When­ever two mo­tor­cy­cle rac­ing fans get to­gether there will be an ar­gu­ment about the best rider, the great­est come­back or the finest race.

Classic Racer - - PEOPLE -

gos­tini – 15 times world cham­pion and rac­ing on pub­lic roads? Mike Hailwood – able to win any­thing, in any con­di­tions and against any op­po­si­tion? Rossi – beat­ing the tough­est rac­ers on the planet and on equal ma­chin­ery must be the great­est of the mod­ern era – but Vale has never won a TT? But for me, one bea­con stands out since the start ofo mo­tor­cy­cle rac­ing. What greater achievem­ment can there ever be than win­ning three Graands Prix in one day, on three vastly dif­fer­ent mo­tor­cy­clesm – Jim Red­man’s triple win at thet 1964 Dutch TT? Doo­ing 500km (over 300 rac­ing miles) and three hours of rac­ing in one day – ev­ery sec­ond a bat­tle for ev­ery inch ofo the track against the best riders in the world and com­pet­ing with the ul­ti­mate in fac­tory ma­chin­ery – is be­yond com­pre­hen­sion to­day. This is howh it hap­pened.

Fi irst, a pro­logue

In 19964 Jim was not only Honda’s top rider but al­soo the team cap­tain and man­ager. In short, he car­ried a lot of re­spon­si­bil­ity. Jim tells the story: “I came to Assen fol­low­ing two wins in the Isle of Man. As far as I was con­cerned, I should have won three races be­cause the throt­tle came loose in the 125 race and Luigi Taveri, who was Honda’s lead 125 rider, only beat me by three sec­onds. But I didn’t win and that’s rac­ing. “Peo­ple said I was too tall and heavy for a 125 but I thought, ‘Let ‘em say what the hell they want. The re­sults will show whether I can ride a 125 or not.’ “When we got to Assen it was bak­ing hot – ab­so­lutely on fire! Luigi was in­jured in prac­tice so Aika San (the Honda team man­ager) said I would have to ride the 125 race and just keep Hugh An­der­son, on the Suzuki, from tak­ing too many points from Luigi. Aika San’s idea was never for me to win but just to keep the Suzukis and Yama­has off Luigi. “Luck­ily, the 125 race was my last race of the day, so I could do the 250 and 350 races first, which were my main jobs, and then get on with help­ing Luigi. “My real tar­gets were the 250cc and 350cc races be­cause Honda had given me the job of win­ning those two world ti­tles. The 250 race was go­ing to be tough be­cause Phil Read was rid­ing the Rd56yamaha, which was streets faster than my Honda 4. The Yamaha was 15kph (10mph) faster down the straight than even my re­ally quick 250 Honda 4, which was the best one by far that Aika San had pro­vided for me. “The 350 race wasn’t a prob­lem. The only real chal­lenge was from Mike Hailwood and his four-cylin­der MV. This was too slow and heavy to cause me any con­cern, even with Mike rid­ing it. “The 350cc race was first and then the 50s. This meant that I could have a bit of a break be­tween the two races. “Then there was the 250cc race, which was go­ing to be hard be­cause Phil’s Yamaha was so much quicker. “I could have an­other break dur­ing the side­car race and then there was the 125 class. My job was not to win but just to keep the Suzukis and Yama­has from tak­ing too many points off Luigi and I told ev­ery­one this was what I was go­ing to do. I made sure that the whole pad­dock knew this plan. “But, of course, this was not what I was re­ally plan­ning, be­cause I only ever raced to win. Right from the start I was aim­ing to beat them but it was eas­ier if ev­ery­one thought I was not go­ing to ride to the limit. “I of­ten rode in all three classes at GPS. If the cir­cuits were twisty enough to keep the dis­tance un­der 500km we could ride all we wanted. “You couldn’t do it at fast cir­cuits like Hock­en­heim, where you cov­ered a lot of miles, so I only com­peted in two classes there. “At Assen, the races were short enough to run for just over the com­pul­sory hour and still stay un­der the mileage, so I just about kept un­der the 500km max­i­mum rac­ing dis­tance for a whole GP. “I knew it was go­ing to be a tough day at the of­fice but I was a pro­fes­sional mo­tor­cy­cle racer, and Honda works rider, so tough was what I ex­pected. In my po­si­tion, there were no easy days. “It also wasn’t any­thing par­tic­u­larly spe­cial to race 500km in a day. I did it. Other riders did it. We raced mo­tor­cy­cles for a job so that’s what we did. “Assen was no dif­fer­ent from any other GP for me. Gi­a­como (Agos­tini) never used to have sex for 10 days be­fore a GP but that didn’t suit me. I had no hes­i­ta­tion in this re­spect. Ago would go up to Mar­lene (Jim’s wife) and say, ‘Yes or no?’ “Then he’d go away when Mar­lene al­ways said yes.”

