Renowned Kiwi road-racer Vince Sharpe is heading to Belgium later this month to race in the Bikers’ Classic event at Spa Francorchamps.
And it is likely that this New Zealand hero will rate highly among the many former champions expected at the event.
“My team, Vince and Hyde Racing, finished runner-up in the Period 5 Post Classic class at the Barry Sheene Festival of Speed event at Sydney Motorsport Park in March,” said the 61-year-old as he packs his bags in preparation to leave for Europe on June 28.
A multi-time race winner in the 1980s and a former lap record holder at several tracks on both sides of the Tasman, including Amaroo, Sharpe admitted that he’d come close to winning national titles in the past, but never quite managed it, and this trip was a chance for him to relive his glory days.
“I have won GP, TT and important races such as major production and endurance club championships, but never a national championship. One of the major highlights was the development and test riding of the Pirelli motorcycle radial tyre. I have always had a technical interest so that was a great satisfaction to me.”
But his focus now goes on the trip of a lifetime to one of Europe’s greatest circuits.
“We have a great bike based on the American Honda Motor Superbikes 1982 that Freddie Spencer and Mike Baldwin rode and it’s powerful and reliable. We are keen to try more international racing so looking for Europe this time.
“I believe it’s going to be a fun trip. I have just had a return email from Alan Windsor and Ron Chandler who have both raced here with the classics (Ron on his works Trident) a few years ago. I did the spannering for Ron at the Hampton Downs meeting, but he had a big crash there. However, the great thing about this Post Classic/Classic racing, is the friendships along the way and the excitement of period racing and presentation of these racing motorcycles.
“Coincidentally, both these guys will be riding at the Spa circuit so we will catch up there. The guys get older, maybe friendlier, the eye vision may need assistance of some new glasses as well, but when the flag drops it’s all pretty serious.
“This bike I’ll be riding has become an expensive item now, so much of the original RSC/AHM factory race parts included and we have secured a lot of the factory race notes as well so have become experts with these Honda bikes.
“I think these production-based motorcycles are special as the AMA Superbike racing led to the development of the World Superbike Championships and the good story with this bike and its level of performance is that, between Brent Hyde (Vince & Hyde Racing) and myself, we have designed improved parts to keep these engines reliable.
“This engine is putting out over 170 rear wheel HP and consider the old air-cooled type motor. Fortunately I have sponsorship of Maxima Racing Oils and Metzeler tyres so we have the prime support at hand.
“The story is that little old NZ has developed some premium upmarket parts to support most Australian Honda-engined race bikes and others from the USA, UK and Europe who now use these parts and it’s because of this contact base which has given us the opportunity to head to Belgium for the famous Spa Francorchamp Bikers’ Classic event.”
Photo courtesy SDPics
© Words by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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