Victories for Spencer and Schwantz at World GP Bike Legends

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The final day of the inaugural World GP Bike Legends festival at Jerez saw victories for Freddie Spencer and Kevin Schwantz.

Both men were in action in the second and third 500cc Legend races of the weekend, with the first being won by Wayne Gardner on Saturday.

The first race of the day saw Spencer take the chequered flag on-board his Yamaha YZR500, ahead of Schwantz and Didier de Radiguès.

The two-time 500cc world champion was full of praise for the event after the races had finished and believes that it could become the first of many.

He said: “This event is all about what we’ve been experiencing outside with the public. It’s the passion and the emotion that gets generated – I’ve been around motorcycles my whole life, and it has given me so may things – and the look on people’s faces is what it’s all about. I saw a couple of young guys in the paddock and they said ‘thank you so much for doing this and allowing us to see you live’, and that’s what it’s all about.

“For us it’s also brilliant to be back on the 500s, I’ve been riding a bike I was actually racing against back in the ’80s! It’s the beginning of this connection between us guys up here, the collectors who have given us the opportunity to ride, and the fans who have come along to see us. I’m truly looking forward to where this is going in the future.”

The second 500cc race of the day saw a great battle between Spencer and Schwantz, with the pair swapping positions on a number of occasions throughout the race. In the end it was Schwantz who made the move stick and take victory, with Niggi Schmassmann joining the pair on the podium.

Like Spencer, Schwantz believes that the event has been a major success and that this could be the beginning of something special for the legends of the sport.

He said: “My perspective of the event has been overwhelmingly successful. I saw the look in people’s eyes and heard all the cheering when I won yesterday which was so cool. It brought back a lot of memories and it’s my third GP victory at Jerez! To ride with all your friends is such a pleasure. Today I was riding around the outside of Christian and I had total confidence and it was a great feeling.

“These motorcycles are still so thrilling, and of course we’ve got it all filmed on TV and hopefully the documentary will help us grow further. There’s already negotiations for events in other countries so the future is very bright. I think this event will springboard the interest in it and will make it easier for us to fill the grids in the future.”

Britain’s Steve Parrish finished 8th in the first race yesterday before improving in race two to finish seventh on-board a Suzuki RGV500.

Afterwards, Parrish said: “It’s great to be back with the old motorcycles and remember how they were in the old days. Unfortunately I’d like to apologise to Steve Wheatman because I managed to break one of his today – it’s been very kind of him to lend them to me and I was able to go out on a different bike which was really enjoyable as I managed to finish the races today!

“To be out there with colleagues from the past, the fumes and the camaraderie that goes on as well as to go right into the middle of all the fans and see so many enthusiastic people is really great.”

In the 250cc/350cc classes there were popular podiums for 1989 80cc world champion, Manuel ‘Champi’ Herreros, and 1988 125cc world champion, Jorge ‘Aspar’ Martiez.

Away from the track there was more entertainment for fans with Trial biking shows, and there were also musical performances on Saturday night by former World Superbike Champion James Toseland and ’80s musician Bonnie Tyler.

Event Director, Steve Wigley, was very happy with how the first event had gone at Jerez and was excited about the prospect of more events in the near future.

Wigley said: “I’m so proud of the whole team for bringing World GP Bike Legends to life. I need to thank a lot of people for making it possible, but especially Wayne Gardner for being an incredible ambassador for what we are creating here and getting so many legends together to race this weekend.

“The passion from the fans at Jerez Circuit is like nothing I’ve ever seen, and the potential for this to become something on a global scale is really, really exciting. We hope everyone has seen just how special this can be, and we are already in discussions to take the event to more venues all around the world.”

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About author
Josh is a Sports Journalism graduate and has been a member of the TCF team since 2015. Between 2015 and 2018, Josh focused primarily on British Superbikes and Road Racing events such as the Isle of Man TT. At the beginning of the 2019 season he became the MotoGP Reporter.
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