Back in the day: An­der­storp GP 1974

Drama rears its racing head for Barry Sheene and Gi­a­como Agostini in Swe­den.

Classic Racer - - NEWS - Words and pho­to­graphs: Jan Burg­ers

It had been a dif­fi­cult meet­ing for some, but in Swe­den it was home hero Lan­sivuori who found the top step of a mem­o­rable 500cc race. Jan Burg­ers ex­plains what hap­pened.

T he eighth round of the 500cc World Cham­pi­onship took placee at a quiet, open place in the woods of Swe­den. Part of the cir­cuit was an airstrip and it was at this very fast part of the cir­cuit that a drama struck two works rid­ers. With only three races to go, Phil Read, Gi­a­como Agostini, Tepi Länsivuori and even Barry Sheene were still in the race too win the world ti­tle. Dur­ing prac­tice fly­ing Finn Länsivuori seet the fastest lap on the four-cylin­der Yama­haa. Sec­ond and third on the row were Shee­nee on the works Suzuki and Agostini on a works Yamaha. In the sec­ond lap of the race Sheene crashed at 130mph, just be­fore the brake point at the end of the 3/4-mile-long airstrip. Phil Read could just avoid the crash, how­ever Agostini, who was right be­hind Sheene, pan­icked, slammed the front brake and also crashed into the steel wire net­ting. Both rid­ers were very lucky that at the end of that airstrip there were no Armco bar­ri­ers. This time it was not the gear­box but a seized wa­ter pump that caused the crash. Both rid­ers were trans­ported to hos­pi­tal and Ago was di­ag­nosed with se­vere shoul­der dam­age and a bro­ken col­lar­bone. Sheene hurt his an­kle badly, had a stiff neck and con­cus­sion. Mean­while, Pentti Korho­nen was lead­ing the race on an Ar­wid­son 351 Yamaha, just in front of his coun­try­man Länsivuori on the Yamaha 500. MV Agusta rid­ers Read and Gianfranco Bon­era were du­elling for third place. How­ever, Bon­era’s MV suf­fered from gear­box prob­lems and nearly threw him off the bike, as had hap­pened be­fore in prac­tice. Jack Find­lay, who rode be­hind, could not avoid Bon­era, who was strug­gling to stay aboard the bike and crashed into the MV. Find­lay fell off the works Suzuki and Bon­era

mirac­u­lously con­trolled the MV and con­tin­ued the race. Länsivuori, who had won the 350 race ear­lier that day, passed Korho­nen, set­ting the fastest lap of the race and won in his spec­tac­u­lar race style. Read even­tu­ally fin­ished sec­ond and must have been a happy man, as he was only on place eight in prac­tice. There were two Finns on the rostrum, Länsivuori and Korho­nen. Places five to 10 were won by pri­va­teers on 351 Yams: Karl Auer from Aus­tria,

Bil­lie Nel­son, Swiss rider Werner Giger, Vic­tor Palomo from Spain, Tom Her­ron and John Wil­liams. An al­most cham­pi­onship de­cid­ing race came to an end. Read was a lucky man, fin­ish­ing sec­ond, as his MV didn’t like the long twisty bends at An­der­storp. With Ago and Sheene out of the com­pe­ti­tion, he needed only one first place to win the ti­tle. His re­main­ing ri­val, Länsivuori, had to win the next two Grands Prix on the Yamaha. Don’t miss the next is­sue of Clas­sic Racer with the out­come of this cham­pi­onship at the charis­matic cir­cuit along a lake in the lonely woods near the Rus­sian bor­der in Ima­tra, Fin­land.

Be­low: The An­der­storp pad­dock still asleep in the early morn­ing. No peo­ple around, just the vans and tents of the com­peti­tors. Even the side­car of Rudi Kurth and Dane Rowe is stand­ing in the open air dur­ing the night. MV Agusta has left some wooden pal­lets to mark an area for them to work when they came back from the ho­tel.the John Player Nor­ton mo­torhome was the first and only lux­ury mo­torhome in the whole pad­dock.

Above: Works me­chanic Rug­gero Mazza work­ing on the clutch of an MV Agusta.

Above: Gianfranco Bon­era had gear­box prob­lems dur­ing the whole week­end. He crashed an MV in prac­tice and just man­aged to avoid a sec­ond crash dur­ing the race.

Right: MV had more and more prob­lems to beat the four-cylin­der two-strokes fromyamaha and Suzuki.the fac­tory flew in some ex­tra bikes to de­fend their ti­tles in the 500 class. Left: Pr ro­gramme book of the race.

Bil­lie Nel­son, a rider who was loved by many in the pad­dock, show­ing his tal­ent. Bil­lie had raced four-strokes for many years and even won a Grand Prix as a side­car pas­sen­ger. In the early Seven­ties he was one of the top 10 rid­ers in the 500 class on two and four-strokes. He very sel­dom crashed. Un­for­tu­nately, some weeks later at a 250 race in Yu­goslavia, he crashed af­ter touch­ing the rocks along­side the track with his knee and he died in hos­pi­tal that night.

Be­low: The win­ningyamaha of­tepi Länsivuori and the me­chan­ics Ris­toten­hunen and Vince French. Ththeiri rid­erid won theh 350, as wellll as theh 500 race.

Franco Bon­era, the sub­sti­tute of Ago, who had left MV for Yamaha, did his ut­most to ful­fil the ex­pec­ta­tions of the fac­tory. He did a great job and it was a plea­sure to watch him racing the MV.

Above: Phil Read was a bit of a lucky win­ner, as his MV was not 100% fit and two of his main ri­vals crashed out of the race.

Right: The fan­tas­tic style of a small guy on a huge bike. Fly­ing Finn Tepi Länsivuori on the works Yamaha. He won the 350 and 500 race that day.

Be­low: Eight rid­ers dive into the pad­dock bend dur­ing the first lap of the 500 race. Gianfranco Bon­era is lead­ing Vic­tor Palomo (351 Yamaha), Tom Her­ron (351 Yamaha),teuvo Länsivuori (500 Suzuki), Barry Sheene (500 Suzuki), John Wil­liams (351 Yamaha), Char­lie Wil­liams (351 Yamaha) and Bil­lie Nel­son (351 Yamaha).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.