The Honda 125 Series
Packed grids and great racing
At the beginning of the 1977 road racing season, an all new championship was added to the road racing calendar – the Honda 125cc series. Phil Wain reflects on a game changer.
The series was designed to produce close racing on an equal playing field, Honda wanted to get involved in the 125cc scene and spent a lot of money thrusting their 125 series into the limelight. The UK press, and public, were slow to respond but it’s fair to say they were both completely won over by season’s end. The chosen bike was the single cylinder two-stroke MT125R2, which Racing Services Corporation had developed from their 125cc motocross engine. The air-cooled engine had an output of 26bhp at 10,750rpm, and weighed just 55lb. Honda UK purchased 45 of the machines and, in conjunction with Motor Circuit Developments, (MCD) an eightround series was launched. With 35 bikes on the grid, all of them supplied through dealer/entrants, the series came with a £10,000 prize fund, which, at the time, was one of the biggest in racing. The whole idea was that identical bikes would take to the grid with all the riders in with a chance of winning. However, it didn’t come without controversy as although the 125cc scene in England wasn’t all that healthy, riders who owned a Morbidelli, Yamaha or Maico found that they couldn’t compete. They were understandably upset as they could now only contest club races. Even before the series started at Oulton Park in April, people were said to be cheating!
Mez Mellor, 5, leads a talented field away.