I swear that a butterfly landing on a leaf would have been heard by all. Then the starter’s flag dropped; there was the patter of feet and the spluttered cacophony of assorted two-stroke engines; but above it all was the booming howl of the small collection of Honda CR93s that resonated off the surrounding low hills and corrugated roofs of the paddock buildings. Their long open megaphone exhausts sent the cumulative decibels far and wide. It was 1964 and I, as a young ‘gofer’ for one of Lincolnshire’s finest, Derek Chatterton, competing with his CR93, was hooked. This was what racing was about! I was determined to compete myself some day, as and when finances allowed.
In the mid -1960s the lightweight racing machine to have was the beautifully designed and engineered 125cc Honda CR93. With regular check-ups and changes of oil (including warming up the oil over a Primus Stove on a cold day) the machine could go a full season without undue problems. This extremely reliable machine held sway until the advent of the race-kitted Yamaha AS1s and subsequent AS3 machines. So, by the time I started racing my Jack Machin-framed and race-kitted AS1 in the early 1970s, apart from their competing in the TT, they were totally out-performed. I remember on my very first 125cc outing at Croft (having competed on 50s previously) out-speeding one of the few remaining CR93s (that of Newcastle man Howard Smith) down the straight, but their time had passed and their value plummeted.
Read more in the May/June issue of Classic Racer – on sale now