The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114

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Lot 394
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle
Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114

£ 80,000 - 100,000
US$ 110,000 - 130,000
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki
1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle
Frame no. 10127
Engine no. 10114
• Used by Barry Sheene during the 1983 Grand Prix season
• Raced by Mick Grant throughout 1984
• Macau Grand Prix winner 1984
• Known history from new
• Well documented

The Suzuki RG500 Mark 8 offered here was raced by the late, great Barry Sheene during the 1983 Grand Prix season. Barry had won his two 500cc World Championships for Suzuki (in 1976 and 1977) before an acrimonious split saw him defect to Yamaha, at first as a privateer, at the end of 1979. It was while riding for the Yamaha factory in 1982 that he had the second of his two life-threatening crashes, colliding with Patrick Igoa's fallen machine during unofficial practice for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in July. Both Barry's legs were shattered and he suffered numerous other injuries. Photographs of his x-rays, showing bones held together by metal plates and seemingly countless screws, were published around the world.

Once again demonstrating the 'never say die' fighting spirit that is the mark of a true champion, Barry was back on a bike before the season's end, completing a demonstration lap of Donington Park in October on a Yamaha 350LC roadster with Steve Parrish riding pillion, just in case. By this time his relationship with Yamaha had soured, Barry complaining that he was being denied the best machinery, and Yamaha perhaps wondering if he would ever be the same again. Add the fact that Sheene had been secretly courted by Heron Suzuki boss Denys Rohan since Assen in June, and it's easy to see why he returned to the Suzuki fold.

The only downside, and it was a big one, was that he would be contracted to Heron-Suzuki, the UK importer, and not to the factory in Japan, whose Suzuki Racing Promotions works team enjoyed sponsorship from HB cigarettes. Rather than full factory bikes, Barry would have to make do with two of the over-the-counter version, which was available to any paying customer. Nevertheless, the deal included the promise of works machinery if warranted by his results. By this time, though, the pace of development had slackened and even the works bikes were beginning to struggle at the highest level. On a customer RGB, Barry stood next to no chance of being competitive. And so it proved.

Nevertheless, his return to Suzuki was masterfully stage-managed when he rode one onto the set of the BBC's Sportsview Personality of the Year show in December 1982. Making his racing comeback at the season-opening South African Grand Prix at Kyalami, Barry finished 10th on his RGB500 'stocker' and followed that up with 7th at the next round in France. Some additional factory support was forthcoming for the domestic Shell Oils Championship, when he used an ex-Randy Mamola works engine, and the Transatlantic Trophy Match Races, for which he was given a 1982 works bike.

For the next World Championship round at Monza, Barry was drafted into the HB-sponsored factory team alongside regulars Franco Uncini and Randy Mamola, but had to use the Mamola-engined hybrid rather than an aluminium-framed full works machine; the latter was considerably lighter than Barry's Mark 8 but in fact was only slightly more powerful. He finished 9th. Barry hoped to use the 1982 works bike at the next World Championship round at Hockenheim, only to have it withdrawn following an intervention from Suzuki in Japan. Following a DNF in Germany, Barry refused to race the un-competitive customer bike at the next round in Spain, a protest that succeeded in getting him permission to race the 1982 factory bike at the Salzburgring. In the event, he preferred his regular RGB but could only finish 13th on the ultra-fast Austrian track.

Another 13th place in Yugoslavia was followed by a crash and a DNF in Holland, while Barry was absent from the Belgian round with flu. The next round of the World Championship was at Silverstone, where Barry hoped to have use of the absent Franco Uncini's works bikes, the Italian rider having been seriously injured at Assen. He made no effort to hide his disappointment when Suzuki chose to give them to the Dutch rider Boet van Dulmen instead. The Silverstone meeting was a disaster, claiming the lives of Norman Brown and Peter Huber; in the stopped-and-restarted two-leg race Barry finished 9th, a fraction of a second behind van Dulmen, and was mobbed by adoring fans at the finish. His season concluded disappointingly with two consecutive DNFs at Sweden and Monza, which left him in 14th place in the World Championship, his worst result since 1980. Barry stayed with Suzuki machinery for 1984, using an ex-Mamola XR45 engine, albeit in a Harris Performance Products chassis, and ended his Grand Prix career at the end of the season in 6th place in the World Championship.

Heron-Suzuki retained this RGB500 for 1984, assigning it to their contracted rider, Mick Grant. Highlights of Mick's year aboard '10127' included 2nd place in the North West 200, 3rd in the Isle of Man Classic TT, and 1st in the Macau Grand Prix. A copy of Heron Suzuki's Macau consignment letter is on file, showing that at that time the machine was still fitted with its original engine: '10127'. In the championships that the RGB was eligible for, Mick finished 5th overall in the British Shell Oils, 6th in the MCN Masters, and 9th in the ITV World of Sport Superbikes.

Disposed of at the end of the 1984 season, this RGB was sold to Alan Duffus Racing (rider: Mark Selby) and in 1987 passed to Ray Debben Motorcycles (Mark Stone). In 1990 the Suzuki was acquired by Nigel Rigg, who did not use it, passing to the current vendor, Tony Salt, in 2005. Tony Salt began racing motorcycles in the 1960s, and in the late 1970s started supplying racing tyres to fellow competitors. Over a period of time he developed a relationship with Michelin, which meant he was directly involved with their efforts in the Grand Prix arena, supplying tyres to many of the top class riders of the day, including Barry Sheene. In 1983 he was supplying tyres for the entire Heron Suzuki team except for Keith Heuwen, who used Dunlops. Consequently, Tony was involved with Barry Sheene and this very machine in 1983.

Since its acquisition by Tony in 2005, this ex-Sheene Suzuki has been ridden by Mick Grant at numerous classic meetings, including the Isle of Man Centenary Road Races in 2007. It is presented in its 1983 'Sheene' livery and comes with alternative bodywork dating from Mick Grant's 1984 season. The machine is currently fitted with 17" wheels and four-pot brake callipers (original 16" wheels and two-pot callipers included). Additional accompanying documentation includes a copy of Heron Suzuki paperwork recording '10127' as one of two Barry Sheene bikes kept at his Charlwood home in East Sussex; and another, titled 'BIKES FOR RESALE', that lists it as 'Ex Barry Sheene Keep for Mick Grant'. The latter document lists the current engine, '10114', as 'Ex Tony Mang', this being a reference to five-time World Champion, Anton Mang, who had secured two 10th place finishes in the course of the 1983 World Championship. In addition, this motorcycle has been authenticated by Heron Suzuki team mechanic Nigel Everett, who has been acquainted with the machine from new and worked on it during the 1984 season when it was raced by Mick Grant.

Both Barry Sheene and Mick Grant always used right-foot gear changes, and the bike is still set up in this way. The engine was stripped and rebuilt by Mick Grant four years ago, and was again stripped and rebuilt two years ago by Paul Boulton. Ready to use for racing or parading, this machine represents a unique opportunity to purchase one of the last Suzukis raced by the late World Champion, Barry Sheene.
Contacts
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki,1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 10127 Engine no. 10114
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