You need…

It’s time for a shed up­grade as we’re telling you to get a works Honda in there and these are se­ri­ously rare – as well as ul­tra-de­sir­able – so you will need to in­vest in a bet­ter lock or a big­ger guard dog or both…

Classic Dirtbike - - Contents - Words and pics: Tim Brit­ton

… a works bike in your shed. Why? Not just be­cause we say so, but so you can revel in its glory – first is a works Honda MX.

There is just some­thing about a gen­uine works bike – it doesn’t mat­ter what make it is re­ally or what dis­ci­pline it is for that mat­ter, it’s the aurora that sur­rounds these ma­chines that made the head­lines of their day.

In the pe­riod CDB fo­cusses on, fac­tory ma­chines were still money-noob­ject cre­ations built with one goal in mind and that was to win.

Okay, so the con­cept would help bring the pro­duc­tion range for­ward too, but it was un­likely that any of the parts used for the works ma­chines would be in­ter­change­able with the ma­chines the pub­lic could buy.

Such ma­chines would bris­tle with all sorts of spe­cial met­als that were just too ex­pen­sive to use on pro­duc­tion bikes, but vi­able if your aim was to have your fac­tory name on the win­ner’s list.

Such ma­chines would also have a very short life – just one sea­son – be­fore be­ing side­lined for the fol­low­ing year’s fac­tory bike.

So, you can see why we say you need a fac­tory bike in your shed. The prob­lem is that they’re not easy to get a hold of – Honda, for in­stance, would sim­ply crush the pre­vi­ous sea­son’s ma­chines rather than let them be used by up-and-com­ing rid­ers. Their think­ing, and rea­son­able think­ing too, be­ing they didn’t want the pre­vi­ous year’s bikes hav­ing any chance of beat­ing the cur­rent fac­tory ma­chines.

This de­struc­tive pol­icy isn’t a new one, as John Giles ad­mit­ted to Don Mor­ley in Clas­sic Bri­tish Tri­als Bikes, Tri­umph cut his works bike up in front of him and is­sued him with a new one.

How­ever, there are al­ways one or two that es­cape such a fate – this 1977 RC500 is just such a ma­chine and it re­sides in the Hagon col­lec­tion.

That it is a gen­uine fac­tory bike is undis­puted; what isn’t cer­tain though is ex­actly which rider ac­tu­ally rode this ma­chine.

Even Honda’s top scorer in the 1977 GP se­ries – Brad Lackey – was un­cer­tain when he checked the bike out at Telford some years ago.

As Brad in­spected the ma­chine ul­tra-closely and pointed out salient de­tails to Martin Hagon, he still couldn’t say ex­actly who would have rid­den it.

Still in its ‘as raced’ con­di­tion, the RC500 wears its scars proudly as tes­ta­ment to its life on the GP cir­cuit and there has been no at­tempt what­so­ever to re­store it, nor will there ever be, as Hagon’s phi­los­o­phy is to keep it as it is.

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