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Redman turns back the clock on the Kawasaki

Redman turns back the clock on the Kawasaki

Redman turns back the clock on the Kawasaki

Six times World Champion Jim Redman joined journalists from all over the world at Valencia on Monday for a test ride aboard the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR MotoGP machines of Shinya Nakano and Alex Hofmann at the ripe old age of 73.

The annual end of season test provided journalists with the opportunity to find out what Nakano and Hofmann experience each race weekend, as they put the Ninja ZX-RR through its paces around the circuit on which Nakano secured tenth place in the 2004 MotoGP World Championship standings just 24 hours previously.

And while many of the journalists, including Randy Mamola, Didier De Radigues and Steve Parrish, testing the Kawasaki were well known former racers, none could match the achievements of Redman, who notched up four 350cc and two 250cc world titles on a variety of factory Hondas. To this day, nobody has won more world titles for Honda than Redman.

At the height of his career, Redman achieved a unique triple win at the 1964 Dutch TT, where he took victory in the 125cc, 250cc and 350cc Grand Prix races in a single day - a feat that is unlikely ever to be matched in the modern era!

And if further proof of his versatility were needed, Redman also notched up six Isle of Man TT wins during his distinguished racing career.

Now living in South Africa, Redman still has a racer's blood running through his veins. The former factory Honda rider is a regular competitor at classic events throughout the world and, to a man, his rivals claim he hasn't lost the competitive streak that made him so successful on the Grand Prix circuit.

"It was absolutely fantastic, but I think I'd need at least a couple of ten lap sessions to do the bike justice," said Redman. "The power the bike produces makes it difficult to open the throttle because the front wheel just keeps coming up; even in between corners the front wheel just wants to come up all the time. I was trying to dig my heels in to put more weight on the front, but it just wants to take off."

"I guess at the age of 73 you can't expect to ride a bike like this the way you used to, but I'd love to give it another go. It really was fantastic," continued Redman.

But while Redman's list of achievements was the most impressive, he wasn't the only former World Champion to throw a leg over the Ninja ZX-RR at Valencia. Jorge 'Aspar' Martinez won three 80cc and one 125cc world titles, while Olivier Jacque narrowly beat current Fuchs Kawasaki rider, Shinya Nakano, to the 250cc crown in 2000. Between them Redman, Martinez and Jacque won a total of eleven World Championship titles between 1962 and 2000.

While the annual journalist test day is over, the work continues for the Kawasaki Racing Team. A three day test at Jerez at the end of November will be followed by a two day wet tyre test at Paul Ricard, before the winter test ban commences on 1st December.

MotoGP, 2004, Kawasaki Racing Team

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