The iconic Spa Francorchamps race circuit in Belgium is becoming a second home for Moto2 rider and standings leader Scott Redding.
The British rider after driving BMW M3 GT4 car and taking part in charity Supermoto race, this time took to track for traditional 500GP parade at the annual Bikers’ Classic event at Spa.
The Marc VDS rider had the chance to join some of motorcycle racing’s greatest champions, including Giacomo Agostini, Phil Read, Wayne Gardner and Christian Sarron, and also ride in the event one of Kevin Schwantz’1994 Suzuki RGV 500 XR84, that isg is owned by Northamptonshire businessman, Steve Wheatman.
The bike weighs just 135kg and produces around 195BHP from it’s 70° V-Four, 498cc two-stroke engine that can reach a top speed of 320km/h with the right gearing.
“Lining up on the grid with all these champions around me, it felt like I was actually taking part in a 500GP race,” declared Redding.
“Sat there on the bike in front of a huge crowd, surrounded by the likes of Wayne Gardner, Christian Sarron and Didier De Radigues, I got a real good feeling for what it must have been like for Kevin Schwantz when he lined up to race this bike back in ’94.
It was an incredible experience.
”The event was to feature a 10 lap parade, but instead the very competitive nature of the riders took over, and it turned into a brief race with Redding forcing his way past Sarron, Gardner and Didier De Radigues, eventually finish a close second behind Steve Plater, who was riding the Suzuki RGV500 XR88 on which Kenny Roberts won four races and finished second in the 1999 500GP World Championship.
“I got a good start to lead through Eau Rouge, but this was my first time on the track on two wheels, on a bike I only slung a leg over ten minutes beforehand.
The rest of the guys rode yesterday, so they had a bit of an advantage in the opening laps, but it didn’t take me long to get a feel for the bike and to figure out the lines.
I managed to push my way back up into second and then had a great battle with Steve Plater over the last few laps,” said Redding.
“I was knee down and I could see I was quite close with the elbow, so I just leant it over a bit more and down it went.
I don’t think they did that in 500GP back in 1994, but then the tyres we were using today offer a lot more grip than those Kevin Schwantz had to contend with when he raced the bike.
”Redding continued, “The bike was absolutely amazing.
Okay, the brakes weren’t great, but we were expecting that.
The handling was incredible because the bike is so light; it was really easy to change direction.
It accelerated hard too, with the front coming up in every gear.
I didn’t need a rev counter; I just changed up whenever I felt the front wheel was high enough! There was a lot of power, but it was pretty controllable, nothing like the razor sharp powerband I was expecting.
It turns like a 125 and was still pulling in sixth.
They should bring these back.
It was absolutely mega to ride!”The Brit now heads to Sachsenring for the 8th round of the Moto2 championship, where he’ll try to defend his 30 point lead on Pol Espargaro.