Author: Stuart Barker Posted: 25 Aug 2015
The original and best one-make race series has been revived as a special support race at this year's British Grand Prix. The Bennetts Yamaha Pro-Am Challenge will see 24 riders - many of them the original stars of the 1980s series - lining up to bash fairings and tangle elbows on identical Yamaha RD250LCs at Silverstone on August 30. This will be the first Pro-Am race in 31 years and over the next three weeks we'll be profiling every rider on the grid to find out what they achieved in their racing careers, what they've gone on to do since, and why they accepted the challenge to dust down their leathers and race in the wildest race series ever held just one last time.
Rider: Steve Chambers
Steve Chambers was one of the best-known Pro-Am riders, having competed in the series for three seasons between 1982 and 1984. He won plenty of races but just missed out on the championship after breaking his ankle and having to sit out the final race of 1982. He did, however, manage to win the European Pro-Am title in the same year.
'The machines were all new and very similar in performance' Chambers says. 'That made the racing extremely close and it was very much down to the rider - although luck always played a part. That last round at Oulton Park in '82 was without doubt the best race I’ve ever seen. Although I was disappointed not to be riding, it was unbelievably close and amazing to watch, with Ray Swann eventually winning the race and the championship.
'The Pro-Am was a real stepping stone for me and it introduced me to my long-time sponsor, supporter, and friend, Charlie Leese. Leese’s Haulage supported me throughout the rest of my road race career.'
Chambers raced throughout the 1980s and won many races including a 250cc European Championship round. He was also a podium finisher in the World Endurance Championship, won the Superstock class at the Macau Grand Prix, and was British 1300cc ACU/MCA star Champion in 1989. He retired in 1990.
A toolmaker by trade, Chambers has worked in the gas and oil industry for the last 29 years and has travelled extensively. He lived in Japan from 2001 to 2005 but is now back in the UK where he's a senior product training lecturer for Siemens Industrial Turbo Machinery Ltd at the university of Lincoln.
'I still ride road bikes' he says. 'I've currently got a Suzuki GSX-R1100 and a Honda Pan European and a there's a few BSA Bantams littering the garage too. I still ride my Yamaha FS1E for fun too!'