The Honda 125 Series

Packed grids and great rac­ing

Classic Racer - - WHAT'S INSIDE -

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!

Pho­tographs: Mor­tons Archive and Russ Lee

Mez Mel­lor, 5, leads a tal­ented field away.

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