This week in... 1968
The year the Kray twins were arrested, Agostini took his first 350 title and Phil Read did the double
Read gets one over on Agostini
Great Britain competed in the Winter Olympics...hooray. And won no medals... boo! The Vietnam war was causing huge worldwide debate and protests while Manfred Mann were giving us The Mighty Quinn.
Agostini was at the height of his powers and he took his third world 500 title in 1968. It was also the year he extended his influence to the 350 class taking that title too.
In the smaller-capacity GP classes it was a battle of the Brits with Phil Read and Bill Ivy locked in an epic, season-long battle for the 250cc title.
The British bike industry was also facing some tough competition. Japanese imports had joined the surge of Italian and German machines into the UK. British bike production dropped from 171,300 in 1950 to just 84,000 by 1968.
Honda’s CB range was selling well and once the CB750 arrived in 1969 the writing really was on the wall for British bike firms whose machines were generally outdated, unreliable and more expensive than their new overseas competitors.
‘I slowed down, then saw Agostini bearing down at high speed. I had to start using all my gears again’ PHIL READ