Phil Read

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Phil Read
06-08-05-RupHoll-Phil Read -164.jpg
Phil Read on the Austrian Salzburgring.
Nationality British
Motorcycle racing career statistics
Grand Prix motorcycle racing
Active years 19611976
First race 1961 350cc Isle of Man TT
Last race 1976 500cc Nations Grand Prix
First win 1961 350cc Isle of Man TT
Last win 1975 500cc Czechoslovakian Grand Prix
Team(s) Yamaha, MV Agusta
Championships 125cc – 1968
250cc – 1964, 1965, 1968, 1971
500cc- 1973, 1974
Starts Wins Podiums Poles F. laps Points
152 52 121 4 31
Isle of Man TT career
TTs contested 14 (19611973, 1977)
TT wins 8
First TT win 1961 Junior TT
Last TT win 1977 Senior TT
Podiums 13
For the Australian rules footballer, see Phil Read.

Phillip William Read (born 1 January 1939 in Luton, England) is an English former Grand Prix motorcycle road racer nicknamed "The Prince of Speed."[1] Although he would often be overshadowed by his contemporary, Mike Hailwood, he would become the first man to win world championships in the 125cc, 250cc and 500cc classes.[1][2]

The Early years[edit]

Read was a keen road-rider and worked as an apprentice fitter at Brown and Green, a manufacturer of industrial machinery in Luton, Bedfordshire. He started amateur short-circuit racing in 1958 on a Duke BSA Gold Star.[3] In 1960 he won the Junior Manx Grand Prix on a Manx Norton at record speed[3] followed by the Junior (350cc) TT race in 1961.[4] He placed second in the 350cc and 500cc races at the 1961 North West 200 in Northern Ireland on Manx Nortons[5]

He was a two-time winner of the Thruxton 500 endurance race in 1962 and 1963 riding Syd Lawton's Norton Dominator 650SS machines.[6]

In 1963, up and coming Read was temporarily drafted-in to fill Derek Minter's absence in the Scuderia Duke Gilera Grand Prix team, as Minter had been seriously injured in May at Brands Hatch after a last-lap accident when dicing for the lead with Dunstall rider Dave Downer, after which Downer died.[7][8]

When contesting June's Isle of Man Senior TT, the Duke team claimed 2nd (Hartle) and 3rd (Read) to Mike Hailwood's MV, followed by Dutch TT at Assen where it was 1st (Hartle) and 2nd (Read) with Mike Hailwood's MV retiring in the 500cc class. Read was second to Hailwood in the Belgium GP 500cc race. Minter recovered and returned in time to reclaim his team place for the next event, the Ulster GP at Dundrod in August. The Scuderia Duke Gilera Grand Prix team disbanded at the end of 1963.[7][8]

The Two Stroke years[edit]

During the mid-1960s Yamaha had prolific riders in Read, Canadian Mike Duff and later Bill Ivy. In 1964, Read gave Yamaha their first world title when he won the 250cc class.[2] He would repeat as champion the following year.[2] For 1966, Yamaha would introduce a new, four cylinder 250cc bike. Teething problems with the new engine meant he would lose the crown to Hailwood. In 1967 he would battle Hailwood on his six-cylinder Honda all the way to the final round. They would end up tied but, Hailwood took the crown due to having five wins to Read's four.[2]

The 1968 season proved to be controversial for Read. The Yamaha factory had wanted Read to concentrate on winning the 125cc title and team-mate Bill Ivy to take the 250cc crown. After winning the 125cc championship, Read decided to disobey team orders and fight Ivy for the 250cc title.[1] They finished the season tied in the points and Read was awarded the championship based on elapsed times. It was a costly decision as Yamaha would never offer him another ride.[1]

In January 1969 Read lent his support to a project intended to provide racing engines to the general public – dubbed Read Weslake, it was a prototype Weslake four-stroke 500cc vertical twin, with four valves per cylinder and gear-driven camshafts. Initially the engine was installed into standard Rickman Street Metisse frame intended for a Triumph Bonneville engine.

