Interview: ‘Fast Freddie’ Spencer
With ‘Fast Freddie’ Spencer coming down to India Bike Week with Bike India, TVS Racing, CEAT Tyres, Motocult, and Arai, we sat down with the racing legend for a chat by the pool, talking about everything from how it all began to the NR500 and his exclusiv
we sit down with the living legend for an in-depth chat about his motorcycling journey
Bike india (Bi): How did it all start?
freddie spencer (fs): I really was inspired by my mom and dad, brother and sister, and their love of racing and sport. It began, for them, in the 1950s. My brother, sister, and dad all raced gokarts. They stopped doing that in about ’58-’59. I was born in ’61, but they’re the reason I got exposed to it all. My brother was 11 and my sister was 14 when I was born. By that time, my sister had stopped being interested in go-karts and go-kart racing was dropping off. The new thing in Louisiana, in that part of the United States, was motorcycle racing — enduros, flat-tracking, TT scrambles — and it got my brother and my dad interested. My dad had always liked motorcycles. In high-school, he rode a bike. In my book [Feel, My Story], there’s a picture I put of my dad and mom on bikes, and my grandfather and grandmother, who I didn’t know were interested in motorcycles. That kinda fell into place and after a couple of years I got involved, and had my first race when I was four years old.
Bi: How much success did you have in dirttrack racing?
fs: Dirt-track racing was a very important, pivotal part in my motorcycling, because when I was two years old I fell in a leaf fire. It was very difficult for my mom, specifically. I’d burned my hand up. I was running and I tripped on a root and fell in. It burned the skin off my left hand. I had seven skin-graft operations from the time I was two till I was five years old, and it hurt every day. But the one thing I could do that alleviated that pain and made it feel better was riding. And I rode in my yard. That was on the dirt. It was sliding the bike. Through that process, I learned bike control: how to really, really control the bike, using throttle and body movement, and developed an incredible relationship very early in my life. And from that, all the racing in the United States was flat-tracking; even smaller than a quarter-mile. We’d run very short. Some tracks only first gear. Very tight racing and very local. But the really great thing was it was supported by local dealerships from all the towns around the part where I grew up, by a lot of motorcycle clubs. It was community driven and I learned, again from a very early age, riding a motorcycle helped with my hand, it helped me develop these skills of how to work with something, work with the motorcycle, but I saw it in the way we all interacted together, and that’s carried through my life. It’s given me the understanding of how to interact. Bi: What bike were you riding? What did you learn on? fs: The first little bike I had was called Mini Trail 50. Before that, it was a Briggs & Stratton
lawnmower engine in a little tubular frame — so simple and not very fast. In fact, in its first race, when I was five, every time I turned to the right, my chain would get knocked off so I finished dead last. It was a four-lap race. I finished two. I finished dead last. I was always the youngest kid on the track. I learned in my yard on that little bike. And then the ‘Monkey’, the miniature 50-cc Honda came out and that was my first real mini bike.
BI: When did you switch from dirt racing to the tarmac?
FS: My first road race happened in 1973. I had been racing since 1966. I was 11 years old and I’d seen a picture in Cycle News magazine about a month before that road race. It was a picture of Kent Andersson, the 125-cc world champion, and Dieter Braun. Now this is before Kenny Roberts, before any Americans were road racing. I also saw a movie earlier, called On Any Sunday, the Steve McQueen movie, and there were all these little things that fell into place. Seeing this photo, I was just intrigued by it. This faraway place I’d never heard of in Germany. About a month later, we ran a race in Colleyville, Texas, and over the last week, they announced they were going to have a road race at a track called Green Valley. My dad had raced go-karts there and I said, “Dad, I want to race there!” We don’t have a bike or anything, and I knew if he asks Mr Carter, I know he’ll give me one. You’re 11 years old, you don’t know any different. So, anyway, they agree.
