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The Roger Aldridge memorial thread: Is there an all-time 'greatest rider'?


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#151 pmbboy

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 08:32

Originally posted by subh


With this thought, should we be looking at riders to excel across disciplines such as motocross, trials, ice racing, grass track, drag racing, etc? I don’t know too much about those areas, and equally I don’t know of anyone famous for being that versatile. The thread title clearly doesn’t restrict us to road/circuit racing...


I think the original idea of this thread was a debate on who is the greatest road racing motorcyclists, if a rider is truly great in other forms of motorcyle racing as well as road racing then he needs to be included in the debate.

cheers
peter

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#152 picblanc

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 08:51

Originally posted by subh


Graham,

Yes, I know about Kenny’s earlier appearances in Europe. Are you saying all his pre-1978 visits were on Goodyear rubber?


Morning Dan, Yes infact he was on Goodyear rubber till 1981 Dunlops from 1982.
To brighten up this threads pages one of Kenny on the TZ750 in 1977. On Goodyears!
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Picture copyright Graham Etheridge,racebikepics.

#153 Senor

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 10:19

Originally posted by ex Rhodie racer


Senor. If you would like to test that statement, I suggest the next time you visit Ireland you walk into any pub in Belfast and say, "Joey Dunlop shouldn´t even be considered in a debate of who the greatest rider was".
I am willing to bet the family farm (if we had one :lol: ) that before you reach your bar stool there will be a large crowd of locals around you preparing to teach you the error of your ways. :rotfl:

Yes Rhodie, I'm sure you’re right. My apologies if I’ve created a bit of a stir with my views and I must admit they are a little forthright but I hope that this is what these threads are all about and I am only too happy that you and others disagree. I also take no offence at your pub comments and have enjoyed it as the joke that I’m sure you intended it to be. :lol:

As punishment however, I'll practice saying, "Yer Maun" and will avoid Ireland for a while. :rotfl:

I hope that I’ve also made it perfectly clear that I do believe that prior to the mid 70’s the TT races were the very best in World Championship racing. After that time however, well, I think I’ve made my point.

I just hope I’m either forgiven or forgotten enough by June to be able to join in the 100 year celebration.;)

#154 subh

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 12:02

Great Roberts photo! Is that from one of the TransAtlantic Trophy races? We should talk about having a gallery for those events.

#155 pmbboy

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 13:41

Not many names have been put forward on pre war riders, now they were a brave bunch of riders.
My personal choice of possible greatest rider would be,
Jimmy Guthrie
Stanley Woods
and
Jimmy Simpson my personal favourite, who always fired my imgination with his flat out riding which gave him the first 70 and 80 mph laps in the TT.
I would say that these riders would not make the top of the list of greats but certainly would make a top fifteen list.

Peter

#156 philippe7

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 17:42

[QUOTE]Originally posted by ex Rhodie racer
Philippe, do you remember the Imatra track in Finnland? Or the old Spa track in Belgium, or the Nurburgring in Germany? I am interested to know why these tracks, in your opinion, don´t qualify as road circuits? Roberts raced on all three but never won on any of them.

Well, in french we would call those "natural" circuits , as opposed to "artificial" circuits....a subtle difference to the "pure" road circuits , NW200 style....but I get your point . Although the reason why he didn't win there could be discussed for ages .....at the 1979 Nurburgring for instance, he just did what he had to do to get the title, finish one place ahead of Sheene....which he duly did, even taking the subtle ( vicious ?) pleasure of waiting for Barry to almost catch up with him before crossing the finish line, and staring at him as he did so .

Also, if I my, I would like to remind you Roberts had the backing of the mighty Yamaha factory when he came to Europe in 1978, and the accumulated knowledge of a former world champion to draw on. Forgive me, but you make it sound like he was a struggling privateer, and not the factory backed works rider he actually was.

