It’s the final countdown: there are now less than two weeks until the star-studded World GP Bike Legends make their eagerly-anticipated UK debut at the Silverstone Classic at the end of this month (29-31 July).
Already firmly established as the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival, the magical event features an unrivalled line-up of races featuring the full spectrum of four-wheeled motor sport history. Now the addition of two-wheeled action will add yet another notable dimension to what’s already an incredible event.
Even more so as the illustrious line-up of two-wheeler heroes is topped by no fewer than six World Champions – Troy Corser, Wayne Gardner, Jim Redman, Phil Read, Christian Sarron and Freddie Spencer – all riding iconic 500cc two-strokes bikes from the golden age of Grand Prix motorcycle racing.
Described as the biggest, baddest and most evil racing motorcycles ever to see a track, these much-missed 200+mph monsters dominated the premier league of bike World Championships for almost three glorious decades. Back in the eighties both Gardner and Spencer won the British Motorcycle Grand Prix at Silverstone aboard these 500cc beasts and both champions will be reliving those victories on their return to the superfast Northamptonshire venue at the Classic.
Visitors to Silverstone not only will be treated to the evocative sights and sounds of these legendry riders and bikes roaring around the full Grand Prix circuit on both Saturday and Sunday but they will also be able to meet their idols during what are certain to be massively popular autograph sessions over the weekend.
The riders entered for the World GP Bike Legends showcase at the Silverstone Classic are:
Troy Corser (AUS) 1981 Kawasaki KR500
Competed in seven 500cc GPs in 1997 also 377 Superbike World Championship starts from 1992 to 2011 with 33 wins, 130 podiums and 43 pole positions. Superbike World Champion in 1996 and 2005.
Simon Crafar (NZL) 1989 Cagiva V589
Competed in 32 250cc/500cc GPs from 1993-1999 winning the British 500cc GP at Donington in 1998.
Didier de Radigues (BEL) 1998 Suzuki RGV500 XR88
Competed in 82 500cc GPs between 1983-1991 with two podium finishes. Four wins in 250cc & 350cc GPs with 12 pole positions.
Wayne Gardner (AUS) 1999 Suzuki RGV500 XR89
500cc World Champion in 1987, runner up in 1986 & 1988. Scored 18 500cc GP wins with 51 podiums, 19 pole positions and 19 fastest laps.
Phil Read (UK) 1976 Suzuki RG500 Mk1
500cc World Champion in 1973 & 1974 with 10 500cc GP wins from 1973-1975. 250cc World Champion in 1964, 1965, 1968 & 1971. 125cc World Champion in 1968. Scored 52 GP wins.
Jim Redman (UK) 1980 Suzuki RG500
250cc and 350cc double World Champion in 1962 & 1963. 350cc World Champion in 1964 & 1965. Scored 45 GP wins, 98 podiums and 35 fastest laps.
Christian Sarron (FRA) 1995 Yamaha YZR500
Competed in 148 250cc/350cc/500cc GPs from 1976-1990 scoring seven wins, 37 podium and 11 pole positions. Won the 250cc World Championship in 1984.
Niggi Schmassmann (SUI) 1996 Yamaha YZR500
Competed in 57 500cc GPs from 1988-1996. Four-time German 500cc Champion.
Freddie Spencer (USA) 1984 Honda NS500
500cc World Champion in 1983 and 500cc/250cc double World Champion in 1985. Scored 27 GP wins, 39 podiums, 33 pole positions and 24 fastest laps.
With so many renowned champions and such an awesome selection of 500cc bikes, it’s no surprise that World GP Bike Legends rider and ambassador, Wayne Gardner is excited by what’s planned for the Silverstone Classic.
“It’s an absolute honour for us to be invited to such an unbelievably successful event,” enthused the Australian. “The two previous events we have been part of in Spain and Germany proved huge successes with the riders and fans, and I have absolutely no doubt that Silverstone will be every bit as special. It’s a daunting circuit that has some fantastic memories for many of us who were lucky enough to race in the epic 500cc era.
“I’m sure those lucky enough to have experienced the racing back then will be really excited now to have the chance to relive those glory days. For others who were perhaps too young back in the eighties and nineties, this will be a wonderful opportunity for them to understand just why so many people are still raving about these phenomenal two-strokes.
“We have put together a fabulous collection of spine-chilling bikes representing all the top manufacturers: Cagiva, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha. The gathering of legendary riders is pretty impressive, too. Believe me, it will be an absolutely fantastic show.”
All tickets for the Silverstone Classic must be purchased in advance. Adult admission starts at £42, with £6 admission for accompanied children aged between six and 16 years old. A wide range of weekend, camping, VIP hospitality and Family Tickets are also available. Adding to the festival’s immense appeal, tickets include free entrance to both racing paddocks and pit complexes, trackside grandstands, the World GP Bike Legend autograph sessions plus the live music concerts on Friday and Saturday evenings.