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


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#1 bigrog

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 14:20

Who was/is the greatest bike rider of all time.

Mike Hailwood, Valentino Rossi or have you any other contenders?

Oh, and you're not allowed to say: "You can't compare riders from different eras".

That rubbish is far too dismissive and best left to the car boys. I'm looking for a nice subjective debate with some nice biased opinions.

Don't disappoint me chaps.

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#2 andyb1963

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 15:15

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

#3 subh

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 15:16

The question here concerns how good Rossi would be as a real roads racer. It must be highly doubtful that he’ll ever do the Isle of Man TT. The best racer would surely be one who excelled on roads and on circuits. Hailwood obviously qualifies, Rossi we don’t know. But Rossi is the best circuit racer of the decade.

Joey Dunlop would be the leading contender for best road racing man of all, but doesn’t have the high level circuit pedigree of Hailwood. For me another contender has to be Steve Hislop, even if his world championship appearances were limited.

#4 renzo

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 15:27

HAILWOOD,HAILWOOD,and HAILWOOD.no contest.

#5 FrankB

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 15:34

Originally posted by renzo
HAILWOOD,HAILWOOD,and HAILWOOD.no contest.

C'mon, don't sit on the fence. Tell us what you really feel. ;)

#6 barrykm

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 15:34

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 ?)


Nice to see Jon Ekerold mentioned... :up:

#7 kayemod

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 15:43

Has bigrog ever ridden or driven around the Isle of Man? No disrespect to Rossi, certainly a strong contender for the best circuit racer of recent years, but would he have been quite so impressive riding over manhole covers with big square kerbs, postboxes and lamp posts rushing by? Unquestionably, Rossi is a phenomenon, but he's no Mike Hailwood, or even Joey Dunlop.

#8 antony duprat

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 16:28

if you look ayt the diversity of a racer, you can't forget a guy like the KING ROBERTS or different an MX and circuit champion like JM. Bayle but i vote to the KING

#9 antony duprat

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 16:41

At this race ,he start an 1/2 lap behin the others and finish 4th at 20 sec.
http://www.highsider...berts_83_13.htm

#10 ralt12

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 16:43

1.Ago
2.The Doctor
3.Mick
4.Mike
5.Joey (tie for 4, for me)
6.Kenny
7.Wayne
8.Eddie

as long as we have arbitrary lists, here's mine.....

#11 Rob Miller

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 17:08

Did not Jenks once say that Mike could ride anything anywhere?

#12 Greatest

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 17:11

Jarno... :up:

#13 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 17:16

Originally posted by antony duprat
if you look ayt the diversity of a racer, you can't forget a guy like the KING ROBERTS or different an MX and circuit champion like JM. Bayle but i vote to the KING


Not really a serious subject as far as I am concerned, but a pleasant diversion nevertheless.
As an ex Rhodie, I know I will probably be accused of bias, but for me, Gary Hocking, or Sox as we knew him, was the real King. He came, he saw and he conquered, and had he remained in motorcycle racing he would have totally dominated his generation, a generation that was one of the best.
As much as I admire Roberts, I wouldn´t place him in the top ten, if only for one reason. He was´nt a good road racer, a serious shortcoming IMO.

#14 Nikola

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 17:22

1. Hailwood
2. Rossi
3. Nieto
4. Ago
5. Dunlop
................

#15 bigrog

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 17:30

Originally posted by ex Rhodie racer


Not really a serious subject as far as I am concerned, but a pleasant diversion nevertheless.
As an ex Rhodie, I know I will probably be accused of bias, but for me, Gary Hocking, or Sox as we knew him, was the real King. He came, he saw and he conquered, and had he remained in motorcycle racing he would have totally dominated his generation, a generation that was one of the best.
As much as I admire Roberts, I wouldn´t place him in the top ten, if only for one reason. He was´nt a good road racer, a serious shortcoming IMO.


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.

#16 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 17:35

Originally posted by Nikola
1. Hailwood
2. Rossi
3. Nieto
4. Ago
5. Dunlop
................


