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ring-a-dinging the changes

12th may 2003

It had to happen, but there'll be several damp eyes around the MotoGP world, I'm sure, as 2-stroke 500cc race bikes finally pass into the history books.

Nobuatsu Aoki and Jeremy McWilliams rode the wheels off their Proton KR3 triples to claim 10th and 12th places respectively in the Jerez GP. Next round will see them on the long awaited V5 four stroke, and the era of the stinkwheel will finally have come to an end.

Having raced 2 stroke 500s in the dim and distant past I for one will be having a quiet pint in honour of the passing of something special. They were relatively primitive, difficult to ride, unpredictable, environmentally unfriendly and occasionally downright dangerous. But they made for some of the best racing, and racers, ever. The development of racing 2 strokes gave reliable and relatively clean power to a generation of cheap smaller engined bikes, and that legacy lives on in the current 2 stroke commuter scooters you see every day.

Future developments may well see the 2 stroke becoming environmentally acceptable again, so don't write all that history off as just another technical blind alley for a while yet...





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