Read was to be rider and development consultant. He decided that the Metisse frame was too heavy, and despite intentions to manufacture a lighter race frame, he decided to abandon the Rickman frame in favour of a Reynolds frame built by Ken Sprayson for Tom Arter and his rider Peter Williams who had a project to replace their ageing Matchless G50

Read was to be based at Weslake in Rye, England to develop the project further, releasing Peter Williams for his Norton work, but Read pulled out in November. The engine project continued, enlarging the capacity to 700cc in 1970 with some race entries sponsored by Geoff Monty before finally folding[9]

After sitting out most of the 1969 and 1970 seasons when the major Japanese factories all withdrew from Grand Prix racing, Read returned in 1971 on an Eric Cheney-modified, privateer Yamaha with no factory support.[10] On this bike he was able to claim his fifth world championship.[2]

The Four Stroke years[edit]

Phil Read's 1974 MV 500

In 1972 Read was given a ride with the MV Agusta team and in 1973, he took the 500cc title, the first World Championship won using Lockheed disc brakes.[2][11] He successfully defended his crown in 1974 in what would be the last world championship for the legendary Italian marque.[2] It would also be the last time a four-stroke machine would win a title until the advent of the MotoGP class in 2002.

Read also had 'guest' rides as part of the JPS team Norton for 1972, finishing fourth in the Daytona 200-mile race. Other riders were Norton factory employee Peter Williams and Tony Rutter as third rider. Rutter was soon replaced by John Cooper

On the MV he gave Agostini's Yamaha a strong fight for the 1975 500cc championship but finished in second place.[2] Realizing the writing was on the wall for four-stroke machinery, he left the Italian company to campaign a privateer Suzuki in the 1976 season after which he retired from Grand Prix racing.

Read entered TT events from 1977, winning the F1 (Formula 1) race on the works Honda CB750 SOHC and Senior race on a Suzuki.[12] Again on the Honda for 1978 F1, he recorded a DNF but was placed 4th in the Classic.[13]

Phil Read in 1975 wearing a Premier helmet in his usual desigh

These races led to Honda producing a limited-production of 150 'Phil Read Replica' Formula 1 race-styled roadsters based on the CB750F2 with styling accessories by Seeley in Honda Britain colours of blue and red.

During the same late-1970s period, Read gave his name to a range of motorcycle clothing and helmets, including a 'Phil Read Replica' full-face helmet with the familiar design and colour scheme of black with three white flashes and chequer strip

His last race was at the Isle of Man TT in 1982 at the age of 43.[14] The FIM named him a Grand Prix "Legend" in 2002.[15]

A less well-known aspect of Read's career was his involvement in endurance racing. He rode a Honda in the 24-hour Bol d'Or endurance race at Le Mans; and he was a two-time winner of the Thruxton 500 endurance race in 1962 and 1963

Grand Prix motorcycle racing results[2][14][edit]

Points system from 1950 to 1968:

Position 1 2 3 4 5 6
Points 8 6 4 3 2 1

Points system from 1969 onwards:

Position 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Points 15 12 10 8 6 5 4 3 2 1

