In the new book ‘Barry Sheene: The Official Photographic Celebration of the Legendary Motorcycle Champion’ from top publishers Bloomsbury, there’s a host of images of Barry never seen before. Over the next two months of Classic Racer we will be bringing y
than 120 previously unpublished personal photographs, Times journalist and award-winning authora Rick Broadbent tells the storys of a remarkable sports star.s Barry’s son Freddie Sheene providesp thet Foreword. Published to mark the 40th anniversarya of his second World Championship win, the book provides a unique pictorial account of a life lived at full throttle and is an intensely personal look at a racer, legend, husband and father. Published by Bloomsbury Sport, it is available from all good bookshops and costs just £20. Classic Racer has 10 copies of this great book, each one signed by Freddie Sheene, to give away. All you have to do is visit www. classicracer.com/category/competitions/
Left: Chimay, Belgium in 1976 and spot the new sponsor on the chin bar.this was French jeans maker Mashe, which was one of the first companies to pay Barry for important promo space as he rode. Motorcycle racing as a spectator sport was rapidly rising in popularity around the world and the crowds flocked to see Sheene et al in action. The standard-issue cigarette only added to the everyman image. Even on the grid.
Right: Born to race and love the camera. Born on September 11, 1950, young Barry was the apple of his mum’s eye.this is the young Bazza in prime photo spot with older sister Margaret (Maggie went on to marry Paul Smart) to his right and mum Iris with dad Franco completing the family group. Above: The promotional wheelie that hid disappointment. In 1979 Barry and the rest of the Suzuki Grand Prix riders were given the chance to try out two different versions of the RG500, one with the radiator in the nose of the bike, the other with the cooling pulled a bit further back. Barry instantly liked the one with the weightier nose but was outvoted on the bike by Virginio Ferrari (Team Gallina) and Wil Hartog (Team Nimag). Barry was forced to ride a version of the bike that he didn’t like.
Left: Barry and Stephanie were made for each other as their enduring marriage showed. Barry was very close to Stephanie’s son Roman, loving him as his own and in November 1985 – a year after Stephanie and Barry married – came daughter Sidonie, with Freddie arriving fourf years later. The solid home life was the perfectp compliment for Barry in Australia, a countryc that was perfect for the active, outdoors-lovingo family.
Right: Barry with a monkey and an ice cream.there’s no reason for this picture to be in a racing magazine such as this other than it made us smile. We think it’ll do the same for you, too.
Far right: Money man.the year is 1976 and Chimay, Belgium was a circuit that held a non-championship, big money race that drew big stars. Barry was among them. Held in June, this race paid much more than the Isle of MANTT and the line-up reflected that for the 6.4-mile road circuit. Barry (pictured with Marco Lucchinelli and Gary Nixon) won the 500cc outing from GP rivals Phil Read and Lucchinelli. Above and left: Getting away from it all. Whether it was the sandy beaches in Venezuela or Treasure key in the Bahamas, Barry and Steph made sure of making the most of their post season down time before the work started again. Trunks could become an optional extra for Bazza…
Below: Barry loved animals (a dozen cats once shared the Surrey home…) and dogs also factored into home life. Above: Moments before the off and Barry, relaxed as you could be on such a busy grid, shares a trademark cheeky-chappy wink with a photographer. In 1978, it seems, anyone could get onto a GP grid for a quick look at a factory race bike and rider up close.
Below: The 1979 French Grand Prix at Le Mans and a moment of relief after a hard-fought win.this was a rare moment without the standard-issue Gauloises hanging from a bottom lip.
Left: Two years of being at the top of the 500cc world championship gave way to Kenny Roberts taking the crown by just 10 points in 1978. Illness plagued the season with Barry diagnosed with Bornholm disease, forcing him to fight back to a level playing field – but in the end he had to play second best to Roberts.
Below: 1973 and the tide was starting to turn. Notice the amount of number one stickers on the side of the Suzuki – marks of the winner in the Shellsport series. The year was the start of Barry’s time as a works Suzuki rider.
The year is 1980 and while the GP season was less than easy-going by this point, there was nothing to stop Barry getting out on home soil.this picture was taken as he paddled the 750cc Akai Yamaha around to the grid at Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough. It was a pretty good day over the jumps because despite missing out on the Gold Cup he did go on to take the overall win in the MCN Superbike Championship.
If you want to buy the book… We absolutely love this book and if you want to buy your own copy then you can for just £20 (if you order it online from www.bloomsbury.com you can get it for £18, a 10% saving).the excellent 224-page tome’s ISBN number is 9781472944580. Hockenheim, 1977.The second race of the season was a masterclass by Barry. He smashed qualifying by over a second, set a new lap record in the race and finished nine seconds ahead of his team-mate Pat Hennen.