The idea behind GP Originals is to present the sights, sounds and smells of the Post Classic period. The 1970s and early ’80s was an exciting time for motorcycle Grand Prix – probably the last era when privateers had a genuine chance of mixing it with works bikes.
The series has been inspired by the machines invited to participate in the Hailwood Trophy – a prestigious motorcycle race held at the Goodwood Members’ Meeting for original specification Grand Prix motorcycles. These two-stroke machines are synomymous with the multiple World Championship winning TZ Yamahas, however we also play host to some rarer machinery including Kawasaki and Harley-Davidson. Frame makers of the day include Maxton, Juchem and Spondon are also well represented.
We have two classes, 250cc up to 31/12/1984 and 350cc up to 31/12/1981 – the aim is to keep these bikes as original as possible within current racing regulations. The major visible parts must keep the period look and we actively encourage riders to prepare their machines using paint schemes and sponsors’ liveries of the day. Our riders must use treaded racing tyres and cannot use wets or tyre warmers no matter what the weather may bring!
It is important for spectators to look out for the coloured number boards. Those with green backgrounds are the smaller 250cc machines, the blue backgrounds indicate the bike is a 350. We expect several of the smaller bikes to be mixing it with the 350s so watch out for some lively racing particularly in the corners.
The smell of Castrol-R is a fond memory for many motorcycle racing fans. To this effect, despite being a fledgling series, GP Originals is rapidly growing. We are immensly proud that several of our entrants genuinely raced these bikes when they were the newest and best kit you could buy and are still passionate about racing them today.
The ages of competitors on our grid can often span five decades. However, do not discount some of the more ‘experienced’ riders – some have featured on the grid of International Grand Prix, the top steps of British Championships and Manx Grand Prix.
The weekend at Donington Park
The sweeping curves and flowing lines of Donington Park highlight the thrills of racing a real Grand Prix two-stroke. For many riders, this circuit can be counted as one of their all-time favourites.
Our riders will compete against the clock in a timed qualifying session to establish the weekend’s grid positions. We will then battle it out over good length races. Machine preparation on these delicate engines is paramount with only a few hundred miles between rebuilds. If you look around the paddock you will notice that our teams are some of the busiest in between sessions!
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