The next morning we go to the dealership and the only bike I could fit on was an RD100, the twin-cylinder street bike. The class was 0-250 [cc]. So we got this bike. I could sit on it but I couldn’t touch ground. I could touch the handlebars and Dad could hold me up. We go to the track and — I’ll never forget this — we walk into this little area where they had the signing in. So we’re standing in line and they ask Dad if he’s going to ride, and he said, “I’m not gonna ride, my son’s gonna ride.” And the look on their faces. They still tell stories about it. They’ve never had a kid at a road race. Back then, there was really no organised championship. The only thing in existence was the AMA Amateur Championship at Daytona on Wednesday of Speed Week and you could literally win the national championship by winning one race
because there was no organised series. It was just a few years later that it exploded. But that day in 1973, 11 years old, on the RD100, and Dad would always tell me this story: he’d never been so happy to see me finish last. It was my first track and I was very happy. I loved it. I finished dead last, everybody was on 250s. The next youngest rider there was Peewee Gleeson and he was 21. Everybody else had ridden their bikes to the track, taped up the lights and stuff. But it’s just something I wanted to do. Less than year later, I’m racing at Daytona on a T125 — a bike like I saw in that picture of Kent Andersson — and I almost won the championship but the bike seized with a few laps to go. That was when I knew it was what I wanted to do.
I had always been one to come up pretty quick. My brother’s 250 I rode when I was nine. In a few laps, I was going quicker than he was. I was always able to adapt very quickly, which, of course, worked well for me in the world championship. It was years for the road racing, because there was no structure, so my focus till 12-13 was on flat-tracking and I was just learning that craft of bike control riding 100-125-250s and, within a couple of years, the road racing really started to become organised. My dad and I—I was 15 — were travelling all over the United States for 30 races a year for road-racing. I was still dirt-tracking, but it was not all. By the time I was 15, it was 70 per cent road racing and 30 per cent flat-tracking. BI: When you did 30 races a year, were you sponsored or were you doing it out of your own pocket or was your dad supporting you?
FS: There were two basic avenues that provided the funds. One was my mom and dad. They owned convenience stores. During that time, these mom-and-pop stores were very popular and you could make a good living. Also, because they owned the stores, we could travel. My dad could take time off. The other part that was just as critical was the support of the local dealerships: Ed Piquet Gemon Bosie City gave me my first dirt-track engines. JW Gorman’s Honda sent me my Mini Trail 50 and Ed Piquet my little ’duro. And then my first Yamaha was given to me by Dani Davers Yamaha Shreveport, my TA125, or at least I got a good price on it. If it wasn’t for the support of the local dealers and community, we could not have travelled all over. I also had good support from my school. The principal allowed me to travel and do my homework. Education: very important. Stay focused. Even though I was doing good at racing. We had the support.
BI: What would you consider your major successes in the US before heading across the Atlantic for racing in Europe?
FS: I won state championships when I was a kid in flat-tracking, enduro championships, Louisiana State championships. Then once the amateur series of road-racing started to come together, and they had national championships that started with regional and kind of a year-in championship. That’s when I started getting noticed and that’s when they had the ceremonies and things. This was all before I turned professional at 16. So those championships, the regional and production ones: the GP, TZ, TA125, TZ250 championships were really when I started getting noticed. Those kinda meant the most to me because it was more similar to what it would be like as a professional. And I started getting a bit of support, a little bit of help from Yamaha. Then when I turned professional in 1978, it was my dad and I on a TZ250 and that’s when I had a club race for the first time, like a national championship. I started getting noticed in those championships.
I got my first contract with anyone, it was Arai helmets, in 1978. I got two helmets and $225 a month — which bought my first car! Those championships would be the ones that opened doors slowly to obviously the day that came when I signed with Honda. Before that, I would say 1979, Kawasaki was my first manufacturer sponsorship. Our contract to race in a couple of races. I won the superbike races at Laguna Seca and Sears Point in the summer of ’79. And unknown to me, Honda were putting together American Honda, their first organised road-race team in 1980, their superbike programme, which was ultimately what I got the call for to be involved with. So it fell together like that.
