Classic Racer

Super salon privé

- Words: Photograph­s:

Salon Privé is held each year at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshir­e and is the most exclusive and ritziest of the several UK concours events for classic and collector cars.

But despite the many millions of pounds worth of automotive excellence parked around the South Lawns of the Palace, the organisers commendabl­y still make sure to include a number of classes for motorcycle­s.

Amongst them this year was one for racing machines, with the ubiquitous Steve Parrish fittingly being one of the blazer and Panama hat-clad judges. Their collective vote for Best in Class went to the superbly restored 1951 Moto Guzzi 500cc Bicilindri­ca V-twin from the Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum at New Milton in Hampshire with Sammy himself on hand as chaperone.

The runner-up was the 1973 Yamaha TZ250A of Andy Sawford, which was restored and entered by Sawford Motorcycle­s of St Neots in Cambridges­hire. This particular bike was one of the very first liquid-cooled Yamaha racers to arrive in the UK and, almost 50 years later, it is now absolutely pristine and correct to the last piece of safety wiring.

Coincident­ally, Rod Gould, former world champion (1970) and Yamaha team rider from 1970 through 1972, was at Salon Privé and was able to share some memories with Andy. At Assen in 1972, Rod and Jarno Saarinen had been the first two riders to race the liquid-cooled version of the Yamaha twin with Rod beating Jarno to the Dutch TT win on the bike's debut.

Bruce Cox Roger Cooper

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