Race day

“It was over 30° as we lined up for the 350 race but I was very re­laxed. I never did any phys­i­cal train­ing be­cause I rode so much. I would start at over 100 races a year – any­where where there was money to be earned and ev­ery week­end and some­times mid­week too. A lot of rac­ing, and sex, kept me very fit. “A flag start is very dif­fer­ent from start­ing with a clutch. The si­lence on the grid is deaf­en­ing. You’ve fid­dled with your gog­gles and got your gloves com­fort­able and the ten­sion builds. Then you care­fully pull the bike back on com­pres­sion. With the Honda four it was tricky to get a pis­ton ac­tu­ally at top dead cen­tre by feel. “You tense your legs and get ready to hurl your­self for­ward like one of those bob­sleigh pi­lots.

“Then you watch the starter. You don’t think of any­thing in the world – not the bike, your fam­ily, win­ning or los­ing or crash­ing. Your mind al­most climbs on to the starter’s flag you’re watch­ing so closely. “Ev­ery­thing goes into slow mo­tion. It’s like be­ing in a dif­fer­ent world. The flag moves very, very slowly and you push like bloody hell. All around you is an ex­plo­sion of noise from un­si­lenced en­gines. It’s like be­ing in a war – but you don’t hear any­thing as you would nor­mally. “Then, au­to­mat­i­cally, you know ex­actly when to drop the clutch. It’s all just by feel with no com­put­ers or any­thing else to help. You know the per­fect tim­ing as much as you know how to breathe or walk. “You know by touch and sense if the bike has fired and you feed in the clutch and swing your legs over the bike in one move­ment and then get your head buried in the tank. It’s all one fluid move­ment and you go from to­tal si­lence stood at the side of the bike to 13,000rpm and tucked in with just one smooth mo­tion. “The 350 race was straight­for­ward. I led from the start and won by 12 sec­onds with Mike sec­ond and Remo Ven­turi on the Bianchi twin a long way back in third. “It was noth­ing spe­cial and I won at the slow­est pos­si­ble speed. I al­ways aimed to win as slow as pos­si­ble. No one pays you ex­tra prize money, or gives you bonus points, for lap records. “I knew that the 250 race was go­ing to be a lot dif­fer­ent. It was con­sid­ered to be the main race of the day be­cause there were so many good riders and so many fac­tory bikes. As well as me and Phil, Benelli had a quick four-cylin­der bike rid­den by Tar­quinio Provini, and Mike Duff and Tommy Robb were on Yama­has. On pa­per, there were plenty of po­ten­tial win­ners but in re­al­ity there was only me on the four-cylin­der Honda and Phil with the disc-valved, two-stroke Yamaha. “The flag dropped and we screamed off the start line to­gether and I knew that this was go­ing to be one hell of a race. “Even though it was a pub­lic road, the Assen track had a lot of grip and nei­ther of us would give an inch. We were both hard riders and nei­ther of us was fright­ened of any­thing so we were close to bang­ing into each other on ev­ery cor­ner and flat out at over 130mph. I was de­ter­mined to win that race and noth­ing was go­ing to stop me. “The prob­lem was that my four-stroke Honda was 10mph slower than Phil’s two-stroke Yamaha, so for a lot of the race I had to slip­stream just to stay with him. The 1964 Honda was the last of the fours and we weren’t sup­posed to rev the bikes over 13,500rpm, but I took it to 15,000rpm in ev­ery gear just to stay with Phil. I had com­plete faith in Honda, in Aika San and Nobby as my me­chanic. “On the last half lap, I out-braked Phil time

