Thursday, Feb 28 12:15pm
Velocity News

Legends Collection showcases world’s most famous at MotoFest

A whole host of iconic motorcycle racing machines from around the world will feature at this weekend’s Mike Pero MotoFest.


Hampton Downs will showcase bikes from the upper echelon of racing, the World Superbike Championship and MotoGP of years gone by.


Courtesy of Hampton Downs, here are all the big-name bikes that’ll be on show on and off the track.


Petronas FP1

2003 Petronas FP1

Race history: Superbike World Championship

Owner: Chris Wilson

Original rider: Troy Corser

MotoFest Legend rider: Andrew Stroud


The Petronas FP1 was built when the Superbike World Championship regulations allowed three-cylinder engines of up to 900cc to compete with 750cc four-cylinder and 1000cc two-cylinder machines.  


Originally developed by Sauber Petronas Engineering as a prototype for MotoGP racing, it was decided to turn it into a Superbike instead. Somehow, the FIM was convinced to approve the machine even through the Superbike class was meant for race bikes based on series production machines.


To meet the FIM homologation, 150 units were supposed to be produced but it is highly unlikely any Petronas FP1s ever graced a motorcycle showroom, much less was road-registered.


However, as a Superbike racing machine it was quite competitive. The 899.5cc inline-triple produced 127.4 bhp at 10,000 rpm and in an unusual design, the cylinders were canted slightly toward the rear of the machine, with the three fuel-injection throttle bodies angled up and forward with the exhaust pipes exiting the rear of the cylinder head.


Only a handful of racing versions were produced. These were raced by Troy Corser in the 2003 and 2004 Superbike World Championship, with team-mates James Hayden (2003) and Chris Walker (2004).


Corser’s best result was a second-place finish at Misano, Italy in 2004.


After that, the FIM Superbike Formula was abruptly changed to an across-the-board 1000cc regardless of the number of cylinders and the Petronas-backed team, run by four-times Superbike World Champion Carl Fogarty, folded.


2013 ART MotoGP CRT

2013 ART MotoGP CRT

Race history:  2013 MotoGP: 11th overall, four consecutive eighth place finishes (Mugello, Barcelona, Assen and Sachsenring).

Owner: Dermody Motor Racing

Original rider: Aleix Espargaro

MotoFest Legend rider: Display only


This machine was developed by the Italian manufacturer Aprilia for the 2013 World MotoGP Championship CRT (Claiming Rule Teams).


The V4 engine is derived from the road-legal RSV4 Aprilia used in the Superbike World Championship – but with further modifications that would not be permitted under WSBK technical regulations.

Tom Dermody was searching about to add a MotoGP bike to his collection. Most Ducati’s were not serviceable but this Team Aspar Aprilia from the 2013 World Championship became available. It is the same machine in the same livery that Aleix Espargaro raced to 11th position in that year’s MotoGP.


This was the ‘test mule’ for Aprilia when developing the fully-fledged prototype MotoGP bike for 2014.  Whilst it shares crankcases with the RSV Superbike, all internals are different as well as electronics and chassis.


The chassis comprises an aluminium frame and Öhlins suspension. Fuelling is via a Magnetti Marelli electronic ignition and injection system that includes a “fly by wire” throttle including gyro sensors and traction control.


Unfortunately, the machine was damaged in an early crash and Aprilia is assisting DMR with replacement ignition system components – the result being this machine is at the Mike Pero MotoFest at Hampton Downs for display only.


Suzuki XR35

1981 Suzuki XR35

Owner: Steve Wheatman

MotoFest Legend rider: Graeme Crosby


XR35 was the Suzuki factory’s official designation for its 1981 works grand prix racers. These were raced by Marco Lucchinelli, Randy Mamola, Wil Hartog and Graeme Crosby, with the New Zealander taking pole position at the first race of the season at the fiercesome Salzburgring in Austria.


By season’s end, the Suzuki men had qualified fastest at ten consecutive GPs out of the 11 that made up the 1981 championship.  