He had factory bikes ( at least the 500 and 750 ) but so did others ( Cecotto, Katayama, Sarron.....) and he ran his outfit pretty much on his own - admittedly with the valuable help of Kel Carruthers . What is true is that from 1979 onwards, Roberts usually got the newest Yamaha's a little ahead of his team mates , although that was not always the immediate advantage - like the first V-4 in 1982. But above that I'm convinced the factory Suzukis still were a better package altogether , from 78 all through to 1982. But there are some people much more technically qualified than me on this forum to discuss the point.

I think Roberts was a fine racer and he has had a profound influence on the direction motorcycle racing has taken in the sense that together with Barry Sheene he created a far more professional image for the sport

I couldn't agree more . Indeed , to know if he was slightly, strongly or not at all overrated is purely a matter of personal opinion, in my case based only on subjective facts.....after all, I never raced against him, so who am I to talk ;)

#157 picblanc

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 17:45

Originally posted by subh
Great Roberts photo! Is that from one of the TransAtlantic Trophy races? We should talk about having a gallery for those events.


It is Dan, now thats a good idea. :D

#158 rdrcr

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 18:01

Originally posted by pmbboy


I think the original idea of this thread was a debate on who is the greatest road racing motorcyclists, if a rider is truly great in other forms of motorcycle racing as well as road racing then he needs to be included in the debate.

cheers
peter


With deference to bigrog, I read the intention a bit differently:

Originally posted by bigrog


Chaps

For those of you obsessed with the roads, I would only point out that you really can't put forward an argument like, "he wasn't a good road racer" when he didn't try and be a road racer (I'm assuming that by 'road racer' you mean the TT, NW200 etc.). As he didn't compete, there's no way of knowing if he would have been good or bad at it. KR was a great rider but he wouldn't be my choice either but you have to say that a man who cold win at short track, dirt track and road racing would probably have been pretty handy on the Island, I would suggest.


Excluding the "all-rounds" and even the big name MXr's from today, i.e. Jeff Ward, multiple Championship winner, who came back to ride successfully in the modern, U.S. version of the TT (X-Games) at 45 years old. Those not considering others, such as Jeremy McGrath, Travis Pastrana, Ricky Carmichael are missing the point IMO. What about the guys who ride the Dakar??? In a car or truck is insane enough, so doing out in the open on a bike is well worth noting here.

Press on -

#159 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 18:08

Originally posted by philippe7
....after all, I never raced against him, so who am I to talk ;) [/B]


That makes two of us then. I would have been happy with the ability he possessed in his little finger. Us mere mortals can only imagine how it must have been to be able to control a machine like any of the men discussed on here.

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#160 bigrog

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 21:33

Originally posted by picblanc


Not really Dan, as Kenny had been racing in Europe since early 1974 first at the Imola 200 "big" money race then next at Brands where I saw him for the first time, he would of won the Brands Trans Trophy leg 1 at Brands if his bike hadn't started to leak water, he finished 2nd then 2nd again in 2nd leg, but he rode often in the then European Internationals that went on at the time from 1974 till 1978,, he did Daytona also and many of the "road" as opposed to dirt tracks right up till his full time assault on the 1978 500 world title.
Not a Kenny fan but have big respect for him.


I can't confess to being a great Kenny Roberts fan either but, like Graham, I have huge respect for him. I do feel that some of the judgements metred out on Kenny have been a bit harsh particularly the because he never won on a road circuit.

I don't agree that he didn't go well on road circuits. Let's take Nurburgring as an example which he rode in 1978 and 1980 and a circuit we can realistically compare to a "mini IOM".

1978: He qualified 2nd and finished 3rd (first time there). (On a more purpose built circuit, he only finished 7th in Sweden).
1980: He qualified 2nd and finished 4th. (though I can't call Assen a purpose built circuit, it is a circuit he did OK at and yet he only qualified 5th and didn't finish at the Dutch).

My point is only that he was never dominant in any year and his results varied at purpose built tracks and the 'road' circuits. I don't think it's possible to draw any conclusion from it. For instance, the rider who won at the Nurburgring in 1978 was actually Virginio Ferrari and I haven't seen his name come up yet in this thread quite rightly.

