The new Hesketh 24 (top) is a revial of the 1970s/1980s Lord Hesketh-James Hunt legacy. Those red and blue stripes still look cool as ever...
In 1972, when he was all of 22 years old, Lord Thomas Alexander Fermor-Hesketh founded his Formula 1 racing team and, with James Hunt, went on to win a few races in the early- to mid-1970s. Hunt, famous for his playboy lifestyle (Rolls-Royce cars, private helicopters, endless bottles of champagne and, of course, copious amounts of… er, “crumpet”), finished in 4th place in the 1975 Formula 1 world championship, driving the Lord’s Hesketh 308 F1 race car.
Shortly thereafter, Lord Hesketh withdrew from F1 but did go on to build motorcycles – the Hesketh V1000 and the Hesketh Vampire – in the early 1980s. It was all over by the mid-1980s (you can read the full story on Wikipedia) but now, after a 30-year hiatus, Hesketh are back. This time, with British entrepreneur Paul Sleeman at the helm, the company plans to build a range of new, Hesketh-branded motorcycles, starting with the Hesketh 24, which will go on sale from February next year.
As you can see in the photograph above, the Hesketh 24 gets a paintjob that’s clearly inspired by James Hunt’s 1970s Hesketh F1 race car, which also used to bear the number '24.' The bike, only 24 units of which will be built, is powered by a 1,950cc V-twin, which produces about 120 horsepower. Spec is top class – Ohlins suspension, Beringer brakes with 4-piston calipers at the front, BST carbonfibre wheels, TIG-welded chrome-molybdenum chassis, bespoke 2-into-1-into-3 stainless steel exhaust system and, interestingly enough, a 22.7-litre fuel tank that’s mounted beneath the engine.
We were quite intrigued with the new Hesketh 24 and fired off a few questions to Hesketh. Here are some excerpts from what Paul Sleeman had to say about the Hesketh 24 and his future plans for the brand: