500 ways to go


Speak­ing with Jan De Vos, the man be­hind the Red­fox Grinta Du­cati ma­chine which you may have no­ticed on the cover of this issue of Clas­sic Racer, some­thing be­came very ap­par­ent. Jan, as with a lot of people I’ve met in a blos­som­ing area of the clas­sic scene, is firmly set in us­ing be­spoke bits of mod­ern tech­nol­ogy to make his mod­ern (ish) clas­sic Du­cati go fast. Jan does this to en­sure that the bike can be as fast and as re­li­able as it can be. And this has had me think­ing.what’s to stop any of us from tak­ing this ethos and bring­ing back bikes that were once thought too costly/too dif­fi­cult to make run again in a com­pet­i­tive se­ries? There’s a lot of ef­fort and money ploughed into lesser classes of mod­ern rac­ing. And for the life of me, I can’t see why.yes, you can go and spend £20,000 on a kit­ted 600 and take part in a na­tional class on a bi-weekly ba­sis – but isn’t that a bit drab? For the same money as a mod­ern 600, you could go and build AYZR500 replica.all done, dusted and on track for £20,000. Don’t get me wrong, I fully ap­pre­ci­ate that £20,000 isn’t a small amount of money. I cer­tainly don’t have it to spend on a mo­tor­cy­cle and I’m sure a lot of you are in the same po­si­tion – but if we’re talk­ing about the equiv­a­lent sums you can spend else­where then AYZR (or NSR or RGV) replica isn’t that dif­fer­ent. Think about it. In­stead of ‘an­other’ grid of anony­mous Ja­panese mo­tor­cy­cles be­ing put around a crisp UK cir­cuit by rid­ers who are there for the love of com­pe­ti­tion and the so­cial event that sur­rounds it, we could have 20 500 two-strokes filling the air with blue smoke. With the growth of En­durance le­gends and the pop­ulist swing to­wards bikes of the 1980s and 1990s, it feels very much like such a se­ries would be bang on to a win­ner. We could even ap­proach his­tor­i­cally ac­cu­rate, but not-mod­ern-pc, com­pa­nies for spon­sor­ship. Or would that be a bit too cheeky? Do Marl­boro fags do vapes these days? Could we have vape-spon­soredyama­has still in the red and white? Even if the bikes were plain white, the sight, sound and smell of massed 500s itch­ing to race in the hands of fast rid­ers who don’t take them­selves too se­ri­ously would be amaz­ingly wel­come. What do you think? Tony

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