Nieto is an interesting choice and I agree. Very few riders could have lived with him on a 125. I would love to have seen him take on the other classes where he would have been just as successful.

#17 antony duprat

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 17:45

I agree the choise of Dunlop, but he was ONLY a TT spécialist where he know each meter or yard
What could be his value on a Championship, he was not so good in GP and WSB...;) I like this contreverse...

#18 T54

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 17:51

Nieto also rode a 250cc Derbi several times and if I recall well, won with it. I have no doubt that he could ride anything, the opportunity did not come.
I was lucky to watch many of these drivers as well as the ones riding today.
As far as Agostini, with all due respect, I have seen him race many times in the 1960's and 1970's, and he was not in the same league as either Mike the Bike or Vale Rossi, and I think that Rossi could have driven at the TT as well as Joey Dunlop and/or Mike Hailwood did. Opportunity did not present itself, that is all... Agostini rode a wave of titles on a bike that was clearly superior for many years, he really did not have to work that hard except in a couple of races against Provini and Hailwood. In both cases, he still had the better machine and prevailed, but barely.
Jarno Saarinen comes up to mind to compare with the Hailwood-Rossi pair.

My humble opinion of course.

#19 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 17:54

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.


Bigrog. You´ve got me going now.
Actually, Roberts rode a few road circuits such as Spa and Imatra, as well as the Nurburgring, which, while not really a real public road, was considered a road circuit type circuit, if you know what I mean. I stand corrected here, but as far as I can remember he registered his poorest results at these tracks. He himself admited to hating those types of tracks and was a vocal critic of any track that wasn´t purpose built. A circuit, in other words.
The fact that he never raced in the IOM, NW200 or any of the other important road races, has nothing to do with my assessment of him.

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#20 Nikola

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 18:00

Originally posted by T54
Nieto also rode a 250cc Derbi several times and if I recall well, won with it. I have no doubt that he could ride anything, the opportunity did not come.
I was lucky to watch many of these drivers as well as the ones riding today.
As far as Agostini, with all due respect, I have seen him race many times in the 1960's and 1970's, and he was not in the same league as either Mike the Bike or Vale Rossi, and I think that Rossi could have driven at the TT as well as Joey Dunlop and/or Mike Hailwood did. Opportunity did not present itself, that is all... Agostini rode a wave of titles on a bike that was clearly superior for many years, he really did not have to work that hard except in a couple of races against Provini and Hailwood. In both cases, he still had the better machine and prevailed, but barely.
Jarno Saarinen comes up to mind to compare with the Hailwood-Rossi pair.

My humble opinion of course.


Yes, T54, you recall well, Nieto won with Derbi 250ccm on several internationales races and races
in Spanish championship (not GPs)...

#21 picblanc

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 18:05

Here's my couple of pennies worth.

Circuit only,
Eddie Lawson,
Rossi,
Wayne Rainey
Loris capirossi/Freddie spencer
Mick Doohan
kenny Roberts

Circuit and road circuits i:e the old GP tracks Imatra, opatija, Spa.
Jarno Saarinen
Mike Hailwood
Phil Read
Bill Ivy
Agostini
John Surtees

TTand NW200 etc.
Mike Hailwood
David Jefferies
Joey Dunlop (Behind DJ because many of his wins were in the smaller classes.)
Agostini
Steve Hislop
Mick Grant.

:) :)

#22 T54

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 18:06

Nikola, I believe that Nieto won TWO Grand Prix with the Derbi 250cc in 1974 if I recall well. I will research it. :)

#23 kayemod

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 18:11

I'm not comparing him with either Hailwood or Rossi, but given some of the other names that have cropped up in this thread, I'm a little surprised that no-one has mentioned Barry Sheene.

