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British MotoGP Winners

  • Robertsprofile

    Kenny Roberts took the World 500cc Championship by storm as he won the elite crown in his debut season of 1978. The Californian, born 31 December 1951, was the first American rider to win the World title, and that came on the back of a career moulded initially in dirt-track action in the States ahead of championship winning era in American AMA series racing.

    Riding Yamaha, he won 22 500cc Grand Prix races, among them three successes at Silverstone, the most famous of them in 1979 when he beat the home hero Barry Sheene by a split second.

    Roberts took the world title in consecutive years: 1978, 1979 and 1980. In an illustrious career he also enjoyed three victories in the annual Daytona 200 classic.

  • Mamolaprofile

    Randy Mamola, is arguably the most talented rider never to have won the World 500cc crown.

    The rider from San José, California, born 10 November 1959, finished as the runner-up in the chase for the crown on four occasions, 1980, 1981, 1984 and 1987.

    He made his Grand Prix debut in Sweden in 1979 and went on to contest 151 races, winning 13, including two at Silverstone, among 57 podium finishes as he underlined his all-round skills by racing for four marques: Cagiva, Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha.

    Mamola turned to race commentary when he hung up his leathers, also working extensively with the Riders for Health programme.

  • Spencerprofile

    Freddie Spencer became the youngest rider ever to win the World 500cc crown in 1983, repeating that in a double winning year, with success also in the 250cc class in 1985.

    "Fast Freddie," born 20 December 1961 in Louisiana, cut his racing teeth as a four year old in dirt track events, before in 1978 winning the National 250cc title. Two years later he established his credentials by beating World Champions Kenny Roberts and Barry Sheene in the TransAtlantic match races.

    Spencer made his Grand Prix debut in 1980, taking the first of his 27 victories in 1982, with his Silverstone success of 1985 crucial to him regaining the 500cc title. Riding Honda, he also contested the 250cc World title, clinching that with a fourth place in the 1985 race at Silverstone.

  • Middelburgprofile

    Jack Middelburg was the last privateer to win a 500cc Grand Prix as he pulled off an unexpected triumph in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 1981 when he finished ahead of the defending champion Kenny Roberts.

    The previous year, Middelberg, from Groningen had become only the second Dutchman to win the Dutch TT round of the series – although he rode strongly, with impressive results however he was not able to command a factory backed ride on the strength of his best years, finishing seventh overall in both 1979 and 1981.

    Tragically, Middelburg was killed while competing in a road circuit race in Tolbert in 1984.

  • Unciniprofile

    Franco Uncini was something of an all-rounder, beginning his career racing in the 750cc class for Laverda, and later Ducati winning several Italian titles before moving into Grand Prix, contesting 250cc and 350cc action with Yamaha, and then Harley Davidson for whom he won two 250cc races.

    The rider from Recanati in Italy bought his own 500cc Suzuki to move into the top flight, running as the top Privateer in both 1979 and 1980 but after an accident littered 1981 campaign Uncini was given a lucky break, taking over the factory backed Suzuki, run by Roberto Gallina, from Marco Lucchinelli.

    Uncini repaid them by winning the 500c World crown in 1982, taking five victories along the way, including success at Silverstone.

  • Gardner1986profile

    Wayne Gardner became the first ever Australian rider to win the World 500cc Championship in a dominant 1987season in which he chalked up seven of his 18 victories, scored from 100 career starts in the top flight.

    The rider from Wollongong, New South Wales, began his career racing 250cc in domestic action, then moving with strong success into British Championship action, en route to Grand Prix action and his debut in 1984.

    Gardner scored his first Grand Prix success at Jarama in 1986 riding for the Rothmans Honda team with whom he stayed throughout his World Championship career. He was the winner of the final Grand Prix to be held at Silverstone in 1986 as he finished that campaign as the overall runner-up.

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