WHAT­EVER HAP­PENED TO Ôcap­tainõ Mark Phillips THEN Visit Call the hot­line NOW

51 is­sues for £85 when you pay by di­rect debit or 51 is­sues for £97 when you pay by credit / debit card / Paypal FACT FILE Lin­coln, 14 De­cem­ber 1963 Win­ning 1986 Bri­tish TTF1 ti­tle Re­tired: At the end of 1999 (for the sec­ond time) 51 is­sues for £67 when

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Mark Phillips was one of Bri­tain’s top rac­ers of the late 1980s. He won the 1986 Bri­tish TTF1 ti­tle on a bike pow­ered by an RG500 street en­gine, which had been hugely breathed on by Pad­gett’s Mo­tor­cy­cles. Two years later that suc­cess got him a ride with the highly re­garded Loc­tite Yamaha squad, but the dream nearly turned to tragedy when his brakes failed at Don­ing­ton in Septem­ber 1988. Phillips ac­tu­ally died by the side of the race­track be­fore med­i­cal in­ter­ven­tion brought him back.

Phillips made a suc­cess­ful re­turn the fol­low­ing year but lost his Loc­tite ride at the end of the sea­son. He made a come­back in 1995 to win the Tri­umph Street Triple se­ries, fi­nally hang­ing up his rac­ing leathers at the end of 1999.

How come Phillips won the 1986 Bri­tish TT F1 on a Suzuki RG500? Wasn’t it a se­ries for four-strokes? Yes, the idea of TTF1 was to give four- strokes a chance out­side GP rac­ing, where two-strokes reigned supreme. The reg­u­la­tions al­lowed 750cc fourstroke street en­gines, but who­ever wrote the rules also al­lowed 500 twostrokes, pre­sum­ing that no-one would build a 500 two-stroke to chal­lenge the 750s. When Suzuki launched its RG500 road bike in 1985 Pad­gett’s con­verted the road en­gine into a full Gp-spec RG and Phillips thrashed the heav­ier fourstrokes. “The bike han­dled so well and was so light,” says Phillips. “In fact the TTF1 RG was lighter than the GP bike, be­cause the road en­gine was based on the smaller fac­tory XR45 en­gine.”

Why did he give up on the stro­kers? Af­ter he won the 1986 Bri­tish TT F1 ti­tle he set his eyes on the F1 world cham­pi­onship, but the RG was no good for that se­ries be­cause it couldn’t do full race dis­tance with­out a fuel stop. In 1988 he signed with Loc­tite Yamaha, which was run­ning Bi­mota YB1S, pow­ered by F750 en­gines. He says: “Vir­ginio Fer­rari had won the world F1 ti­tle in 1987, so we thought that was the way to go. But our en­gines were pretty much stan­dard, so we didn’t have a chance against Honda’s RC30.”

Why did the Cap­tain’s brakes fail at Don­ing­ton Park? “A me­chanic left the brake pins out. I was go­ing into Mel­bourne hair­pin when the pads shot out. I just missed Ron Haslam on his RC30 and thought

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