#24 antony duprat

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 18:21

Originally posted by T54
Nikola, I believe that Nieto won TWO Grand Prix with the Derbi 250cc in 1974 if I recall well. I will research it. :)

Nieto and Derbi never win a 250cc GP
http://www.europark....at/ny-pw250.htm

#25 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 18:23

Originally posted by T54
Nieto also rode a 250cc Derbi several times and if I recall well, won with it. I have no doubt that he could ride anything, the opportunity did not come.
I was lucky to watch many of these drivers as well as the ones riding today.
As far as Agostini, with all due respect, I have seen him race many times in the 1960's and 1970's, and he was not in the same league as either Mike the Bike or Vale Rossi, and I think that Rossi could have driven at the TT as well as Joey Dunlop and/or Mike Hailwood did. Opportunity did not present itself, that is all... Agostini rode a wave of titles on a bike that was clearly superior for many years, he really did not have to work that hard except in a couple of races against Provini and Hailwood. In both cases, he still had the better machine and prevailed, but barely.
Jarno Saarinen comes up to mind to compare with the Hailwood-Rossi pair.

My humble opinion of course.


T54. I think your assessment of Ago is a wee bit harsh.
While I agree he did win many of his titles on a far superior machine, I think he more than demonstrated his undoubted quality against the likes of Hailwood, particularly at the TT, as well as Redman and Read. Ago was pure class, and while his 15 titles flatter him somewhat, I think he proved he was at least Hailwoods equal. Certainly not his master, but, as I have said, at least his equal.

#26 antony duprat

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 18:24

Originally posted by kayemod
I'm not comparing him with either Hailwood or Rossi, but given some of the other names that have cropped up in this thread, I'm a little surprised that no-one has mentioned Barry Sheene.

IF we chose the more Sympatic and popular he his in my top 5 ;)

#27 Nikola

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 18:25

Originally posted by antony duprat

Nieto and Derbi never win a 250cc GP
http://www.europark....at/ny-pw250.htm


Hi T54 and Antony, Nieto won GPs in 1974. with Derbi 125....Regards!

#28 Bob Riebe

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 18:49

Hailwood
Roberts
Sheene
Lawson
Saarinnen
Agostini

#29 motard

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 18:56

Nobody mentioned Cal Rayborn yet ? But I can go with Haolwood and Saarinen. Tom

#30 bigrog

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 19:05

Would nobody suggest a rider from the 50's? Perhaps Duke or Surtees?

#31 picblanc

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 19:15

Originally posted by bigrog
Would nobody suggest a rider from the 50's? Perhaps Duke or Surtees?


I have! :p

#32 picblanc

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 19:18

Originally posted by motard
Nobody mentioned Cal Rayborn yet ? But I can go with Haolwood and Saarinen. Tom


In my top 5 favorite riders of all time! but never got the chance to show his talents on the track or roads :(

#33 T54

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 19:21

Indeed, I was wrong. Nieto did not drive the 250cc Derbi in any GP in 1974. Indeed it was not Angel Nieto but Borge Jansson who won a 250cc GP in 1974 aboard the twin Derbi, at the Austrian GP to be precise. Ooops! major failure in the memory cells, sign of soon-to-be senility :blush: Jansson later in 1974 drove the works Maico in that class.

Certainly not his master, but, as I have said, at least his equal.


We agree to disagree... :)

T54

#34 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 19:38

Originally posted by bigrog
Would nobody suggest a rider from the 50's? Perhaps Duke or Surtees?


Or Beppi Castillani.
Bigrog, what was it Duke said of him when they gave Beppi a go on Duke´s Gilera at Roy Hesketh when he came out to SA? I am sure your Dad would have told you that tale. :|
BTW. I remember your Dad. I remember standing next to a silver Norton he was warming up at a meeting I attended, sometime in the mid 60´s (funny how you remember some things. I was only a kid at the time and was there with my dad who was racing that day). He was almost as famous as his riders. I think his rider at the time was Phil Stacey. Do you remember him? Superb stylist.

#35 T54

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 20:03

Surtees, Geoff Duke, many others could qualify, but IMHO Hailwood was just that much better than all of them. The only other that would have easily qualified if he had persevered was Benedicto Caldarella. If any of you had the privilege to witness one of his (few) races, he was incredibly impressive, much more than Cecotto or anyone from South America I can recall.

