Monday, October 11, 2010

Freddie Spencer: “In no way do I feel I’m not fortunate!”


Freddie 'The Sultan of Silde' Spencer, one of the most talented motorcycle racers of all time. In 1985, he won both the 250cc and the 500cc world championships!!
Fast Freddie Spencer Fast Freddie Spencer Fast Freddie Spencer Fast Freddie Spencer

In their October issue this year, British magazine Bike have done a fabulous story on one of our all-time favourite GP racers – none other than ‘Fast’ Freddie Spencer himself, who’s widely regarded as one of the most prodigiously gifted, naturally talented motorcycle racers ever.

Born in 1961 in Shreveport, Louisiana, in the US, Freddie Spencer remains the only man in motorcycle grand prix racing to win 250cc and 500cc world championships in the same year, a feat he accomplished in 1985. Before this, Freddie had already won the 500cc world championship once, in 1983.

‘Spencer has always been an enigma, if only because he was so different from other racers of his era,’ says Mat Oxley, who met Freddie in Las Vegas (where Freddie now lives) for the story. In the late 70s and early 80s, most racers lived the B-plan lifestyle – birds, booze and bikes. Not Spencer. He went to bed early and drank Dr Peppers,’ adds Oxley.

Dr Pepper or not, Spencer had massive talent for going fast on a racebike, and that’s something that most would agree with. Master tuner Erv Kanemoto certainly does. ‘When most riders go tyre testing, they put in a lot of laps to get up to speed and to feel and understand the tyre, and then they start pushing,’ says Kanemoto. ‘Freddie would push from the first lap on a tyre that no one had run before. You’d see giant slides and he’d just rely on himself to get out of it,’ he adds. No wonder, then, that Freddie won his first 500cc world championship when he was just 21 years old – a record that remains unbroken to this day.

Speaking to Oxley about the days when he was just getting started with racing motorcycles, Spencer recalls, ‘I’d be out in the rain, using the slick Louisiana clay, trying to learn to change direction at any lean angle. I could judge when the bike would stop sliding. Right at the apex I’d pick it up so it’s pivoting around the front and the front’s not pushing anymore, then I could just drift turn. Think how important that is in a 130mph sweeper, when you’ve got the bike on its side and you know exactly where it’s going to end up.’ ‘When I was on top of my game, I could go through that 130mph corner on a four-inch wide line, lap after lap,’ adds Spencer.

For Freddie, things were never the same again after 1985. From the heights of glory to which he climbed in that year, he then sank to the deepest, darkest depths of despair. In a tragically ironic twist in the tale, Spencer never won another grand prix after 1985. That was largely due to the fact that the immensely talented rider was bruised and battered and his body was all worn out after years of hard riding and racing. But it wasn’t something that his fans, the doctors or even Freddie himself realised back then, hence all those misguided ‘comebacks’ in the late-1980s and early-1990s, all of which inevitably failed.

There have been ups and downs in Fast Freddie's life, but today he seems content with his lot. ‘Looking back, in no way do I feel I’m not fortunate. Those championships were all unique, so even if I’d won six world titles, the ’83 and ’85 seasons would still stand out,’ he says. Amen.




Fast Freddie Spencer Fast Freddie Spencer Fast Freddie Spencer Fast Freddie Spencer
Freddie Spencer won the 250cc and 500cc motorcycle GP racing world championships in 1985!

These excerpts are taken from Bike magazine’s October 2010 issue, from a story written by Mat Oxley. It’s their ‘speed issue’ and it’s simply brilliant. We recommend you buy a copy of the magazine now!

3 comments:

Paul said...

Happy to hear Freddie is now content with his life and realises what he accomplished. And to this day the Spencer Replica helmet is still the best design of all time. Well done Freddie you are a legend

mojo said...

I remember Freddie at Laguna Seca in a rain soaked US Superbike race lapping the field on a Ducati.
It may have been his last victory but was certainly one of the best.

Anonymous said...

To me Fast Freddie was the greatest RAW TALENT in motorcycle racing history- No disrespect to the LEGENDS OR Vale Rossi & other ALIENS! Just my opinion...

Labels

2WD AC Schnitzer AJS Akrapovic all-wheel-drive Alpinestars AMG Aprilia Ariel Audi Avinton Bajaj Barry Sheene Benelli Bianchi Bimota BMW Bosch Brammo Brembo Britten BSA Buell Bultaco Cagiva Campagna Can-Am Carver Casey Stoner Caterham Chinese bikes Classics Concept Bike Confederate CRandS Custom-built Dainese Derbi Diesel Ducati Eddie Lawson EICMA 2008 EICMA 2009 EICMA 2012 EICMA 2013 EICMA 2014 EICMA 2015 EICMA 2016 Electric Ferrari Fischer flying machines Freddie Spencer Giacomo Agostini Gilera Harley-Davidson Helmets Henderson Hero Motocorp Hesketh Honda Horex Husqvarna Hybrid Hyosung Ilmor Indian Intermot 2012 Intermot 2014 Intermot 2016 Interviews Isle of Man TT Jawa Jay Leno Jeremy Burgess Kawasaki Kevin Schwantz KTM Lamborghini Lambretta Laverda Lazareth Lotus Mahindra Malaguti Markus Hofmann McLaren Mercedes-Benz Mick Doohan Midual Millepercento Mission Motors Mondial Morbidelli Morgan Moriwaki Moto Guzzi Moto Morini Moto2 Moto3 MotoCzysz MotoGP MotoGP-2007 MotoGP-2008 MotoGP-2009 MotoGP-2010 Motorcycle Design Motus MTT MV Agusta MZ News Nissan Norton NSU Peraves Petronas Peugeot Photography Piaggio Porsche Quad Renard Renault Riding Impressions Roehr Ronax Ronin Rotary Royal Enfield Scooters Segway Shootouts Short Films Skills Specials stunt riding Supercharged Suter Suzuki Toyota Travel trike Triumph Turbo TVS Two-stroke Ural V10 V12 V4 V6 V8 Valentino Rossi Velocette Vespa Victory Vincent Volkswagen Voxan Vyrus Wakan Wayne Gardner Wayne Rainey Wunderlich Yamaha Yoshimura Zagato