Battle between Japanese giants Honda and Yamaha was renewed in grand style at the Austrian Grand Prix at the Salzburgring. After winning the 500cc World Championship in 1986, Yamaha had been struggling to match the pace of the Hondas.
And even without former double champion Freddie Spencer, Honda had very definitely taken the initiative thanks to the redoubtable endeavours of Australian Wayne Gardner, who had finished runner-up to Yamaha’s Eddie Lawson the season before.
The circuit calls for plenty of brute power coupled with good handling on the long sweeping curves, and riders, too, need massive courage.
But Gardner and Lawson aren’t short of such commodities and the rest of the Grand Prix regulars were aren’t short of such commodities and the rest of the Grand Prix regulars were in there and bidding to make an impression as the season approaches half-distance.
The rising British challenge was attracting deserved attention, and Ron Haslam (Honda), Roger Burnett (Honda), Rob McElnea (Yamaha) and Niall Mackenzie (Honda) were getting more and more admiration.
Randy Mamola and Mike Baldwin on the Lucky Strike Yamahas were having a difficult season, but Mamola was forced to go it alone after Baldwin’s injury forced withdrawal and new team mate Richard Scott would take a while to dial in.
Net result of this scenario was one of the most exciting and closely fought 500 GPs for many years.
Sit back and enjoy 55 minutes of scintillating action!