Ready to go!
Sheene’s 76 title-winning bike will ride again
There are few bikes that draw people in from every corner of the motorcycling world but Barry Sheene’s 1976 World Championshipwinning race bike is one of them. Over the last six weeks, Martyn Ogborne and Nigel Everett have been painstakingly restoring the bike and this is the result: a race-ready 40-yearold machine that makes grown men go weak at the knees.
There are some parts of the bike that are true genius, such as the exhausts. They look brand new but in fact they are the originals, just masterfully restored, a trick that Everett learned during his time as a Suzuki race mechanic.
“The boys used to ask for new exhausts all the time,” says Everett. “But there was no money for them, so we used to blast them and go back over the welds with a torch to put the heat marks back in. It’s the same as we’ve done here and unless you knew otherwise you’d think they were brand new.”
Despite the bike looking almost new, very little of it was replaced. Lots of rubber parts were swapped because they had hardened. A few parts, such as the fork adjusters, had to be replaced because they had been damaged over the course of the bike’s life. The real piece de resistance are the new footrest rubbers, which Everett has had made as the originals are long out of production. On the whole, however, the bike didn’t put up much of a fight.
“No big surprises really. The pistons were in good shape but the waterways had to be welded as they were corroded. We changed the crankshaft oil seals as they had gone hard and if you don’t change them they suck the gearbox oil in.
“The forks were a bit of a pain. Instead of a circlip they used this threaded insert but it was so tight to get out that I had to make a special tool.”
Seeing the bike in all its glory like this also allows you to appreciate some of the finer details, such as the unique
wooden bar-end plugs because wood was both cheap and light.
The bike will be touring the UK making appearances at various festivals, so you can see it for yourself. As for listening to the steady chatter of that 500cc block, Freddie Sheene will be riding the bike during the Sheene Festival at Oliver’s Mount (July 22-23) – for more info and tickets visit oliversmountracing.com
‘We used to blast them back and go back over the welds with a torch to put the heat marks back in’
eight bikes in the scheme and it is steadily expanding. For more info visit bikes.suzuki.co.uk monethisistheviewthatwillgreetfreddiesheeneasherideshisdad’s1976bikeyoudon’tseemanywoodenpartsinmotogp…itwasallaboutweightandy
Everett and Ogborne’s labour of love