Lucchinelli won the world title, Mamola was second and Crosby fourth.

Crosby has fond memories of the XR35.  


“It was lower and lighter than the XR34 and handled beautifully.” The XR35 resulted in Suzuki updating its popular limited production RG500 for 1982, resulting in the RGB500.


That machine was ‘the’ bike for privateers to have and the results speak for themselves: of the 28 riders who scored points in the 1982 World 500 Championship, RGB500 riders filled half the places (14) and Suzuki factory riders took another three of those places.



1982 Suzuki RGB500

Owner: Dermody Motor Racing

MotoFest Legend rider: Steve ‘Stavros’ Parrish


After seven consecutive World Constructor’s Championships with its square four 500cc two-stroke RG500s, Suzuki made a significant revision to the engine and released the RGB500 in 1982.


 The rear pair of cylinders were stepped slightly higher than the front pair and rather than the four individual crankshafts of the RG, the RGB used two crankshafts – one for the front pair of cylinders, the other for the rear set.


The RGB500 featured ‘full-floater’ rear suspension, anti-dive front forks, magnesium bodied Mikuni carburettors and scaled in at just 132 kg.


The machine was closely based on the factory XR35 machines raced by Graeme Crosby, Marco Lucchinelli and Randy Mamola in the 1981 World 500 Championship and provided privateer racers with the closest thing to a genuine ‘works’ bike ever made available for sale.


This machine has been updated to RGB500 Mk 8 specification with larger front disc brakes and revised exhaust pipes. It will be ridden at the 2019 Mike Pero MotoFest by Steve Parrish, a very close friend of the late Barry Sheene.


1982 Suzuki RGB500

Owner: Paul Edwards

MotoFest Legend rider: Paul Edwards


This RGB500 was found in ‘unmolested’ condition in a barn in Indonesia. It is now owned by Paul Edwards, a huge Barry Sheene fan. As a result, it has been repainted in the same colours as Sheene’s 1983 machines.


Paul Edwards is a good club racer, originally from the UK.  He now lives in Australia and runs an app design company.


RG500 Mk1

1975 Suzuki RG500 Mk 1

Owner: Alan DeLatour

MotoFest Legend rider: Alan DeLatour


This Suzuki has a special place in New Zealand motorcycle racing history. It was the motorcycle American Pat Hennen used to win the 1976-’77 Marlboro International Series in New Zealand, racing the four-cylinder 500cc Colemans Suzuki machine against a host of 750cc two-strokes.


He won six of the 10 races that made up the Marlboro Series, and finished second in the other four.  Prior to that, Hennen had won the 1976 Finnish 500 Grand Prix at Imatra on this machine, becoming the first US rider to win a world championship GP.


That win also proved just how good the RG500 was as a privateer machine, Hennen beating the Suzuki factory XR14s.


He was 23 seconds ahead of local ace Teuvo Länsivuori (XR14) at the end.


In 1978 Alan De Latour managed to buy the Hennen machine and has owned and raced it ever since.

"Some people think it's so rare that I shouldn't have it on the track," he says.


Aren’t we very glad he does.


BSB Suzuki GSX-R1000

2016 BSB Suzuki GSX-R1000

Owner: Steve Wheatman

MotoFest Legend rider: Chris Vermeulen


This was the bike used by Tommy Bridewell in the 2016 British Superbike Championship (BSB) for the Bennetts Suzuki Team.


It is full Superbike specification with the engine producing around 220 bhp.  It finished seventh in the 2016 British Championship.


For the final Silverstone round in 2016, as a tribute to the late Barry Sheene the bike was painted in special Heron Suzuki colours and the Sheene family attended the meeting.  


Since then the GSX-R1000 has been ridden at the Goodwood Festival by Freddie Sheene (Barry’s son) as well as being raced competitively in 2018 by former 125 and Moto3 grand prix racer Danny Webb to win the Lord of Lydden Trophy on October 21-22 at the Lydden Hill circuit in Kent.


