Moto2 rider Scot Redding got an opportunity to understand just how different an old-school two-stroke 500cc GP racebike is from his four-stroke 600cc machine...
Moto2 rider Scott Redding recently got to live out our fantasy, as he got an opportunity to ride Kevin Schwantz’s 1994 Suzuki RGV500 at the iconic Belgian circuit, Spa Francorchamps. Redding rode the RGV500 during the traditional 500GP parade at the annual Bikers’ Classic event at Spa last weekend, for which champions like Giacomo Agostini, Phil Read, Wayne Gardner and Christian Sarron were also present.
“Lining up on the grid with all these champions around me, it felt like I was actually taking part in a 500GP race. 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,” says Redding.
Northamptonshire businessman, Steve Wheatman owns the 1994 Suzuki RGV500 XR84 which Redding rode at Spa. The bike weighs 135kg and produces about 195 horsepower from its 70° 498cc two-stroke V4 and, with the right gearing, can hit a top speed of 320km/h.
“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,” says 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,” he adds.
Incidentally, the RGV500 that Redding rode at Spa was the same bike on which Schwantz won his last 500cc GP, the 1994 British Grand Prix at Donington Park. “I’d like to say a massive thank you to Steve Wheatman for letting me loose on his rather expensive bike, and also to Olivier Aerts for organising the ride today,” says Redding.
Source: Marc VDS Racing Team