14 years ago we saw sportsbike mania reach fever pitch and a huge array of new bikes at bargain prices… ‘Steve Hislop was BSB title favourite, but he’d been sacked by his team July and was dead by August’
February 2003 was all about build-up and preparation. While Allied forces were massing in the Gulf for the ‘Shock and Awe’ campaign against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, the racing world had its own arms race.
With two-strokes now more or less banished from the GP championship, Repsol Honda revealed the second-gen version of its fivecylinder, four-stroke RC211V. Aimed at helping Valentino Rossi defend his Motogp title, Colin Edwards’ lap time on his F1-inspired Aprilia RS3 in Valencia testing would have secured him pole the previous season. Their seasons were to be very different. Rossi secured his final title for Honda while Colin’s season ended in disappointment, punctuated with huge, painful highsides thanks to the bike’s lightswitch power delivery.
In British Superbikes, Virgin Yamaha were preparing a revised R1 with more power and refined electronics and suspension. The 2002 champion Steve Hislop was title favourite, but by July he’d been sacked by the team and by August he was dead – killed when his helicopter collided with a Scottish hillside. It was the loss of a motorcycling genius.
BARRY SHEENE STRUGGLES WITH CANCER TREATMENT February 12 marked the last time MCN 500GP spoke to Barry Sheene. The double a few champ was diagnosed with cancer months earlier, but had opted for noninvasive treatments; his latest course Sheene hadnõt been successful. Optimistic 10 days, said: ÒIF they said IÕD got 10 years or He died I wouldnõt approach it differently.ó on March 10. NEW ZX-10R – WE GET IT RIGHT new ZX-10R substance Ð we predict Kawasakiõs Age-old proof that MCN scoops have all-new We said the new bike would have an a good eight months before itõs unveiled. y GP project styling that aped their contemporar 160bhp in-line four (true), frame and twin pipes ram-air scoop (true) and underseat, (true), twin lights separated by a huge slap-happy, What we didnõt predict was what a (we had to wait for 2006 for those). now... 10R would be. Itõs still mental even wheelie-tastic bike the original ZX- NORTON’S NEMESIS RIDES AGAIN… SORT OF The late Õ90s and early noughties were torrid times for the Norton brand, with the name dragged through the mud of failed projects and ownership disputes. This incarnation was Americanowned, their chosen bike was a two-litre V-twin cruiser, bizarrely called the Nemesis Ð just like the fantasy 1500cc V8 Norton promised in the late 1990s. It was a shower.