#36 bigrog

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 20:24

Originally posted by picblanc


I have! :p


Sorry, Graham. You listed so many, I didn't spot your Surtees!! :rotfl:

#37 picblanc

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 20:26

Originally posted by bigrog


Sorry, Graham. You listed so many, I didn't spot your Surtees!! :rotfl:


Oi!! that was my short list!! :lol:

#38 Bob Riebe

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 20:41

Originally posted by motard
Nobody mentioned Cal Rayborn yet ? But I can go with Haolwood and Saarinen. Tom

I hate to say it, but I thought of him, but could not think of his name.

Among those cut short:
Newcombe
Ivy

and just because he was the last of the upright riders win a GP, Christian Sarron, a Frenchman who did not surrender.

#39 Twin Window

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 20:53

Originally posted by Bob Riebe

Among those cut short [...]

...are an awful lot of riders.

A staggering number, in fact - just look at the 1950s and early '60s.

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#40 picblanc

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 21:11

Originally posted by Twin Window
...are an awful lot of riders.

A staggering number, in fact - just look at the 1950s and early '60s.


The 70's were very un healthy to! :(

#41 Nikola

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 21:30

Originally posted by T54
Indeed, I was wrong. Nieto did not drive the 250cc Derbi in any GP in 1974. Indeed it was not Angel Nieto but Borge Jansson who won a 250cc GP in 1974 aboard the twin Derbi, at the Austrian GP to be precise. Ooops! major failure in the memory cells, sign of soon-to-be senility :blush: Jansson later in 1974 drove the works Maico in that class.


We agree to disagree... :)

T54


Dear T54, Borge Jansson won the Austrian GP with 250ccm Derbi in 1972, and later in this yaer
he drove Yamaha (Maico was never present in 250-class). Regards

#42 bigrog

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 21:43

Originally posted by ex Rhodie racer


Or Beppi Castillani.
Bigrog, what was it Duke said of him when they gave Beppi a go on Duke´s Gilera at Roy Hesketh when he came out to SA? I am sure your Dad would have told you that tale. :|
BTW. I remember your Dad. I remember standing next to a silver Norton he was warming up at a meeting I attended, sometime in the mid 60´s (funny how you remember some things. I was only a kid at the time and was there with my dad who was racing that day). He was almost as famous as his riders. I think his rider at the time was Phil Stacey. Do you remember him? Superb stylist.


Thanks for the kind words about my father. The rider was Syd Stacey who made a huge impression on me when I was young. As you say, a great stylist as a rider and as an engineer, his standards were superb. More of that elsewhere. For the moment, here's a picture of that great South African/Italian Beppe Castellani. Yes, I've heard that story before. He impressed many people in the 50's and was one of the great unsung heroes along with Jannie Stander I would say.

I hope I don't have a copyright issue here but this is from the Castrol Year book of 1953. No, even I wasn't born then!!

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#43 PhilG

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 23:59

Seeing as i read the other thread on the forum with interest , but not a lot of knowledge of the period , as i was MX'ing for most of it , this one gives me a chance.

Jean Michel Bayle has to be a contender, as already mentioned. Firstly his MX world championships in Europe, but more importantly the fact that he went to the USA and beat the US riders in their own back yard at supercross & in the outdoor nationals in a way that you have to go back 20 years to find. The US riders of that era were a cut above and had the best bikes , best tracks , best practice facilities , and europe in comparison was 10 years behind. An awesome achievement.

To then go on to a 250 GP bike, and qualify last, and not quit, to eventually be a front runner on a 500 gp bike in the two stroke era , which is definately the pinnacle of hard to ride fast bikes,makes him a great candidate.



His head injury curtailed what could have been a much more successful career , so mark one for the french guy.

#44 T54

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 00:00




#45 T54

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 01:36

Dear T54, Borge Jansson won the Austrian GP with 250ccm Derbi in 1972, and later in this yaer he drove Yamaha (Maico was never present in 250-class).


