Two-Wheel Heroes: 1960-1989 Part II
Following on from Part One of Top Ten Heroes of the two-wheel world, here’s numbers #s 6 to 10 on the leather clad list.
6) Barry Sheene – Famous for his two horrific get offs at Daytona in ’75 and Silverstone in ’82 as much as his two world 500cc championship, Bazza was the archetypal superstar racer of the ‘70s who became a household name in England, and later Australia, his home for the last 16 years of his life. The master of self promotion, and the promotion of racing itself, Bazza’s contribution to motorsport should never be forgotten – or underestimated.
7) Joey Dunlop – The winner of 26 TTs, Joey’s legend is secure, along with surviving over 25,000 miles around the TT course at mind-numbing speeds on all sorts of bikes. A shy and humble man, Joey said his greatest achievement was his charity work in Eastern Europe. It was with bitter and tragic irony then that his life was claimed in Estonia in a wet road race in 2000 aboard his 125, the bike on which he claimed his last TT victory at age 48 just a month before the crash.
8) Freddie Spencer – The last man to win the 250/500 double and the youngest rider ever to win the world 500cc title in 1983, the Fred remains one of the fastest ever riders of all time, and the master of sliding slither-power band pre-big bang V-four mounted engines on cross-ply slicks. He and the Honda NSR00 V3 denied King Kenny a fourth world title and a fairy-tale finish to his GP career.
9) Gregg Hansford – The winner of ten GPs, and declared the most talented rider he had seen by Kenny Roberts, Gregg was much admired and respected around the world. Like Graeme Crosby, Gregg wowed fans across four continents with dazzling speed and style that will never be forgotten by those lucky to see him at his best.
10) Jarno Saarinen – Fearless, methodical and way before his time, Saarinen was the prototype rider for Kenny Roberts to model his knee-dragging style on, and could’ve gone onto to become one of the greatest riders off all time. The Flying Finn dominated the early part of his 500 debut season, but was tragically lost to the world on May 20, 1973 at Monza.
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