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Gallery: 60 years of Honda motorcycle racing at FOS

17th July 2019
Andrew Willis

On June 3rd1959, the Honda Motor Company became the first Japanese Motorcycle Manufacturer to enter the Isle of Man TT. 2019 therefore marks the 60thanniversary since Junzo Suzuki, Naomi Taniguchi, Giichi Suzuki and Teisuke Tanaka rode their RC142 racing bikes in the 125cc class of that gruelling, gladiatorial event.

Back then, ‘Made In Japan’ was not feared by European manufacturers, and their arrival on the Isle of Man was, dare we say it, shunned by many. Fewer still expected the Japanese and Honda to develop into a world-class motor racing outfit. How wrong they were. 

Since then, the Japanese marque has firmly cemented itself at the pinnacle of motorsport, in both two and four-wheeled categories, but it’s amongst Honda’s bike paddocks at the Goodwood Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard that visitors were able to get a real sense of their incredible influence on the world of motorcycle racing. 

From the waspy RC142 to the latest modern racing weapons including the Honda CBR 1000RR and even the electric Mugen Shinden Go – which Honda have had a significant hand in – the range and development of two-wheeled technology on show was a testament to how far Honda have come from that first tentative outing.  

After six decades of excellence, success, and raw speed, join us in wishing Honda a happy 60 years in motorsport. Here’s to the next six decades.

Photography by Pete Summers.

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