‘Tire and it would re­ally bite you’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Feature - DAVE THORPE CHAM­PION THREE-TIME WORLD 500CC MX

“The CR500 has a rep­u­ta­tion as be­ing an an­i­mal, but when you are think­ing straight and ev­ery­thing is to­gether, it’s a lovely ma­chine. But as soon as your mind wan­ders you tire and be­come a pas­sen­ger, that’s when a 500cc two-stroke be­comes a beast that will bite you…

“What amazed me the most was just how tractable it was. I used to race with a four-speed gear­box and start the race in third! It would just plough away from the trap like a trac­tor, dig­ging a trench be­hind it due to its torque. It was awe­some and I of­ten used to only shift once in a lap.

“The time I used to notice just how fear­some the CR could be was dur­ing pre­sea­son test­ing. When you hadn’t rid­den it for a while it re­ally felt wild. Dad used to de­scribe watch­ing me as like see­ing some wash­ing hang­ing off the back of the bike. I wish some of the mod­ern top-level rid­ers could try one for size, I’m sure they would still be amaz­ingly com­pet­i­tive as the CR500 was so far ahead of its time.”

‘I wish mod­ern rac­ers could try one. It would still be com­pet­i­tive!’

Thorpe was one of the few peo­ple to tame the CR500

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