As the bike industry moved into the eighties it was still riding the sales peak that started in the mid-seventies. The Government had finally plugged the loop hole that created the sports moped and while the Yamaha FS1E continued until 1985 it no longer had pedals and was limited to 30 miles an hour. Alongside the Fizzy, Yamaha launched the RD50 which had the same styling as the bigger RD machinery. The air-cooled RD machines were replaced by the liquid cooled 250 and 350LC twins which continued in the same head banging vein and further boosted sales and interest in biking.
Classic/Retro Feature @ Motorcycle Live Suzuki, having paid second fiddle to Yamaha in the 250cc class launched the GT250X7, and finally eclipsed the RD’s for performance although they never quite lived up to the hype of the “100 mph 250” that they were launched as. Examples of all of these bikes are on display in the Retro Zone.
Club racing in the eighties enjoyed a thriving single cylinder class structure for 500cc and 250cc machines. We have a 500cc Hagon Honda that was campaigned by Robin Riley, and a Maitland Racing 500cc Yamaha raced by Mick Palfreman.
Speedway and Grass Track racing thrived in the UK following their introduction from Australia in 1928 and by 1939 over 10 million people a year were watching events at 29 tracks nationwide. Don Godden was a multi European and National champion on the grass and he persuaded the Weslake company to develop a Speedway motor to challenge the East European ESO and Jawa machines. Peter Collins won the World Championship on a Weslake in the mid eighties, by which time Godden had decide to make his own engine and complete machines, the GR500. Examples of both machines are on display.
Retro bikes which will be appearing at the show include:
Yamaha FS1 1989
Honda C90ZZ 1982
Suzuki GT250X7 1980
Yamaha RD250LC 1981
Hagon Honda 500 1983
Yamaha 500 1983
Weslake 500 speedway 1985
Godden 500 speedway 1985
Honda Chaly 1989