MOTORCYCLE HERO

MOTORCYCLE HERO – FAST FREDDIE – AKA FREDERICK BURDETTE SPENCER

ONE OF THE GREATEST US MOTORCYCLE RACERS TO COME OUT OF THE 1980S, FAST FREDDIE, AN ILLUSTRIOUS WORLD CHAMPION RACER.

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Photo by Craig Howell
Born in 1961 in Shreveport Louisiana, Freddie was a motorcycle racing prodigy who first got onto a bike aged 4 years old – yes just 4! He started off early in dirt track racing and after honing his skills as a little un went on to win the 1978 250cc US National Road Racing Championship. After thus proving himself he was contracted to ride for the American Honda Race team in the AMA Superbike Championship. Honda's faith was vindicated in 1980 when he competed in, and won, the Road America round of the 1980 AMA Superbike Championship.

Further Afield
He went on to the international scene after that and in 1980 won two race legs at Brands Hatch beating both Barry Sheene and Kenny Roberts – and then in 1981 come second only to Eddie Lawson, no mean feat.

By 1981 he was dividing his time between the AMA Superbike series and the European Grand Prix circuit and helping Honda to develop their state of the art Oval-cylindered NR500 4 stroke Grand Prix bike.

By 1982 he was on Honda's Grand Prix team, competing in the Belgian Grand Prix and in 1983 he won the 500cc World Championship at the tender age of 21 – the youngest person ever to win it. In 1983 he engaged in a dramatic title battle with Kenny Roberts of Yamaha which ended in a collision between the two riders in their eagerness to beat each other. Spencer managed to achieve his first world title by just two points!

1984 wasn't Spencer's best year and some problems led to his being relegated to fourth place. Despite some setbacks though, he still won three times on the NSR500 and twice on the NS500.

1985 - time for Fast Freddie to really shine, he started off by winning the Daytona 200 season opener – start as you mean to go on! He followed this up with a win in the Formula1 and 250cc classes – the only rider to win all three divisions in one year. He won both the 250cc and the 500cc Grand Prix World Championships. This gave him the honour of being the fifth and last rider to win in two classes. Sadly though he then had his career cut short by wrist injuries perhaps caused by the strain on his body from competing in two championships in one season.

Master Of Many Marques
In the 1990s Spencer raced the AMA Superbike Championship and throughout his career has raced different marques: Kawasaki, Yamaha, Honda and Ducati – a very versatile and talented rider.

Passing on his prowess to other young riders, he ran Freddie Spencer's High Performance Riding school until 2008.

Now living in London Freddie Spencer is a racing commentator on TV and chairman of the FIM Moto GP Stewards Panel. He has garnered many 'laurels' from many years of racing success – Shreveport 'Freddie Spencer Day', AMA Hall of Fame, FIM Grand Prix Legend to name but a few.

Got a motorcycle hero we should know about? Let us know at: news@wemoto.com

Comments:

22/08/20 - Nori Haga

22/08/20 - Class act

22/08/20 - I had the privilege of meeting Freddie and he kindly signed autographs and posed for photos with me .thank you Freddie.

21/08/20 - Sheene, Hailwood, Rossi, Simoncelli, Doohan, McGuiness, Dunlop - all of them, Fogarty, Shakey, Binder there is a huge list of amazing racers that I have admired for their skill, dedication and attitude too many to list here.

21/08/20 - John Surtees, has to be one of the greatest motorsport racers of all time, Champion on both two and four wheels.

21/08/20 - Joey Dunlop

20/08/20 - Im surprised you posted this derek as your a kenny fan! But Freddie was a hero of mine defo!

20/08/20 - Which is why I posted it. We're all allowed our opinions but some of them are wrong. I only said Roberts was better the Sheene. Results proved it. We can't ignore Rossi, Rainey,Reid, Ago, Doohan Marquez and others before and since. All are my hero's even Sheen anytbody who gets on one of those things have bigger Cahoonas than I have. Then race against other nutters as well.

20/08/20 - Has to be Barry Sheen.. 👍

Posted by Lucy England
for Wemoto News on 18 August 2020 in Motorcycle Hero

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