and again. Phil braked on the in­side of the cor­ner at the end of the back straight and I just rode right round the out­side of him, right on the limit, but in con­trol. “I was rid­ing ab­so­lutely on the limit but never stupidly. The key thing was that I ex­pected to win. It was just a mat­ter of do­ing the job. I never thought about crash­ing or not win­ning. “The prob­lem was that Phil’s Yamaha out-ac­cel­er­ated the Honda on ev­ery cor­ner. I was go­ing to have to do some­thing dif­fer­ent. “As we ap­proached a fast right-han­der I de­cided that if I could get through it with­out lift­ing my chin off the tank, I could carry ex­tra speed on to the fin­ish­ing straight to win. It was a mis­take, as the ex­tra speed caused the back wheel to step out in a big slide and Phil went past again as I fought for con­trol of the bike. “I al­ways raced with my brain, and to a far lesser ex­tent with my balls, so I re­ally cursed my mis­take. “As we ap­proached the sec­ond to last cor­ner I made up my mind that wher­ever Phil braked, I would go down the in­side and pass him. I had to change down two ex­tra gears to try and stop for the cor­ner and when I cracked open the throt­tle the bike surged for­ward, with the rev counter nee­dle 20003000 revs over the limit. “I had no time to worry about the bike blow­ing up be­cause I had no choice. If I changed at 13,500rpm, I was go­ing to lose and if it blew up I was go­ing to lose, so it ei­ther took the ex­tra 3000rpm and stayed to­gether, or it didn’t. Sec­ond place was not an op­tion. “When I saw how well this had worked I did ex­actly the same on the last cor­ner. As we ap­proached the fin­ish­ing line, I saw Phil com­ing up along­side and I knew that if I changed gear I would lose the race. I de­cided not to change gear and let the en­gine rev its heart out – if it burst I lost, and if I changed gear I lost, so I hung on and won by one hun­dredth of a sec­ond. “In those days, the bloke with the che­quered flag used to stand on the track and he re­ally pan­icked when he saw these two ma­ni­acs scream­ing to­wards him with their heads buried in the tanks. “He jumped back some­where a bit safer but Nobby Clark, who was quick-think­ing, rushed up to the fin­ish­ing line and took a pic­ture in case there was an ar­gu­ment about who had won. “No one will ever know what fig­ure that mo­tor revved to be­cause the rev counter only read up to 18,000rpm and the nee­dle was stuck there. And this was a bike I had never pushed over 15,000rpm be­fore! What a lit­tle beauty that mo­tor was. “Aika San stripped it af­ter the race and found noth­ing wrong but he still re­placed ev­ery­thing, as ev­ery part must have been un­mer­ci­fully stressed. “Dur­ing this last lap Phil and I passed and re-passed each other no less than 12 times. We were way ahead of all the oth­ers, lap­ping the en­tire field, ex­cept for Tommy Robb in third place, who was nearly three min­utes be­hind. The lap and race records for this race were well and truly smashed!

“Once I got off the bike my legs felt like jelly and I could hardly stand up. It was like com­ing on to dry land af­ter a bad ferry cross­ing. Peo­ple were slap­ping me on the back, there were con­grat­u­la­tions and smiles, the crowd was yelling. It all seemed so far away from me at that mo­ment. I wanted only one thing – to col­lapse and be alone. “When I got to the win­ner’s ros­trum I was met with a stand­ing ova­tion, the press called it the race of the cen­tury, just as they had a week be­fore in the Isle of Man. “Nobby said to me: ‘This is get­ting real rough, a race of the cen­tury ev­ery week­end.’ “In the shade of the Honda garage I lay spread ea­gled on the con­crete floor be­cause this was the coolest place we had. “Not only was I melt­ing phys­i­cally but I was burn­ing in­side with the sat­is­fac­tion of hav­ing rid­den the race of my life and won, de­spite hav­ing a slower bike. “I took down the top of my leathers and washed my face with Eau de Cologne, all the while think­ing, ‘I’m too old for this type of race. I don’t ever want to have to ride like that again.’ “How­ever, just an hour and a half later I had to be on the start­ing line for the 125 race, again with Phil and the rest as op­po­nents and I knew I could ex­pect an­other very dif­fi­cult race. “I just lay on the con­crete and tried to get a bit cooler. Ev­ery­one left me alone be­cause they knew the state I was in. “I had won two races and all that I could think of was whether I could get three in a day. Fol­low­ing team or­ders and just rid­ing for a fin­ish never crossed my mind. “I knew Phil was just as ex­hausted and weary as I was. I heard that he was ly­ing on his camp bed, a cig­a­rette be­tween his lips, and I knew that he was wish­ing the 125 race was over as much as I was, and he hadn’t done the 350 race like I had. “We walked slowly to the start line again as our bikes were brought out for the 125 race. For the pub­lic it was go­ing to be an in­cred­i­ble race, but for us riders it was a job that had to be done. How­ever, very quickly ex­cite­ment had the adren­a­line pump­ing. I didn’t feel tired any­more and the aches and pains were gone. “In their place was a burn­ing de­sire to win again. I was go­ing to win and there would be no sec­ond place or rid­ing for a fin­ish. “Phil Read took the lead be­cause I made a ter­ri­ble start – al­most last away – but I was so keyed up from the 250 race that I just carved my way through the fi­fi­field from nearly last. I caught up and passed Hugh An­der­son, Suzuki’s top rider, who had made a good start.