BI: You’re the only person to have won a race on the NR500 oval-piston bike. Could you share your experience about that with us? FS:
That came about after I’d signed with Honda for the GP programme because there was no ‘HRC’ or anything. 1981, I knew, and it wasn’t announced yet, that HRC were building a two-stroke Grand Prix bike. To be able to do it,
We don’t have a bike or anything, and I knew if he asks Mr Carter, I know he’ll give me one. You’re 11 years old, you don’t know any different. So, anyway, they agree
they were creating a company called ‘HRC’. Mr [Shiochiro] Irimajiri had created this team. So, it was in July 1981. I’d ridden the NR once at Suzuka just for a few laps. They wanted to bring it to California to Laguna Seca because there was no US Grand Prix at the time and they knew that they were going to be building this two-stroke. They’d built the engine already. They wanted to let the American fans to see it. At that time, America was the largest market in the world, as India is now. It was the largest sport bike market. West coast California got to see it run. They didn’t expect very much because it had never won a race, never saw success, never scored one point at a Grand Prix. The other rider that was there was Kenny Roberts. Kenny would always do Laguna Seca, which was always in July, because it wasn’t the world championship event. I respected that as it was important for the American market so Yamaha would allow Kenny to come, more like a play race for him, he would wheelie around and stuff. Honda was there with the NR500 with me, and Kenny and I had already developed a little bit of a rivalry because of what happened at the races in 1980. So it was a great opportunity. I went out and I rode the bike. The first time it was amazing to ride because 1) it was like nothing I’d ever ridden: it idled at around 7,000 rpm and the powerband, they told me, was 13,500 to 20,500 rpm. The first few laps I went around, it just didn’t have any torque so it just revved. But if it did have a little bit of power, it was between 17 and 20[000 rpm]. So I came in and told them that if we could gear it down somehow, I could go quicker. I didn’t know they had a cassette gearbox in this thing, I’d never seen one before. So they did and, long story short... We didn’t have qualifying back then so nobody knew what lap times everybody got. They’d run a five-lap heat race. The lights start, I push start, and I got in front of Kenny on the start. For five laps I held him off and won the heat race. You would’ve thought we won the world championship, because this bike, I cannot tell you how much bad press they’d gotten. But it was an amazing thing and I beat Kenny in the heat race. In the main event the next day, it broke, like it would do, a lot, it would break the valve springs. Literally, the valve stems and springs would just collapse. This bike was so ahead of its time as far as development and the understanding and the materials it used for dissipating the heat and things. Everybody talked about it being a failure but it wasn’t. It really was Honda at their best of pushing technology, developing things and trying things that nobody else would. We didn’t really see the potential in the NR500, but we saw it in all the V4 projects after that, Interceptor, all of those. BI: Just a couple of years later, you won your first championship in 1983? What was the feeling like? FS: Reflecting back, at the time the one thing I was thinking about was that there was no next year. One of the dreams I had, once I realised road-racing was what I wanted to do, I’ve always said, was history. It’s such an important part of understanding what you’re doing in the present is to understand the past. It’s what I try to tell younger riders. Whatever you wanna do, understand the past, the history, it gives you what you should be doing and why it matters, the responsibility of what you’re doing. So I was always like that and one of the goals I had was that I wanted to be the youngest world champion, especially once Kenny [Roberts] got there, I could see my own path of really getting to the world championship. Once I got the Honda, once I won the races in 1980, I beat Kenny [Roberts] and Barry [Sheene] when I was 18, at Brands Hatch and I knew that’s where it was going: to be the youngest world champion. Because of my choice to not leave Honda, even after the NR didn’t work, I was getting offers to sign with other companies. Honda actually said that if I wanted to get out of my contract I could, but I stayed because I believed that’s where I should be.
So, now, it’s 1983, the second year of the GP programme. We’d already won a couple of races the year before. This was going to be Kenny Roberts’ last year; that was certainly an important part for him. He was gonna be at his best. It was also gonna be my last year I if was gonna break Mike Hailwood’s record, it would have to be that year. There was also the pressure, even though it
was only HRC’s second year, because of all the money they’d spent on the NR project, there was a lot of pressure from them from the head office: ‘We need the 500 world championship’. Also, Mr Honda, who had been waiting basically for 40 years to win the 500 world championship. He had two dreams when he started the company: he wanted to race and win at the Isle of Man, and win the 500 world championship.
This was 1983 and I’d always have a saying on Saturdays when we talk about the bike and the best that we could get was that there was no tomorrow. That tomorrow was up to me and we had to do it. So there was a lot of pressure on myself and on the team. It was an amazing year because of the battle with Kenny and the fact that out of the 12 races, he’d won six, I’d won six. We had the same amount of second places, but he had a third and a fourth, and I had two thirds. That was the difference. We had the same amount of DNFs [did-not-finish results]. Just the contrast between our personalities, our riding styles, the V4, he was on the V3, the characteristics of the bike, all made for a great championship.
BI: What was the difference between the fourcylinder and the three-cylinder bikes?
