Wednesday, Jeez it comes round quickly! And 20 years, just as fast.
I’ve been following Motogp, the premier class of Motorbike racing for 2 decades so my memory only stretches back as far as 1987 and Wayne Gardner’s title.
But in all those years since, Jeremy Burgess has been at the center of the wheel that wins World titles.
His first title as Chief Mechanic was with Wayne. Then there were 5 in a row with Michael Doohan (and probably more to come if injury hadn’t forced Mick into retirement in 1999).
Seven more followed with Valentino Rossi on both Honda and then Yamaha motorbikes.
But what really makes the achievements so special is that his success neatly straddled the 2T and 4T eras and we all Know Two stroke racing was the purer form of competition.
Sometimes I think I’m more a Jeremy Burgess fan then the riders he is campaigning for.
The one glaring blemish on his record was the two lost years at Ducati. In particular the infamous 80 second comment that Casey Stoner took umbrage with. But you know Casey’s a young guy, a little prickly at the best of times and he and Valentino loathed each other. Just because you’re fast and famous doesn’t necessarily mean what you say is right or even smart. Burgess’s full quote was:
“I can watch some of these lesser riders on the Ducatis and you can see that the bikes are, in my opinion, unsuitably set for what they want to try and do with them. I’m not saying anybody’s doing a bad job. I see these things wobbling around. When I think, clearly, if we had that issue with Valentino it’d be fixed in 80 seconds, but some riders don’t like the hardness of the bike, because they don’t get the feel. But then when they’re riding around and it’s too soft they’re not going forward either.”
I’ve read that quote a dozen times front, back and upside down and I can’t see a personal slight to Stoner, his team or Ducati in there. In fact i think he is going out of his way to distinguish Casey from the other Ducati riders with his “lesser riders” qualifier. He doesn’t say we can fix the Ducati in 80 seconds he says that he could fix a setup issue in 80 seconds. He also doesn’t say that Ducati’s crew is incapable of fixing it either. If you read it properly he says that in many cases it isn’t fixed because of the riders preference.
I reckon Casey went off half cocked.
Anyway, I’m not sure where this photo came from? I’ve lugged it round from Hard Drive to Hard Drive as computers have died. It’s probably a scan from an old book but I love Jeremy’s pose (Stiffly upright, a little ungainly, even a smidgen embarrassed – school-boyish like he’s trying to tuck his shirt in at a school formal)
And of course he is standing next to a RG500. I have probably a bike and a half of the road going version of the big Suzuki in boxes in the garage. It’s very likely the only thing of value in my shed and even then it would need a major injection of money and talent to get it running (both in short supply). Part of the point of Wednesday posts is to dig up an image that as far as I know isn’t already on the internet or is tucked away in some obscure by-water of the web, which come to think of it describes M.O.W.
So Keeping to that theme and matching it. Here is a link to a lovely little bio piece hosted on Mr Burgess’s old amateur Racing Club site The Phoenix Motorcycle Club. A couple of interesting things in the article. The “don’t hand him a spanner” quote was unexpected and check out the Club’s Hall of Fame (there are some impressive names on it).