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Phil Read - Prince of Speed

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#1 Rodaknee

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Posted 06 October 2022 - 22:52

Phil has passed away at the age of 83.


Here's the MCN obituary, warts and all.






#2 tonyed

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Posted 07 October 2022 - 02:46

I was talking to him at Donington in July on YHRC stand, he looked frail then.

Definitely, in my opinion, the real GOAT.


#3 Myhinpaa

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Posted 07 October 2022 - 19:48

Obituary by Mat Oxley: https://www.motorspo...8-2022-obituary

#4 LittleChris

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Posted 07 October 2022 - 21:36

RIP. Not sure he really recovered from the loss of Wendy ( Amey / Markey) due to COVID.


There's a very touching Brookland Members interview where she interviews him a few years ago


Phil Read MBE - YouTube

#5 Myhinpaa

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Posted 07 October 2022 - 21:54

Phil and Wendy https://imagizer.ima.../923/2uJbNK.jpg



#6 brands77

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Posted 10 October 2022 - 11:12

Sad to hear of the passing of Phil Read this week, although from some of the comments on the forum it was perhaps not unexpected.

I only saw him race at the end of his career, the season he ran his own Life racing team in 1976. But in comparison to some of his contemporaries such as Hailwood, Ago and Ivy his achievements seem to be underrated.

From the news reports he was a tough opponent and an equally, if not more, tough team mate. It seems he wasn't an easy bedfellow with Bill Ivy or Ago, but I have never heard anyone say anything about his relationship other teammates, he was with, such as Mike/Michelle Duff, Mick Grant and Peter Williams at Norton. Was he just a fierce competitor with team mates when they were both going for titles? Was he actually a difficult team mate or did he just operate like Rossi, Foggy, Kocinski or Marquez did/do and make a team his own?

Does anyone know the background behind his relationship with Ivy, was there an actual agreement for Ivy to win the 250cc title and him the 125cc in 1968 which he renaged upon? Was there needle between them beforehand? I read in the recent comments that  from John Cooper (I think) that Ivy made comments about him at the TT before, early in their team mate relationship.

Anyway, one thing you can say is that he pretty much beat the best at the time on equal terms as a team mate and that is pretty much all you can do.

Edited by brands77, 10 October 2022 - 11:13.

#7 tonyed

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Posted 10 October 2022 - 14:23

To a greater or lesser extent what went on between Read and Ivy is probably a matter of both conjecture and belief.

Whether you have a team mate or not, motorcycle racing (unless it is a team event, speedway pairs for instance) it is NOT a team event. It is two individuals racing within a team structure as individuals.

What Read said or did, what Ivy said or did no one will ever definitely know.

No one is perfect and things are said and actions taken on all sides which may appear later as unseemly and regrettable.

By this time it is all too late unless like so many 'celebs' and 'names' today you live to sue, life by writ.


What has to be remembered is the times in which Messrs. Read and Ivy raced in especially in the beginning.

There was no British talent Cup, Superteens or other mollycoddle series for up and coming riders. You were pitched in headlong against the best pretty much from the start and it was certainly hard graft with a pretty dog eat dog attitude. There was a great deal of off track camaraderie especially at 'continental circus level' but the way to the top was usually pretty solitary with little quarter given out on track. A time where the blood wagon carting the unfortunate off was in danger of colliding with the throng of riders making their way to his team to see if the ride was now available. None of todays mawkish attitudes to what is part (an unfortunate part admittedly) of what is a hard sport.


Read and Ivy made it to the top through their own talent and ambition and if someone's fingers got a little trampled on then perhaps they wouldn't leave their hand there in the future.


Against the the tales Bills 'bravado' and Phils 'pecuniary tendencies' everything is open to exaggeration and innuendo, both achieved what we all took to the track to achieve and what the bulk of us failed to achieve.    


I do not think it is of any matter what was said, might have been said, was never said both were great riders who reached the azimuth of their chosen sport.

Lets just remember them for their achievements and the great pleasure they gave us all.   :wave:

Edited by tonyed, 11 October 2022 - 04:33.

#8 tonyed

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Posted 11 October 2022 - 09:28


At the start of the 125 race the narrator comments that they (the Yamahas) 'are trailing blue smoke which is exclusive to Yamaha with autolube, a new revolutionary mechanism'  :smoking:


Not sure what the blue smoke is from the other two strokes without autolube, just petroil mixture.  :confused:

I think the film makers borrowed the narrator from TIM the speaking clock.  :drunk:

#9 Robin127

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Posted 13 October 2022 - 11:50

Brilliant rider, should be be included whenever a list of "The Greats" is compiled, I don't think he gets anywhere the credit he should, however he was slightly flawed as a person.

Edited by Robin127, 13 October 2022 - 11:50.

#10 brands77

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Posted 13 October 2022 - 12:32

I think if Phl had been operating in a different time, such as now, we wouldn't be even noticing of any flaws in Phil Read. So what if he built teams around him, so did Rossi and Marquez. To go into Ago's team, an Italian in an Italian team, when Ago was at the peak of his success and beat him is something else. It would be like someone going into Repsol Honda - 2 years or so go and handing Marquez a beating. Don't forget he won a 250cc title as a privateer after a couple of years away from the GPs as well.

Compared to riders walking out of contracts - like Vinales - deliberately blowing up bikes - like Vinales - punting off team mates when they are going for the title - like Pedrosa - or allegedly blocking rivals from another nation so that your own countryman can win the title - Marquez - and some of the other antics the current riders get up - Phil ignoring team orders to win a title seems pretty small fry and is probably something you would expect someone to do as a matter of course in this day and age - lets see how Bastianini treats Bagnaia for the rest of the season.

Edited by brands77, 13 October 2022 - 12:34.

#11 StanN

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Posted 13 October 2022 - 19:47

I read in a report somewhere that Phil suffered from a condition that prevented him from appreciating how some of the comments he made to other riders were hurtful. Call it a lack of a social filter, but I believe there is a medical term for this.


This dated back to the beginning of his racing career in the late 50s and was a reason why he was not popular with other racers at the time, long before the bust-up with Bill Ivy.


Not that that should take away from his racing record, which speaks for itself.