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Freddie Spencer Recalls The Greatest Day, Mugello 1985

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When Freddie Spencer points to a particular day as the highpoint of an extraordinary career that brought about three world championships, and a near constant rewriting of the record books of the time, you’d certainly be expectant of something special. The year, unsurprisingly, was 1985.

Before then, the enigmatic Louisianan had made a mockery of most operating at the pinnacle of the sport, amassing achievements and records at a dizzying rate during his teens and early twenties. No one had done so in such blazing fashion since the great Mike Hailwood two decades before.

As if becoming the youngest 500cc grand prix winner at the time at just 20 years and 196 days of age in 1982 wasn’t enough, his defeating of the legendary Kenny Roberts Sr. a year later marked the arrival of a new shade of American splendor.

Make no mistake, ‘The King’ brought his A-game to the table in ’83. But Freddie took his reputation to the stars as their ferocious year-long battle culminated in Honda’s first 500cc championship.

By the tender age of 21 and 258 days (another new record), Spencer had already earned a place among the pantheon of the greats.

Even alongside these feats, Spencer’s greatest day in the sun doesn’t disappoint: a 250cc and 500cc double at Mugello, one of motorsport’s mythical venues, in a year which saw him operating at the absolute peak of his powers. By the mid-80s it all came so easily to him he likened manhandling a 180bhp 500cc two-stroke to “getting out of bed.” 

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Neil Morrison

A venerable encyclopedia of grand prix racing information, Neil's words can often be read in the top racing publications around the world, and his full-toned voice can be heard as a regular member of the Paddock Pass Podcast.

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