250cc 4 stroke 6 cylinder, 60 bhp, lots of noise and revs
Sounds of the Suzuki RG500 Square Four 2 stroke, captured at the Vintage Bike Festival that took place at the Spanish circuit of Jarama, in 2012. The ‘ring-a-ding’ noise, smoke and smell (when you’re there) of these classic machines is just fantastic, and truly reminiscent of a bygone era
We raced similar karts to these in the late ’80s, at this very circuit, Rye House in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, in what was then known as 100cc Junior and Senior Britain. We raced Zip, Superdart and Dino karts, with Parilla TT22/TT27 and TKM L90 motors, originally prepared by Bruno Ferrari in Pinner, Middlesex, and latterly John Gravett of JAG Engineering (then based in Scaynes Hill, West Sussex) whom has gone on to major international success within the sport. Mike Spencer, seen here, was one of the UK’s top international racers of the day, competing in Europe against the likes of Alessandro Zanardi and Michael Schumacher. These direct drive rotary valve 2 stroke racing karts rev to 17000/18000 rpm (the later reed valve motors in excess of 20000rpm) and offer arguably the purest driving experience there is, with a feel and tactile sensation pretty much unmatched. Driver’s right hand is ‘dabbing’ or ‘choking’ the carb, with telltale puff of smoke at the end of the straight (highest revs) to prevent engine seizing. David Coulthard was a regular here as a works driver for the Hoddesdon based, Martin Hines (250 Formula E World Champion) owned Zip kart team in the mid to late 80s, and virtually any F1 driver you’d care to name started in karts, certainly both Lewis and Jenson would be very familiar with this circuit !
Age old argument – Which is faster ? As it happens, the bike crucifies the car, both in a straight line drag race, and around the circuit. Still rather have the 458 Italia in the garage though, who wouldn’t ? Nevertheless, this is more palatable for 2 wheel fans rather than 4 !
Mark Higgins in his Subaru WRC rally car doing a flying lap at an average speed of 128mph at the 2016 TT. Just incredible. Subaru had returned to the island with a full on assault of the overall lap record following their 2014 effort which resulted in a 116mph average speed. However, the superbikes cover the same lap quite a bit quicker, with Peter Hickman achieving an average speed of 135mph during TT fortnight 2018, and are in a different league to this. Believe it or not, this 600bhp £500000 + supercar laps in a similar time to the 130bhp Supersport bikes, and slower than the 1000 Superstock machines available ‘off the shelf’ for around £20000. With those comments bourne in mind, and with due respect to Mark’s heroic, and supremely skilful efforts, this video, above all others, gives a very clear indication of the speed of the TT bikes and the superhuman abilities of their riders. That is why the IOM TT is the greatest motorsport spectacle of it’s kind, and every year, people flock from each corner of the world to be a part of this astonishing, and unique event.
Wonderful shots from the IOM TT, the most exciting and dangerous motor race of them all
Great footage of the remarkable Ford RS200
The most thrilling, exciting and dangerous period of rallying ever, from the mid ’80s
One of the greatest, if not the greatest, racing drivers of all time. A tribute
Our own Mk2 Escort 1700 X-Flow on Andy Cattani’s Classic and Race rolling road