#161 bigrog

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 21:46

Originally posted by rdrcr


With deference to bigrog, I read the intention a bit differently:



Excluding the "all-rounds" and even the big name MXr's from today, i.e. Jeff Ward, multiple Championship winner, who came back to ride successfully in the modern, U.S. version of the TT (X-Games) at 45 years old. Those not considering others, such as Jeremy McGrath, Travis Pastrana, Ricky Carmichael are missing the point IMO. What about the guys who ride the Dakar??? In a car or truck is insane enough, so doing out in the open on a bike is well worth noting here.

Press on -


This thread has become far more varied than I ever intended as my original intention was to compare post war riders in an effort to promote debate from fellow TNF'r's on who is the greatest road race. It has been fascinating since then as it's gone off in all sorts of directions that I never intended. Personally, I think it's hard enough to compare riders of different eras objectively without rolling in moto-x'ers or those Dakar heroes. But who am I to judge. I can remember being quite dismissive of Moto X riders until in the mid 70's Suzuki gave Roger DeCoster a ride on Barry Sheene's F750 and he was almost immediately on the pace. That made me sit up and take Moto-Xers more seriously. The three current riders you mention are certainly great riders and I think McGrath was fantastic bujt I come back tosaying it's impossible to compare.

#162 bigrog

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 21:50

Originally posted by subh
Is it not the case that Kenny Roberts arrived for the GPs in 1978 as the only rider on Goodyear tyres, who had next to no experience in that kind of racing? That must have been another disadvantage for him.

Actually and embarrassingly, the Goodyears were probably superior to the Dunlops and Michelins of the time. Ironically, the wets especially were fantastic.

#163 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 22:24

Bidrog. Do you know what would be another great (and slightly less contraversial) thread?
Wouldn´t it be great to hear which race the guys on here think was the best in their opinion.
If you think this would envoke a lot of great memories, please start the tread, as I feel I am still a little "new" on here to do so. :)

#164 picblanc

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 22:34

Originally posted by ex Rhodie racer
Bidrog. Do you know what would be another great (and slightly less contraversial) thread?
Wouldn´t it be great to hear which race the guys on here think was the best in their opinion.
If you think this would envoke a lot of great memories, please start the tread, as I feel I am still a little "new" on here to do so. :)


Yes I thought that would be good, what is the best race you have personally seen (not on the telly!!)
and for the racers what was their best race, and briefish descriptions on them.
Good idea Rhodie :up:
You do it its your idea :)

#165 bigrog

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 22:35

Originally posted by ex Rhodie racer
Bidrog. Do you know what would be another great (and slightly less contraversial) thread?
Wouldn´t it be great to hear which race the guys on here think was the best in their opinion.
If you think this would envoke a lot of great memories, please start the tread, as I feel I am still a little "new" on here to do so. :)


A great idea. I'll put that thread on in a moment.

Just a quick aside but please don't take these differences of opinion to heart. My family have always been a bit passionate about expressing opinions on all manner of two anf four wheeled sport and there are quite a few more on this forum who like to express their opinions as strongly. I for one, delight in those differences as it always makes me think about it. The one downside with this method of communication as opposed to having a 'dop'down at the Club is that you can't get a lot of expression into the written word. I for one have never taken umbrage at vastly different opinions although obviously one of our American friends did.

#166 bigrog

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 22:38

Originally posted by picblanc


Yes I thought that would be good, what is the best race you have personally seen (not on the telly!!)
and for the racers what was their best race, and briefish descriptions on them.
Good idea Rhodie :up:
You do it its your idea :)


Just read this and I think Graham's right. It's your idea and a very good one. You start it off ex Rhodie racer. I look forward to posting on 'the greatest motorcycle race, thread!

#167 rdrcr

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 22:56

Originally posted by bigrog

".... I think it's hard enough to compare riders of different eras objectively without rolling in moto-x'ers or those Dakar heroes. But who am I to judge.

Yeah, I could get in that line too... You want to talk just road racing? OK. Should we include the real roads in the equation? If so, then once again are we not talking specialists?

IMO, those that ride the Island, (and other, similar events) are head and shoulders above all if not the top 5 of the circuit guys in terms of skill at the limit - 100% of the time - and the hair to go well beyond the 'point of reason' of risk. Having watched closely what's involved with racing the Isle of Man, I have the highest appreciation of the riders skill and daring.