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Class Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Points Rank Wins
1961 125cc EMC ESP
-
GER
-
FRA
-
IOM
NC
NED
4
BEL
-
DDR
-
ULS
-
NAT
-
SWE
-
ARG
-
3 12th 0
350cc Norton GER
-
IOM
1
NED
4
DDR
-
ULS
4
NAT
-
SWE
-
13 5th 1
500cc Norton GER
-
FRA
-
IOM
NC
NED
4
BEL
-
DDR
-
ULS
-
NAT
-
SWE
-
ARG
-
3 15th 0
1962 350cc Norton IOM
7
NED
6
ULS
-
DDR
-
NAT
-
FIN
-
1 15th 0
500cc Norton IOM
NC
NED
3
BEL
-
ULS
3
DDR
-
NAT
4
FIN
-
ARG
-
11 3rd 0
1963 250cc Yamaha ESP
-
GER
-
IOM
-
NED
-
BEL
-
ULS
-
DDR
-
NAT
-
ARG
-
JPN
3
4 10th 0
350cc Gilera GER
3
IOM
NC
NED
-
ULS
-
DDR
-
NAT
-
FIN
-
JPN
-
4 11th 0
500cc Gilera IOM
3
NED
2
BEL
2
ULS
-
DDR
-
NAT
-
FIN
-
ARG
-
JPN
-
16 4th 0
1964 125cc Yamaha USA
-
ESP
-
FRA
-
IOM
-
NED
2
GER
-
DDR
-
ULS
-
FIN
-
NAT
-
JPN
-
6 8th 0
250cc Yamaha USA
-
ESP
3
FRA
1
IOM
NC
NED
2
BEL
-
GER
1
DDR
1
ULS
1
NAT
1
JPN
-
46 1st 5
350cc AJS IOM
2
NED
-
GER
-
DDR
-
ULS
-
FIN
-
NAT
-
JPN
-
6 6th 0
500cc Matchless USA
2
IOM
NC
NED
6
BEL
2
GER
3
DDR
-
25 3rd 1
Norton ULS
1
FIN
-
NAT
-
JPN
-
1965 125cc Yamaha USA
-
GER
-
ESP
-
FRA
-
IOM
1
NED
-
DDR
-
CZE
-
ULS
-
FIN
-
NAT
-
JPN
-
8 10th 1
250cc Yamaha USA
1
GER
1
ESP
1
FRA
1
IOM
NC
NED
1
BEL
2
DDR
2
CZE
1
ULS
1
FIN
-
NAT
-
JPN
-
56 1st 7
350cc Yamaha GER
-
IOM
2
NED
-
DDR
-
CZE
-
ULS
-
FIN
-
NAT
-
JPN
-
6 9th 0
1966 125cc Yamaha ESP
4
GER
3
NED
3
DDR
4
CZE
-
FIN
1
ULS
3
IOM
2
NAT
4
JPN
5
29 4th 1
250cc Yamaha ESP
3
GER
-
FRA
-
NED
2
BEL
2
DDR
2
CZE
2
FIN
-
ULS
-
IOM
NC
NAT
-
JPN
2
34 2nd 0
350cc Yamaha GER
-
FRA
-
NED
-
DDR
-
CZE
-
FIN
-
ULS
-
IOM
-
NAT
-
JPN
1
8 8th 1
1967 125cc Yamaha ESP
2
GER
-
FRA
2
IOM
1
NED
1
BEL
-
DDR
2
CZE
-
FIN
-
ULS
2
NAT
-
CAN
-
JPN
-
40 2nd 2
250cc Yamaha ESP
1
GER
2
FRA
2
IOM
2
NED
-
BEL
-
DDR
1
CZE
1
FIN
-
ULS
-
NAT
1
CAN
2
JPN
-
50 2nd 4
1968 125cc Yamaha GER
1
ESP
-
IOM
1
NED
1
DDR
1
CZE
1
FIN
1
ULS
2
NAT
2
40 1st 6
250cc Yamaha GER
-
ESP
1
IOM
NC
NED
2
BEL
1
DDR
2
CZE
1
FIN
1
ULS
-
NAT
1
46 1st 5
1969 250cc Yamaha ESP
-
GER
-
FRA
-
IOM
NC
NED
-
BEL
-
DDR
-
CZE
-
FIN
-
ULS
-
NAT
1
YUG
-
15 13th 1
350cc Yamaha ESP
-
GER
-
IOM
NC
NED
-
DDR
-
CZE
-
FIN
-
ULS
-
NAT
1
YUG
-
15 13th 1
1970 250cc Yamaha GER
-
FRA
-
YUG
-
IOM
-
NED
2
BEL
-
DDR
-
CZE
-
FIN
-
ULS
-
NAT
3
ESP
-
22 12th 0
350cc Yamaha GER
-
YUG
-
IOM
-
NED
3
DDR
-
CZE
-
FIN
-
ULS
-
NAT
-
ESP
-
10 17th 0
1971 250cc Yamaha AUT
-
GER
1
IOM
1
NED
1
BEL
-
DDR
3
CZE
-
SWE
-
FIN
10
ULS
-
NAT
6
ESP
2
73 1st 3
350cc Yamaha AUT
-
GER
-
IOM
NC
NED
2
DDR
-
CZE
-
SWE
-
FIN
-
ULS
-
NAT
-
ESP
-
12 16th 0
500cc Ducati AUT
-
GER
-
IOM
-
NED
-
BEL
-
DDR
-
SWE
-
FIN
-
ULS
-
NAT
4
ESP
-
8 18th 0
1972 250cc Yamaha GER
-
FRA
1
AUT
-
NAT
-
IOM
1
YUG
-
NED
4
BEL
3
DDR
-
CZE
3
SWE
-
FIN
-
ESP
-
58 4th 2
350cc MV Agusta GER
-
FRA
-
AUT
-
NAT
4
IOM
NC
YUG
3
NED
5
DDR
1
CZE
-
SWE
2
FIN
-
ESP
-
51 5th 1
1973 350cc MV Agusta FRA
2
AUT
-
GER
-
NAT
-
IOM
-
YUG
-
NED
2
CZE
3
SWE
3
FIN
2
ESP
-
56 3rd 0
500cc MV Agusta FRA
2
AUT
-
GER
1
IOM
-
YUG
-
NED
1
BEL
2
CZE
2
SWE
1
FIN
2
ESP
1
84 1st 4
1974 500cc MV Agusta FRA
1
GER
-
AUT
-
NAT
3
IOM
-
NED
3
BEL
1
SWE
2
FIN
1
CZE
1
82 1st 4
1975 500cc MV Agusta FRA
3
AUT
3
GER
2
NAT
2
IOM
-
NED
3
BEL
1
SWE
2
FIN
-
CZE
1
76 2nd 2
1976 500cc Suzuki FRA
Ret
AUT
3
NAT
2
IOM
-
NED
-
BEL
-
SWE
-
FIN
-
CZE
-
GER
-
22 10th 0