This is the most modern machine in English Suzuki enthusiast Steve Wheatman’s incredible collection of Suzuki racing machines and it will be ridden at Hampton Downs by Chris Vermeulen, the first man to win a MotoGP race for the Suzuki factory.


McIntosh Suzuki GSX1100

2016 McIntosh Suzuki GSX1100

Constructor: McIntosh Racing Developments

Owner: Mark Williams

MotoFest Legend rider: Dennis Charlett


Almost an exact replica of the machine Dr Rodger Freeth used to win the Arai 500 km race at Bathurst in 1982, this bike has an engine displacement of 1135cc – the same as Freeth used to beat Australia’s best.  It lays down 160 bhp onto its rear tyre.


Even though in 1982 Freeth was slightly slower down Conrod Straight than Mick Hone Suzuki Superbike stars Robbie Phillis and Mick Cole, he rode through the Mountain section much faster to be almost a second a lap quicker.


Freeth loved the fast sweeping turns of Mount Panorama where the sweet handling and incredibly stable Kiwi-built bike could really show its stuff.


With plenty in reserve, Freeth rode a calm, measured race to claim the Arai 500, two laps ahead of Dunedin’s Peter Byers’ Honda CB1100RC Production machine, making it a Kiwi 1-2.  Freeth won the race outright and took the Prototype class; Byers the Production class.


According to McIntosh, “Rodger’s style was to slam the bike over so hard that he would scrape the clutch cover bolts.”


Today this machine is the bike to beat in pre-1982 Post Classic racing and has embarrassed many newer machines – in the hands of Andrew Stroud, Sloan Frost, Cameron Donald and Dennis Charlett.  Not one of the four has managed to find fault with the machine, which is an incredible endorsement to the design Ken McIntosh first came up with back in 1980.  


Indeed, after his first test on the machine, Stroud sat deep in thought, then said “it makes you wonder what everyone else has been doing for the past 30 years.”

Suzuki XR69 – GSX-R1100

Owner: Steve Wheatman

MotoFest Legend rider: TBA


Just like Manx Nortons, there are far more ‘XR69’ Suzukis around the world today than the handful of race bikes Suzuki built back in the early 1980s.


The genesis of Suzuki’s first factory four-stroke racing machine goes back to 1977 when Hideo ‘Pops’ Yoshimura started working on the two-valve GS750 engine.


With a tiny racing department in Japan, Suzuki was busy maintaining its grand prix motocross and road-racing efforts around the world.  It suited the company to provide resources to Yoshimura and let him get on with the four-stroke racing effort in the USA.


Then the AMA decided to switch from F750 to a new F1 division for its premier class, which allowed four-strokes of up to 1025cc.  Having already built GS1000 Superbike winners, Pops set to work and had a racing frame constructed around the GS1000 engine.


It was rough and ready but it got the ball rolling.  As well as racing it AMA F1 races, the Yoshimura machine was run in the 1979 Coca-Cola Suzuka 8-Hour race and led Suzuki to develop its own version, the XR69.


Graeme Crosby raced one of the originals to win the TTF1 World Championship in 1980, as well as the Suzuka 8-Hour and at year’s end, the Swann Insurance International Series in Australia, the latter against GP two-stroke machines.


For 1981 Suzuki fitted the XR69 with Full Floater rear suspension and Crosby won the TTF1 World Championship again and added the British TTF1 Championship to his title haul.


The motorcycle featured here was one of two built in England for the 2010 Manx GP on the Isle of Man.  In the hands of Michael Dunlop it won the Classic F1 race with a record lap of 118mph and Maria Costello brought the second one home in fifth place.


Dunlop repeated this success in 2012 for Team Classic Suzuki, again winning the Post Classic F1 race.


With a change of technical regulations for 2013, the eight valve GS1000 engines were removed and replaced with 1986 air/oil-cooled Suzuki GSX-R1100 engines and the team scored a 1-2 finish, Michael Dunlop leading home Conor Cummins.  


