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French Suzuki RGB500 history?

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#1 Mrchd43

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 08:54

Hi all

I came across this site whilst trying to track down the history of a bike I now own. Judging by the threads I’ve seen you’re a knowledgeable lot when it comes to Grand-prix bikes and their riders!

This is where I’d like to ask you for some assistance, I bought a 1981/82 Suzuki RGB500 as a non-runner in Paris from an ex-TZ750 racer called Hurbert Rigal.

The bike was originally bought in 1982 by the Elf team for the world GP’s to be ridden by Christian Le.liard (Don't know how he got on?), it was then sold to Eric Sabatier for the French Championships where he finished 3rd in 1984. The bike was then stored until 1990 when a rider called Didier Dalet raced it once again in the French championships and won.

Didier supplied this brief history, but I’ve been trying to track down some pictures, race results or any additional information about this bike and it’s riders at the time. Any help you guys can give me would be much appreciated as I’ve exhausted all avenues.

Cheers Mrchd43


#2 subh

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 11:51

I’m afraid all I can tell you is that Christian le Liard doesn’t appear to have recorded any results in the 1982 500cc Grands Prix. But French riders Raymond Roche and Bernard Fau (and Franck Gross, who also rode a Yamaha) appeared with Suzukis that year - I don’t know the team(s) that entered them...

#3 philippe7

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 17:04

I happen to have known ( a little ) both Didier Dalet ( he was an instructor in a street riding school and took care of training my beloved wife to her bike driving licence, which she -eventually - passed ! good man.....) and the poor late Eric Sabatier . Eric indeed purchased an ex-Christian Le Liard RGB 500 which he used for the 1983 and 1984 seasons in the french national championship. He then took over another RGB 500 belonging to Gérard Brancquart , which had been used by Didier Dalet in 1984 to win the championship, and in turn won the 1985 national championship ......Sabatier later turned to a Nicco Bakker framed 500 RGB ( a third one , or the engine of the second one in a new frame ? ) which he occasionaly used in the french "open" and also european championships in 1986,1987 and until his fatal accident in 1988 . I have posted a picture of that bike at the bottom of this post in the Motorcycle Nostalgia Thread
and you will find some other pictures in this tribute page to Eric Sabatier
but I'm not sure which year they relate to.

So your bike would likely be the first one - used by Le Liard on a few occasions in 1982 then by Sabatier in 1983 and 1984 ....the part that puzzles me is the "storage" for such a long period , and the sudden 1990 return with Dalet . There were not so many proper 500cc racers in France at the time to leave one unused for 5 years . And above that , I thought that 1990 was very late for both Didier and the 500 RG to re-appear but after checking 1990 was indeed the last season when a 500cc category championship was organized in France....so a few old machines ( and riders ! ) may have been pulled out of retirement.....and if you've had first-hand communication with Didier Dalet there is no reason to doubt what he said....still, I'll try to dig deeper in my 1990 archives later in the week to double check that.

It would help if you could post a picture of your bike in its current state, or at least tell us if any unusual names of riders or sponsors appear under some paint layers....


#4 Mrchd43

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Posted 21 August 2006 - 10:56

Hi Phillippe

Thanks for the feedback, it's great to hear you were friends with Eric, I’ve looked at his tribute on bike70.com and it’s fantastic to see Eric lived to GP Dream!!

I'm not sure if and why the bike wasn't used for so long but I do know that Didier modified the bike for the 1990 championship installing Marvic wheels, Ohlins rear shock, up-graded breaks etc. I never bought the bike as an original show piece and I’m sure it would cost at least another €5k to return it to it’s original state. I bought it to race and I must say it loves to be ridden, a 24 year old bike weighing just over 110kg putting out 125 bhp is something else!

I will try to attach a picture, as the bike was when I picked it up.

Thanks again