“I had to barge past him on a tricky right-hand bend that nor­mally I would have had more re­spect for, but I had to take big risks com­ing from the back if I was go­ing to catch Phil. “Once I caught him, I just sat be­hind him. Phil main­tained a good rhythm, and in no time we had left the oth­ers far be­hind. This time I had the ex­tra speed and so I waited for the right mo­ment to over­take. “With three laps to go to the fin­ish­ing line, I saw a chance to go ahead. We’d just reached a slower group of riders and I shot past Phil and over­took them. “Phil pulled out all the stops, tak­ing all kinds of risks to try and pass me, but I knew it was too late for him – from now on he would not be able to do it. “Rac­ing is a lot in your mind. I knew that I could beat Phil and that was all there was to it. It wasn’t be­ing hope­ful or con­fi­dent but sim­ply ab­so­lute, 100% cer­tainty that I was go­ing to win. No bull­shit or brag­ging – just to­tal cer­tainty that I was go­ing to win. “What I didn’t want was a re­peat of the 250 race – that had been too close for com­fort and I had taken too many risks. I knew Phil wanted re­venge, but I had the speed ad­van­tage, so I just got my head down and took off. “I fin­ished six sec­onds ahead of Phil, and smashed the lap record, with all of the first six fin­ish­ers beat­ing Hugh An­der­son’s old record. “The in­crease in speed was thanks in part to Phil and me be­cause our bat­tle had car­ried the field along with us. “Hugh An­der­son, not known for throw­ing com­pli­ments around too read­ily, shook my hand warmly, say­ing, ‘Bril­liant, bloody bril­liant!’ His praise meant a lot to me since it came from an in­di­vid­ual I re­spected im­mensely. “The 125 race was the third of the day and it com­pleted my hat-trick. At the end of the day I was ex­hausted, but so sat­is­fied – I had won three races and beaten six records. “I was bone weary as I climbed the ros­trum to stand on the top step again but I knew that I had achieved some­thing that no man had ever done be­fore – three GPS in one day for a man too big for a 250 or a 125! “The crowd was won­der­ful and went crazy and you can imag­ine my feel­ings as I looked out over it, won­der­ing could any­thing be bet­ter than this? “Lots of riders would like to win three GPS in a life­time and I had done it in one day! “Al­though I was to­tally ex­hausted at the end of the race, I was still pumped up. Af­ter a nice hot shower back at the ho­tel it was off to prize-giv­ing to col­lect all my tro­phies and en­joy the party. And it was a bloody good party too!

“I was the star and I en­joyed it. Loads of riders came up to me and there were a lot of com­pli­ments. This meant a lot to me, and still does, be­cause these were my fel­low pro­fes­sional riders – and ev­ery one of them was bloody good in their own right. It was the best day of my life. “Aika San and the Honda team were just as ex­cited as me. I made sure ev­ery­one knew that if they hadn’t done such a good job mak­ing the bikes for me I could never have won. This meant a lot to them. I felt very for­tu­nate to be a Honda fac­tory rider and I wanted them to know what I felt in my heart. “It wasn’t PR or keep­ing spon­sors happy like riders have to do to­day. I was just very grate­ful to Honda. “I told them all how I felt, but es­pe­cially Aika San, and all this was with the beer flow­ing and the party in full swing. We were more than a team. We were fam­ily and we had achieved some­thing re­mark­able to­gether. “Af­ter­wards, we went back to the ho­tel and I made sure that Mar­lene was looked af­ter too! “In 1995 I re­turned to the Dutch TT once more but this time demon­strat­ing my old Hon­das rather than as a racer. Kevin Sch­wantz was there and he said to me that he had heard what I had done in 1964 and that he was lucky to win three GPS in a year, never mind one day! “Ev­ery­one should ex­pe­ri­ence the eu­pho­ria of vic­tory, in some part of their life, at least once.”

June 12, 1964: Jim Red­man with his wife Mar­lene af­ter his great win in the 350cc Ju­niortt, in which he rode 226 miles at an av­er­age speed of 98.50mph.

Above: Jim Red­man leads Phil Read in the West Ger­man GP in July 1964.

Be­low: No. 2 Phil Read (350 Yamaha) leads No. 3 Jim Red­man (350 Honda-2) at Mal­lory Park on September 26, 1964.


Above: 1964 French GP No. 37 Phil Read leads No. 23 Jim Red­man.

Be­low: Jim Red­man (left) and Phil Read (right) at the 1964 Ju­nior TT.

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