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Daytona dreaming becomes a nightmare

Infamous as the motorcycle that pitched Barry Sheene on to the Daytona banking at over 170mph, the Suzuki TR750 deserved its 'Flexy Flier' nickname. First raced at Daytona in 1972, the TR750 had been developed from the GT750 roadster to compete in the Superbike and Formula 750 championships; these stipulated road-based engines but left more or less everything else open to modification. In the Suzuki's case, the engine was slimmed down, porting and compression ratio altered, clutch cooling improved and larger carburettors fitted. Power rose from the stock 67 to 115bhp and top speed, depending on circuit and gearing, could be as high as 180mph. Although the frame bore no resemblance to the roadster's and had been specifically designed for racing, motorcycles with rear-wheel horsepower ratings in three figures were a new phenomenon and it is not surprising that some designers failed to get their sums right. This is Sheene and TR750 at the Brands Hatch Trans-Atlantic Match race, April 1977. Note team mates Pat Hennen and Steve Parish. Full story of Sheene’s career and photo essay of his Suzuki race bikes in The Road, available on the shop page

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