In a large tome just ripe for this time of year, CR contributor Philip Wain has launched his GP book. Here’s a taste of what’s inside.
In his new book: MOTO GP a photographic celebration, Phil Wain looks at what makes the sport we love tick at the highest level. From rivalries that define a generation, bike factories to circuits, it’s an important pictorial collection from across the years.
With a nod to some of the great tracks, here’s Phil’s take on five of the best (at certain times). Fill up on your pub facts with this one...
One of the founder members of the Grand Prix World Championship, Great Britain is one of only three countries to have hosted a Grand Prix every year since 1949, (the other two countries being the Netherlands and Italy)
with the first 28 years seeing the Mountain Course on the Isle of Man as the venue. At 60.8km (37¾ miles) long, the Mountain Course remains, arguably, the most famous race circuit in the world and is the longestever circuit used in Grand Prix history. With racing having first taken place in 1907, the island in the middle of the Irish Sea has witnessed all the greats of racing including Geoff Duke, John Surtees, Mike Hailwood and Giacomo Agostini. The 1957 500cc race, which saw Bob Mcintyre win, and set the first-ever 100mph (160.9kph) lap, remains the longest-ever race in GP racing, at a staggering 485.8km (301.84 miles). However, safety concerns led to the event being boycotted by the leading riders in the early 1970s, with the Isle of Man last hosting a Grand Prix in 1976. For 1977, the British GP moved to the mainland and Silverstone, with American Pat Hennen taking the victory. A former site of a Second World War RAF bomber station, Silverstone had been running a top-flight international meeting for a number of years and it was one of the fastest on the calendar, with Kenny Roberts’ lap record in 1983 close to an average of 193kph (120mph). The racing was of the highest order with the 250cc and 350cc GP races often seeing up to 10 riders disputing the win. For 1987, the GP moved to a new home at Donington Park, which had been created as a racing circuit for both cars and motorbikes during the prewar period. Having fallen into disrepair, it reopened in 1977 and held its first GP 10 years later having been increased in length to 4km (2.5 miles), with the sweeping Craner Curves one of the most famous sections of track in racing. Bordering East Midlands Airport, the venue had a reputation for a slippery surface, apparently due to fuel seeping from the overhead aircraft, but it hosted the GP until 2010, when its failure to keep up with modern standards saw the race return to Silverstone.
Valentino Rossi and Jeremy Mcwilliams battle it out at Donington 2002