Cycle News

Cycle News 2021 Issue 31 August 3

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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Page 124 of 135

H onda gave it its best shot. The company gave itself two years to dethrone the mighty MV Augusta and Giacomo Agostini in the coveted 500cc Grand Prix World Championship and came agonizingly close to doing it. 1967, with Mike Hailwood coming within a whisker of dethroning Agostini on the MV for the 500cc title. They tied in points and had the same number of wins, but Hailwood and Hon- da lost the title in a second tie breaker—second-place finishes. When the FIM announced new regulations that limited GP ma- chines to four cylinders, Honda, which had famously produced exotic, high-revving six-cylinder four-stroke GP machines earlier in the decade, decided to exit stage left. MV kept the four-stoke alive in Grand Prix racing for the next few seasons, but by the early part of the 1970s, the Japanese two-strokes were coming on strong. Jack Findlay rode the first two-stroke (a surprisingly close-to-street-trim Suzuki) to a 500cc Grand Prix victory in Ireland in 1971, and Agostini de- fected to Yamaha and, in 1975, became the first two-stroke rider to win the World Championship. MV put up a good fight, but the tide had turned. The wailing smokers had taken over. When Honda left Grand Prix racing after 1967, it turned its attention to production-based racing with endurance machines CN III ARCHIVES P124 BY LARRY LAWRENCE One of the few highlights in the short life of the Honda NR500 was winning a heat race at Laguna Seca in 1981 in the talented hands of a young Freddie Spencer. FREDDIE AND THE NR

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