Kiwi Rider January 2022 Vol.1 - Page 84

Mike Hailwood on the 500cc MV Augusta
Two-stroke machinery had also won every 500 Grand Prix since 1972 , at a time when the manufacturers
had no interest in promoting twostroke machinery . The answer seemed to be , if 500cc four-strokes couldn ’ t match the performance of the two-strokes , then the capacity of the fourstrokes must be almost double that of the two-strokes . The result , new the biggest bikes in the game were the 500s . It followed that they were , at the time , also the biggest bikes on the road , apart from the few exceptions .
THE BIG CHANGE The end of the 500s came in 2002 . It is said that the major factories were concerned about the growing distance between their large capacity , four-stroke road-going sports machines , and the two-stroke 500cc race bikes .
Above : Honda CB500 1969 .
Left : Geoff Duke on the single cylinder Norton , victory in 1951
rules from 2002 opened up the premier class to four-strokes up to 990cc . The 500cc class had effectively been consigned to history , but what a colourful history it was . From Les Graham ’ s AJS victory in the first World Championship ,