FS: The four-cylinder’s advantage was very specific. From my perspective, and it was more difficult for people outside to see, and was more pronounced as he went on, it was acceleration. He would jump me. Everything I had to do on corners, entering mid-corner to get a run on him, and that was just to counter-balance. Once he’d begin to accelerate, he would jump, but with my run, I could kind of negate it a little bit. In fourth, fifth, sixth gear, they were pretty similar. In the beginning, I’d have a little more top speed, but once we got to Silverstone in August, he was not only accelerating better, but his top speed was better, too. Just the fact that Sweden and Imola, the last two races, helped balance it out, but that was the main advantage. I wouldn’t say it was the nimbleness of the three-cylinder engine, like a lot of people thought, because our bike didn’t really steer very well, that’s why you see photos of me in ’83 a lot of times with the front-end tucked. I was actually forcing it, to drive it in, then the rear would rotate around and I would save it; which is what Marc [Marquez] does. It’s the rear that saves his front crashes.
BI: In 1984, you also rode the radical NSR500 with the petrol tank below the engine and the exhaust under the dummy tank. What was that experience like? What sort of problems did you have with the bike?
FS: I was so looking forward to Kenny after we won the championship in 1983. I got to meet Mr Honda for the first time. Now we go to Suzuka to test the V4 for the first time, literally the Monday after. I hadn’t gone home yet. And I’ll never forget, I hadn’t seen the bike first-hand, but I’d heard rumours about it but didn’t know exactly what it was going to be. When I walked in, it was almost the same reaction that we had the first time we saw the three-cylinder (it’s missing a cylinder!) because everybody else had V4s. With this V4, the gas tank they had the fairing on, was on the bottom, the pipes over the top. The look on our faces — it was amazing because it was beautiful in its complexity. I had no idea what it was going to be like to ride it but I knew right away the first time I rode it that it was going to be different. One, it was the first bike to run a radial tyre, which nobody had run before. The other, its characteristics. And, at Suzuka, I noticed right away at the right-hander at Spoon, the double-left leading on, very stable, especially with a full load of fuel, but right away the biggest problem, I knew, we had was ground clearance because they’d done all the development work with the bias-ply tyre because radials were not around then, in the early part of ’83, when I was doing all the development work.
Right away, with the grip from the radial, I was dragging. That was basically the first nail in the coffin for that technology and that bike, because as soon as I got on it and pushed it, it fought harder with the extra grip of the rear radial, and that ground clearance, the only thing they could do was narrow the bottom of the bike. What that meant was they had to take away the baffling internal stabilisation they had because we had to save the same fuel capacity, and they also had to start moving up the little inlets, just trying to keep the capacity but give me more ground clearance, so I’d go quicker. And, as the tyres started improving, that’s basically what caused us the problems in ’84; the crash at Donington.
There was also an issue with the pipes being over the top, because of the V configuration, it was just so tight that they had problems at altitude when the air was thinner. Not enough cool air in them. So it affected the engine performance. It was a process that didn’t work very well. If I would’ve run the ’84 threecylinder, I mean, you can never say for sure, because you don’t know, but, every time I rode it, I won on it, and I wouldn’t have had the crashes I’d had, because we wouldn’t have had the problems of instability. You never know, but I probably could have won the championship in ’84 on the three-cylinder. But, what we learned from that — I’m one of those half-full instead of half-empty — if you look at the situation, you’d understand, just like the NR500, maybe only won that one race. And it won in the rain at Japan. It taught them a lot about engine technology. What the ’84 bike did was it showed us what didn’t work, which was the belief at the time.
If you put one of my three-cylinders of 1983 against one of the 500s from 1990, there’s no comparison in the ride height, the size, the rear end, the rake and trail, all those things. It was the ’83, especially the ’84 bike that taught us that. So we learned from that radical design, and, so, the ’85 bike, the conventional one, which was my favourite bike, not just because I won the championship on it, but because it was such an improvement right away not only in feel, in the braking and initial turn-in, but how it turned on the side of the bike, on the edge of the tyre. It actually would finish corners. And, just the
overall balance in the feedback, it was incredible. That ’85 bike is what basically began the whole NSR500 winning, even though I won a couple of races on the ’84 bike. But, it was that bike that, for the next 16 years, helped the Honda NSR500 become the most successful Grand Prix racer in history. And I’m very proud of that, actually. I’m very proud to be involved with that. That allowed Wayne Gardner to win the world championship, Mick Doohan, Eddie Lawson, and Valentino [Rossi], you know.
BI: In 1985, you pulled off ‘The Double’, winning the 250-cc and 500-cc world titles. Did you have to work on your fitness, because, more than the 250s, the 500s were tough to ride. What was that like?
