If you want a wonderful view of over three decades of bike racing history, all brought together in one pitlane, the 2015 Bikers' Classics at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit is the place to be.
More than 70 historic Grand Prix bikes, racing from 125 to 500cc, will be on display on the 4th and 5th of July – but fortunately it's not just a silent spectacle. They will also make themselves heard.
Two-wheeled history will be portrayed once again at Spa-Francorchamps. Maybe there's a few wrinkles here and there, but its voice hasn't been silenced. From Italy, the Reparto Corse MV Agusta travels to Belgium with an attractive selection of bikes, such as a 125 single-cylinder, which will be ridden by former factory mechanic Lucio Castelli, four wonderful 500cc triples, on which Giacomo Agostini won seven successive world titles from 1966 on, and a robust 500/4 – John Surtees won four championships on a similar bike in the fifties.
STARS OF THE SHOW
There's more to come from Italy, as the Moto Guzzi Corsa brings along a few priceless pearls. The 350cc Bialbero singles, dating from the fifties, are all unique factory machines and they will attract a lot of fan attention. Then there's the technically interesting but rather unsuccessful 500 GP4 and two V8 GPs, undoubtedly on course to become the stars of the show. The V8, dubbed by some as 'the ultimate Guzzi racer', caused a shock wave in the paddock in 1956. It is the only V8 machine ever to race GPs and in 1957 it produced almost 80 bhp/14,000 rpm – almost 10 bhp more than the competition at the time! That year, the bike was clocked at a dazzling speed of 178/mph (284 km/h) at Spa-Francorchamps. The V8 alone is worth a visit to the Bikers' Classics.
The Italian character of the Parades on Saturday and Sunday will be expressed even more by a great works Gilera 500/4, an original Bianchi 500 factory-twin, a few beautiful Aermacchis and some phenomenal Mondial 125 racers from the fifties. These bikes should not be forgotten either, as Mondial claimed the very first two 125cc world championships in road racing history with its fourstroke singles. Benelli and Eugenio Lazzarini deserve a special mention as well. The four-time World Champion will ride a 250/4; Kel Carruthers was crowned the last 250 four-stroke 250 World Champion on such a machine in 1969. Owner and collector Luciano Battisti will make a Benelli 500/5 roar at Spa.
Proof that fantastic bikes were not just made in Italy, can once again be found at the Bikers' Classics. The now 76-year-old Heinz Rosner spearheads a large 'German' delegation. The former MZ works rider brings a MZ-RE to Belgium and a number of NSU Sportmaxes can be seen on track as well. AJS 7R Boy Racers, Matchless G50s and Norton Manxes join the party too, as will some Czech wonders, sure to be eye catchers themselves. The Jawa 673 is a V4 two-stroke that managed to worry the MV Agusta riders more often than they liked from 1967 to 1970. The fragile technical miracle should be watched carefully – and should be listened to as well. Also from former Czechoslovakia are a Jawa 500 DOHC and a CZ 500/4. Another exotic masterpiece will be presented by Juan Bulto. He brings along an original Bultaco 350 works bike from Spain.
The above is just a small selection of racers that can be seen and heard at the 2015 Bikers' Classics. And for those worrying about the lack of Japanese machinery: don't worry, of course there will be Hondas, Yamahas, Suzukis and Kawasakis at Spa. Because, as always, there's something for everyone at the Bikers' Classics!