Roy well remembers the first big meeting ever at Donington Park on its resurrection in September 1977... it rained relentlessly all day. And to make it worse, he’d never seen the place before! After splashing his way around the extremely slippery circuit in practice, he approached the 15 lap unlimited race with some trepidation. The big Yamaha screamed into life and before he knew it, he was tearing headlong down the streaming Craner Curves in the lead. Keith Sanderson gave him a hard time on his 351 Yamaha mid-race, but Roy put the many lurid slides behind him and went on to claim a commanding victory over class riders such as Gary Lingham, Tony Myers, and Mat Oxley. Having won that first big bike race he was invited by the organisers into the main Superbike race alongside Barry Sheene et al. In typical Toyne style, he decided that rather than take the chance of slipping off in the atrocious conditions and bending the team’s investment, he’d get into some warm dry clothing and head home with winnings safely tucked away in his pocket, and live to race another day. From that day on, organisers began to take note of Roy and a modest amount of start money became the norm. On another occasion, Donington Park was the scene of one of his proudest racing moments, when he diced for seventh spot with his hero Joey Dunlop on the works Honda, in the day’s feature race. The two quiet men of racing went at it ‘hammer and tongs’ for the majority of the race, with the Irishman eventually taking the flag by inches. Although, the twin shock equipped frame had served its purpose well, a monoshock frame was definitely the way to go, so over the winter of 1977-78 Sandra chipped in all their ‘rainy day’ money and the Toynes invested in a Spondon Monoshock frame and converted the whole thing to OW01 spec, selling off the original Yamaha version. After Pop had added a set of home-made expansion chambers, the Spondon framed Yamaha proved to be money well spent. It made the bike more competitive against the likes of fellow local lads Graham Wood, Bob Smith, and Rob Mcelnea. It brought him third overall in the East Midland Centre Unlimited Championship in 1978 and the title itself in 1980.
“WHEN I QUIZZED ROY ABOUT THE BIG YAM’S RUNNING COSTS, I WAS SURPRISED AT JUST HOW REASONABLE COSTS CAN BE.”