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Legendary Hondas on show at Goodwood

Published Jun 20, 2005


Four, five and six-cylinder Hondas from the golden age of Grand Prix racing will be the stars of the Goodwood Festival of Speed on June 24-26 as the Japanese motorcycle manufacturer celebrates 40 years of sales in Britain.

It has set up the biggest collection of race and road motorcycles to be seen outside of the Honda Collection in Japan. More than 20 classic road and race machines will be on display with some of the original riders taking part.

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Swiss rider Luigi Taveri will be re-united with the five-cylinder RC149 he rode in the 1965 World championship and Briton Stuart Graham will ride the RC163 on which Jim Redman won all nine races in the 1962 250cc World championship.

Tommy Robb from Belfast, also a former Honda factory rider and 350cc World champion in 1962, will be aboard the RC166, a six-cylinder 250cc screamer that developed 45kW at 18 000rpm and won 10 out of 10 races in the 1966 World championship - as well as the 1966 Isle of Man TT with Mike Hailwood in the saddle.

A year later, Hailwood and Honda returned to the TT with the 350cc six-cylinder RC174 and won again. Ulsterman Ralph Bryans will demonstrate the RC174, as well as a 1967 500cc RC181 four, on the hill at Goodwood.

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American "Fast Freddie" Spencer will ride the three-cylinder NSR500 on which he won the 1985 500cc World title.

Five times 500cc World champion Mick Doohan will showcase Honda's 1991 £38 000 (about R470 000!) NR750. Only 200 examples of this technical tour de force were made.

The V4 engine has oval pistons, with two conrods and eight valves per cylinder to get V8 performance from an engine with only four cylinders. The NR750 was also the first production bike with carbon fibre and titanium components as standard.

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Doohan's 1995 NSR500 will be on display, as will Honda's modern MotoGP machine - the RC211V - with current contender Nicky Hayden on hand.

Road bikes will include the legendary Honda Cub and CX500 Turbo, the original 1992 CBR900RR FireBlade, the 750cc RC30 homologation special, VFR750 and CBR1100 sports-tourers and GL1000 and GL1500 GoldWing tourers.

The Goodwood Festival of Speed is a hill-climb event set in the grounds of Goodwood, near Chichester in West Sussex, home of the Earl of March. It combines the Earl's love of motorsport and his passion for the history of racing cars and motorcycles.

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Honda will be at Goodwood in force on four wheels as well, with six Honda-powered Formula 1 cars in the central display outside Goodwood House. Japanese F1 driver Takuma Sato will drive one of BAR's cars on the Saturday and Briton Jenson Button will drive on the Sunday.

John Surtees, the only man to win World titles on both two and four wheels, will make a welcome return in a 1967 Honda RA300 Formula 1 car similar to the one in which he won the the Italian Grand Prix at Monza in its debut race.

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