So far, each of the videos we’ve shared celebrating this year’s Festival of Speed theme of ‘Flat-Out and Fearless: Racing on the Edge’ has featured just one event. This week we’re breaking away from the norm to look at the mind-blowing achievements of ‘Fast Freddie’ Spencer in 1985.
Winning a Grand Prix World Championship on two wheels is a very neat trick. Not only do you have to beat the best riders, which in 1985 included Eddie Lawson, Ron Haslam, Christian Sarron and Revival star Wayne Gardner, but in those days you had to do it on lightweight, 500cc, two-stroke machines whose character is probably best described as ‘viscious.’ However, not only did Spencer win the championship from fellow American Lawson, his lowest finishing position all season was second. This happened on just three occasions …
So by any measure, Spencer’s achievement that year in the premier class was simply imperious; the next rider in the championship on similar machinery finished in fourth place with almost half as many points, and he bagged pole position in 10 out of the 11 races he started. Imagine for a moment the level of commitment required on-and-off track to pull-off a season like that… now imagine winning the 250cc class as well.
‘Arguably even more astonishing than his achievements is the fact that he never won another Grand Prix.’
This is exactly what the man achieved in 1985. Regulations mean that a rider can no longer compete in more than one Grand Prix class at a time, however we reckon that regardless of this it was a unique feat achieved by a rider who was well-and-truly ensconced in ‘the zone’. As such, we are unlikely ever to see this happen again. To think; at each meeting he had to compete in two Grands Prix. Astonishing …
This is quite a long video compared to our other ‘Flat-Out and Fearless…’ shares, but it’s well worth investing the time to watch. In it the late, great Barry Sheene catches up with Fast Freddie at Silverstone and they discuss the American’s remarkable 1985 season.
Arguably even more astonishing than his achievements is the fact that he never won another Grand Prix. It has been opined that the herculean effort he put in in 1985 took a lot out of him, and that this led to his retirement due to wrist injuries. Regardless of this though, in 1985 Fast Freddie Spencer firmly cemented his position in motor racing folklore and it will be an honour to see the great man once again riding up the hill at FoS in June.
‘Flat-Out and Fearless…’ is one thing. To typify this over a whole season’s racing in two different classes – and win both – is quite another!