GP Legends Corser, Gardner and Spencer set for Silverstone 500cc battle

Michael Mann - Web Editor, Bike Social
By Michael Mann
MannOnABike Web editor of Bike Social. Been riding bikes since he was four-years-old. Fast and smooth road rider, just about hangs on in a track day quick group.
World GP Legends. Smell the 2-stroke

With 20 world championships between them, the World GP Bike Legends grid is made up of some of the finest motorcycling talent from the last 60 years and they are set to make their UK debut.

Household names such Wayne Gardner, Troy Corser, Freddie Spencer and Phil Read will all be racing 500cc two-stroke race machines at the Silverstone Classic at the end of this month (29-31 July).

Organisers Nick Wigley (the brains behind the Silverstone Classic) and Gardner began encouraging the superstars of yesteryear out of racing retirement and back onto the rip-roaring 80s monsters at the back end of 2014. Having launched the concept at the Regent Street Motor Show, the inaugural race weekend took place at Jerez last June. Race wins for Gardner (Cagiva V589), Spencer (Yamaha TZR500) and Kevin Schwantz (Suzuki RGV500) each took a race win on that occasion setting the bar high for top class, old-school entertainment.

The Silverstone Classic event sees the full and fast Grand Prix circuit being used for 20 races, mainly cars as historic Formula One, Sports Cars and Touring Cars act as a pre-curser for the two-wheeled fans. Music, auctions, demonstrations and displays make up the remainder of the weekends entertainment.

Kevin Schwantz leads the way at Jerez

The riders entered for the World GP Bike Legends showcase at the Silverstone Classic are: 

Troy Corser (AUS) 1981 Kawasaki KR500

Competed in seven 500cc GPs in 1997 also 377 Superbike World Championship starts from 1992 to 2011 with 33 wins, 130 podiums and 43 pole positions. Superbike World Champion in 1996 and 2005.

Simon Crafar (NZL) 1989 Cagiva V589

Competed in 32 250cc/500cc GPs from 1993-1999 winning the British 500cc GP at Donington in 1998.

Didier de Radigues (BEL) 1998 Suzuki RGV500 XR88

Competed in 82 500cc GPs between 1983-1991 with two podium finishes. Four wins in 250cc & 350cc GPs with 12 pole positions.

Wayne Gardner (AUS) 1999 Suzuki RGV500 XR89

500cc World Champion in 1987, runner up in 1986 & 1988. Scored 18 500cc GP wins with 51 podiums, 19 pole positions and 19 fastest laps.

Phil Read (UK) 1976 Suzuki RG500 Mk1

500cc World Champion in 1973 & 1974 with 10 500cc GP wins from 1973-1975. 250cc World Champion in 1964, 1965, 1968 & 1971. 125cc World Champion in 1968. Scored 52 GP wins.

Jim Redman (UK) 1980 Suzuki RG500

250cc and 350cc double World Champion in 1962 & 1963. 350cc World Champion in 1964 & 1965. Scored 45 GP wins, 98 podiums and 35 fastest laps.

Christian Sarron (FRA) 1995 Yamaha YZR500

Competed in 148 250cc/350cc/500cc GPs from 1976-1990 scoring seven wins, 37 podium and 11 pole positions. Won the 250cc World Championship in 1984.

Niggi Schmassmann (SUI) 1996 Yamaha YZR500

Competed in 57 500cc GPs from 1988-1996. Four-time German 500cc Champion.

Freddie Spencer (USA) 1984 Honda NS500

500cc World Champion in 1983 and 500cc/250cc double World Champion in 1985. Scored 27 GP wins, 39 podiums, 33 pole positions and 24 fastest laps.

Gardner said, “It’s an absolute honour for us to be invited to such an unbelievably successful event,” enthused the Australian. “The two previous events we have been part of in Spain and Germany proved huge successes with the riders and fans, and I have absolutely no doubt that Silverstone will be every bit as special. It’s a daunting circuit that has some fantastic memories for many of us who were lucky enough to race in the epic 500cc era.

“I’m sure those lucky enough to have experienced the racing back then will be really excited now to have the chance to relive those glory days. For others who were perhaps too young back in the eighties and nineties, this will be a wonderful opportunity for them to understand just why so many people are still raving about these phenomenal two-strokes.

All tickets for the Silverstone Classic must be purchased in advance. Adult admission starts at £42, with £6 admission for accompanied children aged between six and 16 years old. A wide range of weekend, camping, VIP hospitality and Family Tickets are also available. Adding to the festival’s immense appeal, tickets include free entrance to both racing paddocks and pit complexes, trackside grandstands, the World GP Bike Legend autograph sessions plus the live music concerts on Friday and Saturday evenings. Full details can be found on the official www.silverstoneclassic.com website.  

The inaugural race took place in Jerez, June 2015
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