US Superstar Freddie Spencer will be going back to basic at this year’s Bikers’ Classics at Spa Francorchamps. The 2012 edition of Europe’s leading classic race event ‘goes Superbike’ and so does Spencer. The triple world champion will ride a replica of his legendary Honda CB750 Superbike as well as his 1991 Two Brothers Racing Honda RC30 back up and testing bike. Spencer’s presence at the Ardennes circuit also marks the 30th anniversary of his very first 500cc GP win in 1982 at Spa.
Very few motorcycle racers have made such an devastating impression in such a limited time frame as America’s Freddie Spencer. Although Spencer’s Grand Prix career was cut short due to injury his first appearance at the Bikers’ Classics in 2004 clearly showed how popular the former Honda ace still was. An ever smiling Spencer signed autographs endlessly and continuously had his picture taken with adoring fans. Spencer cherishes his memories of Spa, the circuit that gave him his first Grand Prix victory thirty years ago, almost to date when he returns to Belgium for the Bikers’ Classics. “Of course Spa holds special memories for me, winning my first Grand Prix race there”, says the man who was lovingly nicknamed ‘Fast Freddie’ in his glory days. “I also love Spa because it is a true test of the highest order. It has so many aspects that challenge the rider and the machine – and it is a heck of a lot of fun! So for me, any chance I get, I c ome back and ride. It doesn’t get any better!”
As the tenth anniversary of the Bikers’ Classics features the early Superbike era Spencer will ride a ‘close to the original’ replica of the Honda CB750 that he rode in 1980 and 1981 in the AMA Superbike Championship. Although Freddie failed to clinch a Superbike title – he finished second to Eddie Lawson in the 1981 series – many ‘die hard’ fans remember the image of the multi talented rider at the wide bars of that docile streetbike that was transformed to a mean racing machine. In 1980 and 1981 Spencer won a total of six AMA Superbike races on the ‘naked’ CB and was actually the first rider to win on a Honda. The 1023cc 120 bhp strong Honda was quite a handful, remembers Spencer. “The chassis couldn’t handle the extra power from the engine”, says Spencer. “Having said that, it was a thrill to ride those bikes because they were so unpredictable and unforgiving, and that put a lot of emphasis on the rider to be able to adapt an d adjust to what was required to ride the bike. Because the bike I am going to ride at Spa is similar to the one I rode back then I am looking forward to it.”
Spencer made his Grand Prix debut at Zolder in Belgium on a Yamaha TZ500 in 1980 as a one off appearance. In 1982 Spencer lined up at the GPs as a full time factory Honda rider and grasped his maiden win as a 20 year old on the nimble NS500 triple at Francorchamps. On his way to the unique 250-500 world championship double in 1985 Freddie also won the Belgian 250 GP on an NSR250. Looking back the former Honda star thinks his years on the relatively basic and far from perfect CB prepared him well for his years in GPs. “Riding it forced me to be able to hone my skills of feel and adaptability so when I did get on a Grand Prix bike that was more precise, I was ready.”
Freddie Spencer is the last world class rider to be added to the list of participants of the 2012 Bikers’ Classics which will take place from Friday 29th June until Sunday 1st July.