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d 50 Years of Moto Grand Prix (1st edition). Hazelton Publishing Ltd, 1999. ISBN 1-874557-83-7
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Phil Read career statistics at MotoGP.com
  3. ^ a b [1] Phil Read's Official Site. Retrieved 28 May 2013
  4. ^ [2] IOM TT Official site. 1961 race results retrieved 29 May 2013
  5. ^ [3] Official NW200 Results 1961 Results Retrieved 2 June 2013
  6. ^ [4] Classic Bike Guide. Retrieved 13 May 2013
  7. ^ a b Mick Walker, The BSA Gold Star. Accessed 13 May 2013
  8. ^ a b Mick Walker, Geoff Duke: The Stylish Champion. Accessed 13 May 2013
  9. ^ [5] www.sintich.com Four valves per cylinder Retrieved 1 June 2013
  10. ^ Eric Cheney obituary
  11. ^ [6] AP Racing official site (was Lockheed disc brakes) Retrieved 28 May 2013
  12. ^ [7] IOM TT Database, Results, 1977 Races index page. Retrieved 13 May 2013
  13. ^ [8] IOM TT Database, Results, 1978 Classic Race. Retrieved 13 May 2013
  14. ^ a b Phil Read Isle of Man TT results at iomtt.com
  15. ^ MotoGP Legends at MotoGP.com

External links[edit]


Sporting positions
Preceded by
Giacomo Agostini
500cc Motorcycle World Champion
1973–1974
Succeeded by
Giacomo Agostini
Preceded by
None
TT Formula One World Champion
1977
Succeeded by
Mike Hailwood