FS: Right away I knew it was going to be difficult, not only physically, but in my mindset and that preparation. They were two very different motorcycles. It had been five years since I’d ridden the 250, basically one race at Daytona, March 1980. The last year I raced the 250 in a championship was ’79. So, here we are at the end of 1984, five years later, and I had no idea how much quicker or more difficult the 250 had become to ride. Honda didn’t have a 250. A lot of people don’t really know that. When I brought up the idea in June of ’84, it was [Satoru] Horiike
san who had three months, and he basically designed and built this 250. It was an incredible project because they gave him a clean sheet and he was able to build this bike from the ground up. It was the first bike that had the inner Prolink and more trail. It was the baby of what the 500 would become.
Other than just the bike development, there were the other things: practice sessions being back-to-back, the fact that at that time, in the modern era, we were really already into so much to set up, suspension-wise, with the improvement of the radial tyres. There was a lot of debriefing, a lot of development work and things that were going on in between races, and so, the rider — with no telemetry, we were the telemetry — so, physically, you’re relaying information that’s critical not only to the crew and the chassis suspension aspect, but engine performance, because we could do a lot of change in there: cylinders, pipes, move that around, and Erv [Kanemoto] and I spent hours looking at the transmission gear-ratio sheet trying to get 50 rpm here or whatever, you didn’t have a switch or any electronics, it was all that. And, then, the tyres. I spent so much time with my tyre engineer, again, we didn’t have just three choices, we had 20 choices of tyres, and my input would determine what would be built for next week. It was a lot. And I had two of those that year. That is what, I realised very early, was going to be the most difficult part: relaying the correct information, keeping it separate. And once we got into winter testing in Australia in 1984, there was a lot of sitting down and basically simulating what that was going to be like. So, I would say, “okay, today,” because we were there eight days, “today I’m going to do everything back-to-back.” I’m going from the 250 to the 500 and then sit down with everybody and go through a debrief. That’s what, over time, really was the most challenging, tiring part, and the emotional aspect, the mental part.
For example, at the Italian Grand Prix, at Mugello in May of 1985, the 500 race was first, and I’m standing on the podium, and they’re playing the national anthem and, literally, before it was even finished, basically right when it was finished, they were letting the 250s go out for the sighting lap. I’m still on the podium! So I popped the champagne, couldn’t drink any. Normally, most weekends I’d have the time to go back to at least change a T-shirt, drink two bottles of water, and put on a fresh set of gear. I didn’t have time. I basically handed the bottle of champagne to Eddie, and I’ll never forget, he goes, “Better you than me!” because I had to race and we were exhausted from the 500 race. So I went to the pits as fast as I could and every rider, every bike had left, but Tony [Anton] Mang. Tony actually was my main competition and he sat there. He’s German, he didn’t say much. He was just standing there and I look and say, “Tony!” And then we went off and went to the grid. I talked about it in the book [Feel, My Story] I was feeling really energised. I thought I was feeling okay, so we did the warm-up lap and came back again. At that time, it was push-starts so we had to kill the engine. The silence was deafening. With thousands of people, you could hear a pin drop. So I’m there and I’m ready to go. And they dropped the flag; they used an Italian flag to start. I go to push, and the bikes just start to go
whoosh, whoosh and I’m pushing and I get started, and like, everything’s in slow motion. That’s what it felt like. And I come around, and
on the video, and I’m in like 19th place — the one thing that I didn’t want to happen was get a bad start. And I didn’t think I got it bad. I don’t know what happened. The reality was, my dream was up, but I was exhausted, and got my second wind, and so I think I’m pushing at real speed, but I wasn’t! Everyone said I kinda looked like I was in slow motion. And I get on the bike and it about halfway through the race I caught the leaders. I ended up winning both races that day. It was the first time, about six races in, the Italian GP, when I finally won both races. It was an amazing day, and the most difficult weekend to do it. I don’t know how I was able to do it then.
BI: You’ve ridden the modern-day MotoGP bike with all the electronics. Do they make it better or worse? Was it easier to ride than the old 500-cc two-stroker, or more difficult?
