six Days Trial.He switched to Mondial for
the 1950 season.
Ubbiali won his first World Championship for Mondial in 1951. After losing his crown to Cecil
Sandford in 1952, he signed with MV Agusta. He went on to become their top rider, winning
six 125cc titles and three 250cc crowns and scoring double championships in 1956, 1959
and 1960. Ubbiali was also a five-time winner at the prestigious Isle of Man TT. He rarely put
a wheel wrong as evidenced by the fact that he never suffered a serious crash during his 12
year Grand Prix career. Ubbiali retired at the age of 30 while still in his prime. Until Giacomo
Agostini came along, he was considered Italy's greatest motorcycle racer. His nine World
Championships tie him with Mike Hailwood and Valentino Rossi for third place on the championship win list behind only Giacomo Agostini and Ángel Nieto.
Classic Racing Photogallery
Photos by Jan Burgers
MZ Motorrad- und Zweiradwerk GmbH was a motorcycle manufacturer located in Zschopau, Germany.
Renowned for ground breaking two-stroke racing design the company suffered from a
lack of support by the communist East German government and poor access to quality
materials and machinery. Despite this the factory produced competitive machinery but
was hampered by restrictions in travel to the West and a lack of money to finance a full
on race team.
The MZ two-stroke engines, developed by engineer Walter Kaaden, have influenced motorcycle racing for decades. His 1961 125 cc race engine design was the first to achieve
an output of 200 bhp (150 kW) per litre.
His revolutionary two-stroke system was copied widely in the 1960s by Japanese manufacturers. Suzuki two-stroke engines became competitive in motor sport only after they
gained possession of Kaaden's MZ design secrets from racer Ernst Degner after his defection from East Germany in.
MZs were ridden to 13 GP victories and 105 rostrum places between 1955 and 1976.
Above: Moto Guzzi 500
Below: Jawa 500cc v4
Continued from
Issue 4
Martin Krause from Berlin has shared
with us some pictures of his nicely restored and customised Suzuki GT750J.
The GT750 is a super smooth, torquey
750cc water cooled two stroke, first produced in 1972.
Simon Horder’s prize winning Suzuki GT750J
Brough Superior
Classic Motorcycling
Ozebook’s Online Magazine - Issue 5