Farewell Itoh-san

Words: Tommy Robb

It is with great sadness that I write this tribute to a long-time Japanese Suzuki Team icon who was one of Suzuki’s flagship riders and my friend of 59 years.

When we first met each other at the 1960 TT, whilst sharing the same hotel, I was riding as a member of the Geoff Monty Team.

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His name (unknown way back then) was Mitsuo Itoh, a 22-year-old employee of the Suzuki Motorcycle Company in Japan.

His lifelong career was spent with Suzuki, working up through the ranks as an engineer and then joining the factory racing team to ride alongside his world champion team-mate Hugh Anderson.

22t8 1963 50cc TT – Mitsuo Itoh (Suzuki)

He supported him in the 50cc, 125cc and occasionally the 250 class on board the rather frightening 250 four, which in those days was prone to rapid engine seizures and christened ‘Whispering Death’ by short time Suzuki Team rider, Australian Jack Ahearn.

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Read more in the September/October 2019 issue of CR – on sale now!

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