Goodwood Festival of Speed 2014

RGV Suzuki that took legendary Kevin Schwantz to a world championship 1993 170bhp 200mphAlthough world renowned as a four wheel ‘Mecca’, this year’s Goodwood weekend turned out to be ‘two wheeled heaven’ and a privilege to attend with some of the finest and rarest machines from yesteryear all together in West Sussex.

Manufacturers brought in some amazing machines and the big named riders followed, keen to enjoy the mounts they tasted glory on decades ago. A real treat for enthusiasts of a certain vintage was the huge selection of race Suzuki RG500 two strokes from the 1970s and 80s.

Suzuki RV500 from 1986 gave Schwantz his GP debut at the Dutch TTThe later RGV 500’s, the likes of Kevin Schwantz fought to tame and finally taking him to the World Championship in 1993. All the machines at the Festival were sent up the 1.16 mile hill climb in batches, for obvious reasons the bikes go separately and this year in three different groups. Leading out Suzuki’s finest with the RG’s followed by classic racing machines from the 30’s to the 90’s and finally up to date with the modern racers.

The bike paddock access is wonderful especially for those of us desperate to get there when the gates open at 7.00am. Such is the pull of this event the greatest names past and present make their way to Goodwood one way or another; Scott Reading and Bradley Smith looked to a private jet to make an appearance on the Sunday after their GP rides at Assen the day before. John Surtees achievements on two and four wheels was a high-light of this year’s gathering, as was the sight of ‘Fast Freddie’ on track with my hero of those epic times, Wayne Gardner. Other visitors for the weekend include Agostini, Dunlop, Haslam, Moodie, Roberts and Rymer to ‘name drop but a few’.MV Agusta 500 1974 Phil Read took the last championship title before the 2 strokes arrived

There is no doubt ‘two wheels’ are no longer a bit player at the Festival of Speed, with 65 quality machines and riders on the official entry list, they could have a show of their own.

RG500 bored-out to 652cc for the transatlantic race in 78, 135bhp known as the ‘collarbone crusher’ Yamaha’s inline 4’s OW48R YZR500 1980, Kenny Roberts mount in the day

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Images and article by Grant Ford.