FS: The first time I rode a bike with electronics was the very first [Honda] RCV, the 211. It was in Motegi in October 2001. Honda were the first to début the bikes. Yamaha were working on theirs, but they hadn’t shown anybody. And Honda were the first to show the bike, so they invited Mick [Doohan] and I to come and ride the bikes, do a couple of laps, show the world what these bikes were like. There’s a video of me coming on the front straight and Mick’s behind me and we’re accelerating, it breaks traction, and corrects itself and we go on. And so we do three or four laps and come in, and we’re sitting in front of press, and they’re asking questions about the bike. Finally, someone goes, “What do you think about electronics?” And this is what I said 16 years ago. I said, “It’s going to be the most incredible thing for the average rider.” And I meant a lot more than the average rider, because it’s going to help them on the road, if you’re going along and you hit something slick, it’s amazing. I’ve ridden BMW bikes, off-road bikes, a modern Fireblade. It’s come along from that day in Motegi when I rode it where it was more reactive to proactive and you don’t notice it. It also helps Grand Prix racers that maybe aren’t as smooth with the throttle in difficult conditions. It helps a motorcycle that doesn’t have a very good powerband, it smooths it out, allows a rider that’s not very good on initial throttle, and you have a bike that’s very peaky, electronics can help with that. So it’s pretty good.
The flipside to that is the experience of riding. I always said my only issue with electronics would be if it interfered with my riding experience. I hear people of all ability levels and ages, not just older riders, but younger riders that specifically say they don’t really wanna have electronics; they want to experience motorcycling in its purest form. I’m happy I came along at a time when it was all dependent on what I did — my ability of throttle control, to anticipate, because even fuel-injection has made that easier. Back in the days with carburation, you’d move the throttle and the slider would move but the engine didn’t respond, and you had to anticipate that, you had to learn to look ahead and anticipate exactly where the bike would end up in front of you. All of that and those skills, when I ride a modern bike with electronics, and I’ve had the best of both worlds, and so, I’m not one of those that doesn’t think electronics doesn’t have a place. I think it does. When I rode the modern Fireblade at Portimão, at the world launch, I’m out there with Tito Rabat, Stefan Bradl, or even Nicky [Hayden] — it was the last time I saw him, and we rode together. And it helps, in certain areas. And so, I think it has its place. But, if we always have a choice, if we can always have a personal choice, riding a bike is all about that personal freedom. You’re in action, that independence is individual, you’re responsible.
BI: This is your first time in India. What do you think?
FS: Well, I want to thank you, Bike India and TVS Racing, and the organisers of India Bike Week for inviting me and having me and kinda giving me one of my goals. I always wanted to come to India and in all those years, I never had the opportunity. After coming here, the pleasure of seeing the amazing culture. One of the great things about our time on this earth is our diversity, our differences. That is inspiring and also very enriching. It makes us strive when it makes us understand each other and when we get the opportunity to share that, it’s priceless. And it’s motorcycling, as I’ve talked about it, that gave a kid from Louisiana, at 11 years old, a chance to see the world and, more importantly, to share the world with others, and share motorcycling with others. It’s such an exciting time in India just at the beginning of what motorcycling is. It was inspiring when we were riding from the airport to see all of these kids on scooters. Certainly, some of them were going from point A to point B, but if we can educate them, and through events like India Bike Week, show them what the community of motorcycling is exactly and all that you get to share through motorcycling, not just riding a bike. I got the experience, trusting myself, to get to Mr Honda’s house, certainly to achieve, to teach and to share, and I feel like India is a place that that is just in the beginning, and it’s just amazing. The smile on people’s faces, it’s engaging. Last night, the first night at India Bike Week, when I was up on stage and I was talking about what motorcycling has given me, and the look on people’s faces, on young people’s faces, young generation, old generation, and all of that, was an incredible moment. I was privileged to share that and I look forward to many more.
We didn’t have just three choices, we had 20 choices of tyres, and my input would determine what would be built for next week
Freddie and his Briggs & Stratton bike in his yard
An all-round nice guy, Fast Freddie enjoyed speaking to us
Summer of 1972: Nine years old, on a 100-cc Yamaha at Ross Downs Speed Way in Dallas Freddie (the little boy with the helmet) and the big boys — Louisiana Summer of 1964, Caddo Speed Way
Daytona, March 1980: the newly formed American Honda Team Hero Belgium 83 (for social)
First international race: Match Races — USA UK, April 1980, Easter weekend
At Spa in Belgium, 1983
Superbikers event, 1980
Push-starting the NS500 at the German GP in Hockenheim, 1983
Celebrating with the team in Sweden 1985 as double world champion
Freddie with Soichiro Honda in his house in Tokyo, 1983
Astride the revolutionary Honda NSR500