Suzuki Is Restoring Some Of Two-Times Motorcycle World Champion Barry Sheene’s Most Iconic Racing Bikes
Motorbike racing legend Barry Sheene may have passed away way to soon─he was just 52─but his legacy lives on in his impressive achievements during his stellar motorcycle racing career and events like the Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy, which took place this past weekend at the Goodwood Revival. Having scored the majority of his wins on Suzuki bikes, including his back-to-back 500cc world titles in 1976 and ’77, the marque has a vested interest in preserving Sheene’s memory and his numerous historically significant racing bikes.
That is why Suzuki GB has just announced that three bikes have been shipped over from Sheene’s family home in Australia to take part in the Motorcycle Live event at the Birmingham NEC, which takes place between 16-24 November this year.
Suzuki GB aftersales marketing coordinator, Tim Davies, said, “This is another special moment for us. These bikes haven’t been back in the UK since Barry and his family emigrated to Australia, so it’s quite something to get them out of the crates and see them here again. But it’s going to be even more of a special occasion when they live again, thanks to the restoration process which will be carried out by former ‘70s and ‘80s Grand Prix technician Nigel Everett and former mechanic for Barry Sheene, Martyn Ogborne. And it’s a great opportunity for fans to again see, hear, and smell them as they would have existed at the time. We can’t wait.”
The two bikes which will be restored by Sheene’s former mechanic are a DAF Trucks-sponsored 1984 XR45 TG 500 and a unique 1978 652cc big bore XR23A RG500. The XR45 is noteworthy for being his very last Grand Prix bike on which he scored his last GP podium, finishing third at Kyalami. He raced the earlier XR23A in both the Trans Atlantic series and the 1979 F1 Championship, achieving great success on the overpowered machine.
They will both be displayed alongside the two ’76 and ’77 championship-winning XR14s. These bikes which were restored in 2017 through Suzuki’s Vintage Parts Program which was established in 2013 to supply a vast catalog of parts to enthusiasts to help keep their older Suzukis on the roads. Thanks to Suzuki’s efforts, two more of Sheene’s classic bikes will be race-ready once again.
Images courtesy of Suzuki