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Mike Pero to Ride Former Grand Prix Motorcycle

Mike Pero to Ride Former Grand Prix Motorcycle

Former multi New Zealand motorcycle champion Mike Pero is once again donning his helmet and leathers to compete at one of the largest gatherings of motorcycles to be held in New Zealand.

Pero left his Yamaha 350cc grand prix machine in 1982 when he was 22, claiming he was “too old to be racing motorcycles”.

He laughs now as he says: “I can’t believe I’m doing this again, 30 years later!”

At 52 Pero has decided to join more than 200 other riders from New Zealand and Australia at the first major Trans Tasman challenge of post-classic racing machines.

The event will celebrate the racing career of Barry Sheene, a charismatic twice World Champion on 500cc grand prix motorcycles.

Sheene died in 2003 of cancer but was at his career peak in the late '70s and early '80s, where he won the hearts of millions of motorcycle fans across the world.

Sheene and his model wife Stephanie were the David & Victoria Beckham of the their day.

Pero says it's been “a real mission getting fit enough to even get his leg over the bike”.

“As a teenager racing these bikes came naturally – I was always race-fit but now in my 50s it’s been hard work. I’ve been in the gym training 2-3 times a week, building upper body muscles that haven’t been used for three decades

“Racing these bikes is like hanging on to a guided missile with handle bars.

“With speeds at well over 200kmh, it requires a super high level of fitness and quick thinking… I’ve been working on all these between brief track testing sessions.

“I’d like to think I can circulate well among the mid-field but I’m also under no illusion that there’s a bunch of my former colleagues who have kept their race fitness all the way through – some have been 40 years on these bikes and are ‘really fast’.
“I’m just hoping to have a fun weekend and to bring the bike and myself back in one piece.

The Barry Sheene Memorial Trans Tasman Challenge will be held on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday of Labour Weekend at Hampton Downs Raceway between Hamilton and Auckland.

Pero set a New Zealand Landspeed record of 238kmh on a 350cc motorcycle in 1979 and today still holds the record of winning four New Zealand Grand Prix titles in one day on three different motorcycles – 125cc; 250cc; 350cc and 500cc in 1981.

More information
Machine: Yamaha TZ350J Factory Production Grand Prix Machine 350cc two stroke twin, watercooled, triple disc brakes; 106 kg dry weight; 72bhp; 238kph+
Owner: Rod Price, Wanaka
Sponsors: Helicraft Helicopter Services; Mike Pero Real Estate; Pacific Resort Hotels (Cook Islands)

Mike Pero Results
New Zealand Road Race Champion 410cc Production Class 1979
New Zealand Road Race Champion 410cc Production Class 1980
New Zealand Road Race Champion 500cc Racing Class 1980
New Zealand Road Race Champion 350cc Racing Class 1980
New Zealand Road Race Champion 350cc Racing Class 1981
New Zealand Road Race Champion 500cc Racing Class 1981
New Zealand Grand Prix 125cc Racing Class 1981
New Zealand Grand Prix 250cc Racing Class 1981
New Zealand Grand Prix 350cc Racing Class 1981
New Zealand Grand Prix 500cc Racing Class 1981

New Zealand Land speed record 350cc Motorcycle (current) 238khr


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