25 Facts About Phil Read


Phil Read competed in Grand Prix motorcycle racing from 1961 to 1976.


Phil Read was named an FIM Legend in 2013 for his motorcycling achievements.


Phil Read's first road machine was a Velocette KSS which he started on at the UK legal-minimum riding age of sixteen in 1955, followed by a BSA Gold Star DBD32.


Phil Read started amateur short-circuit racing in 1958 on a Duke BSA Gold Star.


Phil Read placed second in the 350cc and 500cc races at the 1961 North West 200 in Northern Ireland on Manx Nortons.


Phil Read was a two-time winner of the Thruxton 500 endurance race in 1962 and 1963 riding Syd Lawton's Norton Dominator 650SS machines.


In 1963, the up and coming Phil Read was temporarily drafted-in to fill Derek Minter's absence in the Scuderia Duke Gilera Grand Prix team, as Minter had been seriously injured in May at Brands Hatch after a last-lap accident when dicing for the lead with Dunstall rider Dave Downer, after which Downer died.

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Phil Read came second to Hailwood in the Belgium GP 500cc race.


In 1964, Phil Read gave Yamaha their first world title when he won the 250cc class.


Phil Read took over from Frank Perris in 1967 as representative for the Grand Prix Riders' Association.


The Yamaha factory had wanted Phil Read to concentrate on winning the 125cc title and teammate Bill Ivy to take the 250cc crown.


Phil Read decided that the Metisse frame was too heavy, and despite intentions to manufacture a lighter race frame, he decided to abandon the Rickman frame in favour of a Reynolds frame built by Ken Sprayson for Tom Arter and his rider Peter Williams who had a project to replace their ageing Matchless G50.


Phil Read returned full-time to the Grands Prix circuit in 1971 on a very special privateer production Yamaha developed under the direction of the Dutchman, Ferry Brouwer with twin disc brakes, improved horsepower and aerodynamics together with help from Eric Cheney, Helmut Fath and Rod Quaife but no factory support.


In 1972 Phil Read accepted an offer to ride for the MV Agusta factory racing team in the 350 World Championship.


Phil Read successfully defended his 500cc crown in 1974 in what would be the last world championship for the legendary Italian marque.


Phil Read had 'guest' rides as part of the JPS team Norton for 1972, finishing fourth in the Daytona 200-mile race.


Phil Read entered TT events from 1977, winning the F1 race on the works Honda CB750 SOHC and Senior race on a Suzuki.


Phil Read competed in the 1978 TT against Mike Hailwood, who made a famous comeback riding a Ducati 900SS provided by Manchester dealer Sports Motorcycles.


Phil Read rode a Honda in the 24-hour Bol d'Or endurance race at Le Mans; and he won the Thruxton 500 endurance race in 1962 and 1963.


Phil Read was well-known within the racing paddock for his forthright and sometimes outspoken views, not least when it came to the dangers of the Snaefell Mountain Course.


In particular this reflected Phil Read's decision following the death of Gilberto Parlotti at the 1972 Isle of Man TT.


However in his defence Phil Read always maintained that his sentiment reflected riders being contractually required to race at the Isle of Man as part of a World Championship campaign, as opposed to having the freedom of conscience governing their decision.


In 1967, Phil Read was domiciled in the tax haven of Guernsey, where he had a business selling boats.


Phil Read opened a Honda dealership at Hersham, Surrey in 1979.


Phil Read lived in Canterbury Kent, spending the summers visiting race tracks around Europe and demonstrating some of the motorcycles from his racing career.

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