Suzuki is bringing a number of Barry Sheene’s race bikes to this year’s Barry Sheene Classic at Oliver’s Mount – which takes place on 25-26 July – in what is set to be the largest collection of Sheene bikes ever assembled.
Returning as title sponsor of the event, Suzuki will bring along the 1976 and 1977 world championship-winning XR14s, the 1984 XR45 – the last GP bike Sheene raced in anger – and a 652cc XR23A which was raced in the Trans Atlantic series. All four bikes were recently restored to their former glory thanks to Suzuki’s Vintage Parts Programme and former Grand Prix technicians Nigel Everett and Martyn Ogborne.
I didn’t know whether I was impressed or disappointed when I went to visit the Norton factory in Donnington; I still don’t. It wasn’t what I expected from such a prestigious brand with an excellent pedigree.
The pure passion that come from the fabrication shop was astounding. We were marched from the small showroom, to what appeared to be, a farm building behind the main office block. The guy that gave us instruction was one of a handful of people in the workshop, yet his knowledge was second to none. We were told that all parts of the frames and fuel tanks are handmade from scratch, then lovingly polished to within an inch of their lives. He proudly quelled any doubts of mass production parts saying only a handful of items came from specialist partners. From our viewpoint in the doorway of the building, we weren’t privy to see any processes so we couldn’t confirm or challenge what we had been told, yet we were allowed a photo opportunity of ‘not a lot.’
Suzuki has released a video of its latest Barry Sheene restoration project, with two more of the former champion’s RG500s returned to their former glory at Motorcycle Live 2019.
Nigel Everett and Martyn Ogborne, themselves ex-Grand Prix technicians, worked in conjunction with Suzuki’s Vintage Parts Programme to rebuild the last 500 Sheene raced for Suzuki in Grand Prix – the 1984 XR45, recognisable for its DAF sponsorship – and a special XR23A from 1979, which was a big bore RG500 raced in the Trans Atlantic series and Formula 750 Championship
Indian Motorcycle Benelux revealed the winning ‘Project Scout Bobber’ contest build at the Bigtwin Bikeshow and Expo earlier this month. ‘Hasty Flaming Buffalo’, by Dutch designer Luuc Muis of LM Creations, is a beautifully elegant blend of modern technology and the classic lines of a 1910 Indian board-track racer.
Open to amateur and professional builders from across the region, the Indian Motorcycle Custom Contest: ‘Project Scout Bobber’ saw three finalists chosen by a professional jury put forward to a public Facebook vote. Luuc’s design proved so popular that he became the clear leader with over 54% of the votes and won the opportunity to create his unique vision.