Racing action blasted into life today (20 June) at World GP Bike Legends, as an incredible collection of former World Champions and race winners took to Jerez Circuit aboard original classic racing machines.
1987 500cc World Champion Wayne Gardner grabbed the first win of the weekend aboard his Cagiva V589, just pipping Didier de Radiguès on the Suzuki XR8 RGV500 and Kevin Schwantz on the very 1994 XR84 machine that he rode as World Champion. It was a close battle between the legends, with pole-sitter Christian Sarron dicing with Niggi Schmassmann and Freddie Spencer for fourth place.
The 500cc spectacular was the highlight of a packed day in southern Spain, with autograph sessions, stunt shows, trial shows and live entertainment in the paddock adding to the on-track action.
Wayne Gardner said: “Wow! Winning feels as good as ever, but just to be out there riding with all these guys is amazing. It’s a dream come true really, I’ve been involved from very early on in this project and it’s so good to see people here meeting there heroes and watching these amazing bikes again.”
Kevin Schwantz said: “It was fun! I got a really good start and I saw Freddie’s bike choked a little bit coming off the line so I felt like I had a good opportunity to push right away, got into the first turn and then everybody was right on me. It turned out to be a fun race – I’m not sure we were riding at world championship level, we were at a level we were all comfortable with and could have fun passing each other. I didn’t win which normally changes my attitude quite a bit, but you can’t win them all! I love racing here – I think we see that the Spanish fans appreciate 100 per cent effort all the time which is what I used to give when I was racing.”
Freddie Spencer said: “It was good fun! What was great was that we were running a good pace, and the bikes ran ok. Getting that first race going was such a historic thing and I think years from now we’ll be looking back and realise how cool it was. I think the fans enjoyed and we enjoyed it. The laps went by really quick, but for us all to finish really close was great. Everybody’s worked so hard over the past year to put this together, so it’s been a privilage for all of us riders and for the fans – and we’ve got two more races tomorrow to look forward to!”
Once the racing stopped, the live music brought the curtain down on a landmark day for World GP Bike Legends. Two-time World Superbike Champion, James Toseland, took to the stage first with his hard rock band before music legend Bonnie Tyler closed the show with her amazing catalogue of hits from the ‘80s.
Another great day of racing is set for tomorrow, with two more headlining 500cc battles plus support from Classic GP and ICGP. All that action, together with the unprecedented opportunity to meet the likes of Schwantz, Gardner, Spencer, Ángel Nieto, Jose Cardoso, Phil Read and many more, will make Sunday another unmissable day for classic racing fans.
500cc Race one result:
- Wayne Gardner – Cagiva V589
- Didier de Radiguès – Suzuki XR88 RGV 500
- Kevin Schwantz – Suzuki XR84 RGV 500
- Christian Sarron – Yamaha YZR 500
- Niggi Schmassmann – Yamaha YZR 500
- Freddie Spencer – Yamaha OW48R
- Gary Lingham – Suzuki RGB500 MK7
- Graeme Crosby – Suzuki XR34
- Steve Parrish – Suzuki XR34
- Michael Neeves – Yamaha YZR 500
- Phil Read – Suzuki Mk1RG
- Jose Luis Cardoso – Kawasaki KR500