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Bazza's big bike break

This is where Colin Seeley and Barry Sheene really start to collaborate. Suzuki had withdrawn from Grands Prix in 1967 but returned through the back door with the TR500 XR05, based on the T500 Cobra/Titan road bike. First raced at Daytona in 1968, with Ron Grant placing fourth, it wasn’t until 1971 that the XR05 was officially entered in the world championship, with riders Keith Turner, Rob Bron and Jack Findlay finishing in second, third and fifth places respectively. Findlay’s victory in the Ulster Grand Prix was Suzuki’s first in the 500cc class: it was also the first 500cc class win by a two-stroke. Despite this success the bike’s handling left a lot to be desired and happily Colin Seeley was commissioned by Suzuki’s Rex White to make a frame to house the TR500 motor - with a certain Barry Sheene to be the rider. Sheene said it was the best handling bike he had ridden and won the British championship on it. Retail versions of the frame (a full rolling chassis) were soon made available for £350. A new road motor cost £250 and could be tuned as much as the owner could afford. Competitive 500cc Grand Prix racing was suddenly affordable. This is one of the two bikes supplied by Seeley to Sheene, now part of the Team Classic Suzuki collection. Photo by Phil Aynsley and his full run through of Bazzer’s Suzukis is in The Road together with two sizeable essays by Richard Skelton on Britain’s most loved motorcycle racer. Buy on the shop page




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