In 2014 Dunlop’s machine suffered electrical problems but Lee Johnston brought the second bike home in fifth place.  


Dunlop won again in 2015 with Johnson seventh and in 2016 Dunlop won again, setting a 126.8mph lap record – eight miles an hour faster than the air-cooled two valves per cylinder GS1000 version five years before. 



1992 Yamaha YZR500 0WE0

Race history: 1992 All-Japan 500 Championship runner-up

Owner: Dermody Motor Racing

Original rider: Kevin Magee

MotoFest Legend rider: Simon Crafar


This bike is in original condition as raced by Kevin Magee in the 1992 All-Japan 500 Championship – with the exception of the Lucky Strike livery, which is to reflect the colours Magee rode under in Kenny Roberts’ team in 1988 and ’89.


This machine is almost identical in specification to Wayne Rainey’s 1992 World 500 Championship winning machine.


The engine is a 60-degree V4 two stroke using 54 x 54mm bore and stroke dimensions with twin contra-rotating crankshafts.  


Induction is by way of Mikuni magnesium carburettors and crankcase reed-valves.  On the exhaust side there are servo-controlled exhaust valves and a set of four beautiful titanium exhaust expansion chambers.


The original engineers from Team Roberts still work on this machine.  Mike Sinclair was the race engineer for Wayne Rainey and Kevin Magee in the winning years.


In the latter half of the 1992 season, Yamaha introduced their own close-firing order engine to the YZR500.  The engine in this bike is a standard firing order (two cylinders firing together, then 180 degrees later, the other two cylinders firing).  The CFO engines fired two cylinders together, then 90 degrees of crankshaft rotation later, the other two cylinders would fire.


Kevin Magee used this machine to finish runner-up to fellow Australian Darryl Beattie in a fiercely contested All-Japan 500 Championship in 1992 that was decided at the final round.


This particular YZR500 is unique as it is one of the only full factory Yamaha two-stroke race bikes in private hands.


This particular bike was referred to former New Zealand Grand Prix rider Stuart Avant online through an acquaintance.  “It took a long time to assert that it was genuine, a runner and not stolen!”  he says.


This full factory Yamaha YZR500 is priceless.


Magee sends his apologies and will not be attending MotoFest this year due to a prior engagement helping Ben Felton in his attempt to break the motorcycle Land Speed record for a blind rider.

British 500cc Grand Prix winner Simon Crafar will demonstrate the works Yamaha this year.


1979 Yamaha TZ750F

Owner: Alistair Wilton

MotoFest Legend rider: Rob Phillis


Yamaha’s in-line four-cylinder TZ750 first appeared as a factory racer coded OW19 and was tested by Australian Kel Carruthers in Japan before the Japanese company finalised the design of its ‘over-the-counter’ Formula 750 racer, the TZ750.


The first TZ750 made its world racing début at Wellington’s Gracefield street circuit on January 6, 1974 in the hands of Christchurch’s John Boote.  It won first time out.


To comply with the Formula 750 regulations of the day, Yamaha had to make 200 examples of the bike. In fact, it made 213 that first year, and over the course of its limited production, a further 354 were produced.


The four-cylinder two-stroke Yamaha was built to target F750 events like the Daytona 200, which it won every year from 1974 to 1982. The last person to win the Daytona 200 on a TZ750 was New Zealand’s Graeme Crosby.


Christchurch racer Paul McLachlan also set the New Zealand outright motorcycle speed record on his Yamaha TZ750 and it stood for many years.


Alistair Wilton’s very fine example of the breed is a 1979 TZ750F fitted into a Canadian-made frame made by CMR Racing Products Inc.  


The engine has been fitted with American Lectron carburettors and the Yamaha brakes have been replaced by Lockheeds.  This engine produces 130 bhp at 9700rpm with a peak torque of 96 Nm at 8500 rpm – a considerable improvement over the standard engine.


