6 HONDA CR500
‘Tire and it would really bite you’
“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