I don't know enough MC history to say, but post-war, were the riders more prone to crossover from one discipline to another? (I'd think so) If so, then compare all those guys until there was the major division towards individual disciplines and evaluate those riders independently there on out.

Which is why I had mentioned a guy like Malcolm Smith. He could ride anything, anywhere and fast too. Joey - what else can one say but - awe inspiring. Rossi? Jeez, I've never seen anyone, two wheel drift a motorcycle in traffic with such precision and deftness. They all kick-ass.

So, those would be my "3" for the moment.

#168 Henry Snee

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Posted 08 March 2007 - 07:01

Originally posted by bigrog
You start it off ex Rhodie racer. I look forward to posting on 'the greatest motorcycle race, thread!


Great idea, ex Rhodie racer. I'm also ready to post.

#169 Kerry Thackwell

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Posted 08 March 2007 - 22:40

Originally posted by andyb1963
I perhaps think in a different way to you Roger but I would offer Joey Dunlop , Giacomo Agostini and Jon Ekerold ( are privateers allowed ?)


Has to be Mike Hailwood. His comeback at the Island was special, as were his practice runs at night. A sad loss to many.

#170 GT Karl

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 17:11

Originally posted by soubriquet
Certainly looks like it, but I wasn't paying attention. The collection is mostly Honda, but they have a lot of other bikes. They aren't afraid to display their competitors products too. There are also some very obscure Japanese license built bikes, clones and Europeans.

Here's a bit more of the Suzuki.

Posted Image



It's really funny and shame on Suzuki :evil: ! There are some Suzuki works bikes missing in the (not public) Suzuki Collection, the XR11 (TR750) f.e. the Motegi Museum has one in the fund ;) !

Karl

#171 picblanc

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 20:57

Keep this near the top, was great to see dear old Rogers posts :(

As for my greatest (seen with my own eyes) Cal Rayborn Brands Hatch 1972. I can still see and hear him even now, after 37 years!!! :|

#172 picblanc

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 19:11

Great change of title Stuart, thanks for doing that, a fitting memorial to Roger. :up:

#173 pmbboy

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 16:23

Great change of title Stuart, thanks for doing that, a fitting memorial to Roger. :up:

I must say a big thank you to all for the change of title it certainly is very fitting for Roger.
This weekend will make two years since Roger left us and it is truly heratfelt to know that so many of you still remember him with great fondness.
Long may this forum live on and in so doing it will carry Roger's name with it.

Peter Aldridge



#174 picblanc

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 10:41

I must say a big thank you to all for the change of title it certainly is very fitting for Roger.
This weekend will make two years since Roger left us and it is truly heratfelt to know that so many of you still remember him with great fondness.
Long may this forum live on and in so doing it will carry Roger's name with it.

Peter Aldridge



Thinking of you all Peter. :(

#175 Classicpics

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 20:43

Here's my two pence worth (old money)


1 Bob Mac Hard fast rider on a all types machinery at all circuits. singles multis 250, 350, 500 and production. Mechanic, tuner, developer, transporter driver.

2 Mike Hailwood Would ride anything anywhere to great effect, 125, 250, 350, 500, 1,000, production, just turned up and rode to the limit.

3 John Hartle Beautifully fast stylish road racer, crashed too many times.

4 Helmuth Fath Tuner, Builder, Mechanic, fast hard charger, was always in the top few until he built his own (URS) then reached the top.

5 Phil Read Tough competitor. In the same mould as Hailwood, but had to often finance himself.

The above all raced when safety was last on the list and traveling was mainly by van with the bikes in the back, it was tough.

5 Valentino Rossi 125, 250, 500, 900, 800 smooth, safe circuit world champ, fast on anything, now just past his best, but still impressive.

6 Kevin Schwantz 110% trier and only one world championship to show for it, too many injuries.

8= Jarno Sarrinen

8= Dijiro Kato
If only... they would have all been right at the top
8= Phil Haslam

8= Fred Neville