Australian Superbike Legend Rob Phillis, who raced a Yamaha TZ750F in 1979, is delighted to be able to ride Alistair Wilton’s machine, after cutting some very fast laps last year.  After that outing, Phillis was almost dancing with joy at the thrill.


1980 IoM winner


1980 Honda RSC1000

Race history: Isle of Man TT F1 race winner

Owner: Chris Wilson

Original rider: Mick Grant

MotoFest Legend rider: Ken Dobson


The RSC1000 was Honda’s entry into World Endurance Championship and TTF1 racing.  Unlike the all-conquering RCB1000 factory bikes of the 1970s, the RSC had to be based on a series production engine so Honda used its then new CB900 Bol d’Or engine as the base.  


The make it reliable for racing, the engine was dry-sumped, a wider primary drive chain was fitted and most of the engine internals were replaced. Australians Tony Hatton and Ken Blake gave the bike its racing début in the 1979 Bol d’Or 24-hour race in France and after leading a large part of the raced were slowed by a gearbox problem. The bike finally locked up with half an hour to go, crashed and burned.  Honda learned a lot from that and in 1980 returned with a stronger machine and won the World Endurance Championship.


Honda also built a handful of RSC1000s to contest the Isle of Man Formula One TT races and in 1980 Englishman Mick Grant won, albeit in controversial circumstances.


Somehow Grant’s Honda managed to complete the race with one less fuel stop than Graeme Crosby’s Suzuki and afterwards Grant was seen bashing in the sides of the petrol tank on the Honda before coming back into the parc fermé, leading to suggestions the fuel tank was oversize.


The RSC1000 had its share of race wins, including the 1981 Coca-Cola Suzuka 8-Hour and an unlikely win in the Arai 500 at Bathurst in 1983, with then Suzuki rider Rob Phillis on board.  


Honda Australia had parked the bike after Andrew Johnson and Malcolm Campbell favoured riding the new V4 Superbikes.  


After Phillis’s Suzuki Katana threw a connecting rod through the front of its engine in practice, team owner Mick Honda approached Honda Australia’s Clyde Wolfenden and asked if Phillis could take over the spare RSC1000.  


Unbelievably Wolfenden agreed, and Phillis won the race for his deadly rivals!


2000 Honda VTR1000 SP2 Superbike

Owner: Dermody Motor Racing

MotoFest Legend rider: Aaron Slight


This Honda is one of two in the DMR collection. The factory engine version is still under construction as an exclusive legacy to New Zealand’s most successful rider in the modern era – Aaron Slight.


In response to the domination of Ducati’s 90-degree V-twin engine Superbikes in the 1990s, Honda broke with tradition and adopted an ‘if you cannot beat them, join them’ approach for the 2000 WSBK Championship. Consequently, it built a 90° V-twin of its own, based around the VTR1000 FireStorm engine.


The factory version was the RC51, powered by a 999cc liquid-cooled V-twin engine. In its first year it won the 2000 Superbike World Championship with Colin Edwards riding for the English-based Castrol Honda team alongside New Zealand’s Aaron Slight who missed the first three rounds of the series following cranial surgery to remove a blood clot on his brain. (Slight had been having vision problems in pre-season testing and tests discovered the life-threatening blood clot).


In 2001, Ducati regained the title but the RC51 was still a contender, boasting superior reliability with comparable speed and power. The RC51 won again in its final year of factory-supported racing in World Superbike in 2002 after Edwards' tremendous title fight with Troy Bayliss.  


In 2002 Honda also claimed the AMA Superbike Championship with Nicky Hayden racing one of the 999cc V-twins.


The RC51 also won the Coca-Cola Suzuka 8-Hour race in four consecutive years and in 2001 Wim Motors used an RC51 to win the World Endurance Championship.


Honda developed the RC51 a step further after its first two seasons of racing, producing the SP-2 version for 2002.  Honda claimed to have boosted power by four horse power (to 133 bhp) and trimmed weight by 5 kg. Genuine factory-spec. RC51s are rare.


