The chance to ride a real-deal 250 Grand Prix World Championship bike is the stuff dreams are made of. I grew up obsessed by 250GP racing. In my teens, in the 1990s I knew every rider, every race number, had the posters on my bedroom wall and all of the races taped on videotape! As soon as I got my Learners, I was on the road on an old RZ250FN, followed by a few TZR250s before I started roadracing on RGV250s in 1995. Even my RGV racebike was painted the same colors as the Ralf Waldman HB 250. Riding the RGV proddie, I dreamed of one day being a 250 GP rider.
When Editor Duke messaged me to ask if I was interested in attending a dinner with 15-times world champ Giacomo Agostini, it took me all of a second to reply with a big yes. The dinner was an exclusive event of just 27 MV special customers and selected media, part of Australia’s International Festival of Speed, formerly known as the Barry Sheene Festival of Speed, held at Sydney Motorsports Park.
Any MO readers over the age of 40 probably have fond memories of watching Wayne Rainey make his magic happen on the best-looking 500cc Grand Prix bike ever built – the Marlboro Yamaha YZR500. His first championship year, 1990, was one of the most memorable seasons I can remember. I was 15 and still remember those late nights staying up to watch the races. By the time I was 16 I had an old blown-up RZ250FN and big plans to paint it up in Marlboro colors. I had the posters and the dreams to go with them!
The Bimota YB5 was tagged as the fastest, maddest, most expensive hyperbike on the planet when it was rolled out in 1987. With 130-horsepower from the amazing FJ1200 engine, the YB5 was what the Hayabusa is now, only with the flair and exclusivity that comes with a bike that is hand built and one from a run of only 208 units.
The Barry Sheene Festival Of Speed is one of the most exciting weekends of racing for any petrol-head motorcyclist. For anyone who enjoyed following Grands Prix in it’s two-stroke heyday and the heady days of air-cooled AMA Superbike, 1980s and 1990s GP bikes and F1 TT racing, this is the event you need to get yourself to one day!
Suzuki’s GSX-R750 is arguably the most influential sportbike of all time, and 2016 marks the 30th anniversary of when the original GSX-R750 debuted on American soil. The Gixxer 750 is now bookended by 600cc and 1000cc versions, but the 750 remains one of the best-balanced sportbikes on the market. Our Australian correspondent, Jeff Ware, has loads of experience with the GSX-R750, being a longtime motojourno and the restorer of the 1985 Gixxer used in the article below. Ware outlines the history of the GSX-R750 and compares his original GSX-R with its contemporary brother to illustrate the evolution of the sportbike over the past three decades. Enjoy! —Kevin Duke, Editor-in-Chief
Our Australian correspondent, Jeff Ware, was blessed with the jackpot of motojournalist opportunities: testing an important new superbike-class contender ahead of its official world launch event. Ware, author of our recent 1980s Turbo Bike Shootout and the test of a Cagiva 500cc Grand Prix racer, is one of just five journalists to have spun laps of Oz’s Wakefield Park circuit on Kawasaki’s latest ZX-10R, the most exciting new regular-production sportbike of 2016. Ware says he expected improvements, but what he experienced was stunning. —Kevin Duke