Nikola,
Not only Maico was present in 250cc but Gerd Bender finished 9th with one at the Finnish GP, Dieter Braun finished 2nd at the German GP then 9th at the French GP, also on a works Maico. Borge Jansson finished 10th with the Derbi at the same GP, then won the Austrian GP also with the Derbi, setting fastest lap in the process. He switched to the 250cc Maico for the Belgian GP at Spa and finished in 6th place. :)
It's all in this very good book published by Leo Van Dam Productions in 1974. Tons of great pictures as well as information not found anywhere else on the planet about the 1974 racing season.

Posted Image

Regards,

T54 :wave:

#46 soubriquet

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 05:03

I'd put Hailwood at the top of my list. I think he had the measure of Ago. Certainly he did at Mallory Park, beating the 500 MV with a 350 Honda, although that may be more to do with the nature of the circuit.

Sammy Miller anyone?

#47 WHITE

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 08:23

Originally posted by ralt12
1.Ago
2.The Doctor
3.Mick
4.Mike
5.Joey (tie for 4, for me)
6.Kenny
7.Wayne
8.Eddie

as long as we have arbitrary lists, here's mine.....




:up:


Here is mine too :

- Haylwood
- Nieto
- Rossi
- Tormo
- Spencer
- Lawson

#48 bigrog

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 09:50

For those producing lists (which I love by the way), can we please have the reasons why riders have or have not been included.

For instance, this would be the arguments for and against some of the riders mentioned:

Joey Dunlop:

For-26 TT wins spanning 23 years
Against- Never beat any quality opposition. Couldn't ride proper circuits

Valentino Rossi:

For: Has an unbeatable record of wins statistically (wins per GP)
Against: Never ridden on roads. Modern bikes are so easy to ride.

Mike Hailwood:

For: Consistently beat everybody on everything.
Against: His Dad always made sure he had the better bikes and he doesn't have the best win rate

Giacomo Agostini:

For: His win rate and number of world championships.
Against: Had the only factory bike for most of those wins/championships.

Sammy Miller:

For: A world class rider in both road racing and trials.
Against: Never a front runner in road racing.

J-M Bayle

For: The most gifted motor cyclist to have ridden both a Moto-X bike and a GP bike.
Against: Never a winner in road race GP's

Kenny Roberts:

For: Three world championships. Dirt Track and GP winner
Against: Never raced the roads. Way down the GP winners list


I could go on but you get the picture.

Let's have your opinions please.

#49 soubriquet

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 10:38

In 1961, Hailwood won the 500cc TT on a Manx Norton. I don't know if the MV's were there or not, but that was a bike available to any.

In the 1965 Senior, he dropped the 500 MV, restarted it, pitted for repairs and won.

In 1978, he won the production bike TT on a Ducati, he turned it into a winning bike. In 1979, he won the 500cc TT on a Suzuki. I realise that by the late 70's the TT had lost it's GP status, but the competition was still fierce and those late wins were fantastic achievements.

In a career of over 20 years, he was able to win International events, on all classes of bike (except 50s), on all types of circuit, and on 4 strokes and 2 strokes.

I'm yet to be convinced that anyone else was better.

#50 bigrog

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 10:57

Originally posted by T54

Nikola,
Not only Maico was present in 250cc but Gerd Bender finished 9th with one at the Finnish GP, Dieter Braun finished 2nd at the German GP then 9th at the French GP, also on a works Maico. Borge Jansson finished 10th with the Derbi at the same GP, then won the Austrian GP also with the Derbi, setting fastest lap in the process. He switched to the 250cc Maico for the Belgian GP at Spa and finished in 6th place. :)
It's all in this very good book published by Leo Van Dam Productions in 1974. Tons of great pictures as well as information not found anywhere else on the planet about the 1974 racing season.

Posted Image

Regards,

T54 :wave:


Philippe

Sorry to be pedantic for you're my hero on this forum but your book refers to the 1973 season. For instance both Paso and Saarinen are in the results and they lost their lives in 1973.