Moriwaki Kawasaki Z1000 Mk11

2018 Moriwaki Kawasaki Z1000

Owner: Chris Wilson

MotoFest Legend rider: Richard Scott


This is a limited-edition replica – down to the last nut and bolt – of the machine that put Kiwi Graeme Crosby on the front pages of the English motorcycle press in 1979.


Essentially it is a modified road bike and its upright riding position saw the UK press dub Crosby’s style “sit up and beg.” Only he did not do too much begging on this bike: Suzuki had a contract for him to sign before the year was out.


Kawasaki’s legendary Z1 first appeared as a production machine in 1973.  Kawasaki did not expect to sell many and was surprised when orders flooded in.  


The Z1 was the first large-capacity Japanese four-cylinder motorcycle with double-overhead camshafts.  When it was introduced, only MV Agusta’s four cylinder 750 featured this system, and that was was a very limited-production machine. The Kawasaki was less than half the price.


In a fiercely contested 20 lap Production race at Bathurst in 1977, Crosby and Australian hero Jim Budd were timed at 144 mph (231 km/h) through the speed trap on Conrod Straight, lap after lap.  Both were on Z1-Bs.


From its inception through until the four-valve Suzuki and Hondas arrived in 1980, the four-cylinder Kawasaki was the mainstay of Production and Superbike racing, as well as European Endurance racing.  It was also a very popular engine in sidecar racing as well as drag racing. It was relatively easy to obtain and was virtually bullet-proof.


2018 Moriwaki Kawasaki Z1000 MkII

Owner: Chris Wilson

MotoFest Legend rider: Gary Goodfellow


Another limited-edition replica, this bike is a copy of the Moriwaki Kawasaki Z1000 Mk II Wayne Gardner raced in the British Formula One Championship.


Like Crosby two years before, Gardner grabbed the attention of the English press, particularly after he beat home hero Barry Sheene in an open class race at Cadwell Park.


Curiously, Gardner was sponsored on the Kawasaki by the British Moriwaki concession – then part-owned by Crosby, who was by then a contracted Suzuki rider.


Before he got to England, Gardner raced a Moriwaki Kawasaki to an impressive fourth-place finish in the 1981 Daytona Superbike race behind Yoshimura Suzuki riders Wes Cooley, Crosby and Honda's Freddie Spencer.


In July that year he put a Moriwaki Kawasaki on pole for the Coca-Cola Suzuka 8-Hour race – four seconds ahead of the best factory Honda. In its day, this bike was stunningly quick.


Kawasaki Z1000J Eddie Lawson Superbike

Year built: 2019

Owner: Chris Wilson

MotoFest Legend rider: Chris Wilson


The Kawasaki Z1000J was the final 1000cc version of Kawasaki’s legendary Z1.  The frame was improved, fuel tank capacity increased and the cylinder head saw the valve angle steepened to allow bigger valves, more camshaft lift and duration as well as higher compression ratio.  The result was 102 bhp compared with the original Z1’s 84.


In the USA, Bob Muzzy went to work on the Z1000J and turned it into a formidable Superbike.  In the hands of a young Eddie Lawson it saw off no less than six factory Hondas to claim the 1981 AMA Superbike Championship.


Kawasaki then decided to build a look-alike version: the Eddie Lawson Replica, or ELR was the result.  Advertised as a “street-legal superbike replica,” it was offered for a few hundred dollars more than the J version. The ELRs had a small nose-fairing, sophisticated Showa shocks and a black 4-into-1 Kerker exhaust.


Kawasaki also built 30 race versions to sell to qualified racers, which were certainly not street-legal.  These KZ1000R-S1 models cost $US11,000 ad provided privateers with the first ready-to-go Superbike racer.


Graeme Crosby has just recently completed a replica of the Lawson Superbike for Chris Wilson and it makes its world début at MotoFest at Hampton Downs.