Regaining the Summit
In 1959, five years after announcing its March 1954 entry in the Isle of Man TT Race, Honda began its all-out effort to achieve glory on the racing circuit. Surprisingly, it took Honda only a few years to reach the summit on that journey. Supporting this rapid advance were innumerable technical innovations, including the multi-cylinder engine and cam-driven geartrain.
The British GP held at the Silverstone Circuit on August 12, 1979. Because the NR500's engines were not quick to start, they had to fight a difficult battle right from the beginning. Push-starting was the only alternative.
Honda successfully avoided the mid-1960s trend toward 2-stroke engines. In fact, once it had made DOHC 4-cylinder engine technology an industry standard, Honda went on to make the six-cylinder DOHC powerplant a reality with its RC166 250-cc and RC174 350-cc machines. Boasting a mechanism lauded for its "clockwork precision," the new high-revolution, high-output engine outperformed its rivals, leaving behind a trademark exhaust note that fans soon popularized as "Honda Music."
The year 1966 was one in which Honda became the first manufacturer in the history of the World Motorcycle Grand Prix (World GP) to win all five classes of the series. Deciding that its original goal had been met, Honda then withdrew from the World GP circuit in 1967.
Just like the racing machines it created, Honda ran through the 1960s with great speed, transforming itself from a manufacturer from the small island nation of Japan into the world's top name in motorcycles. Thus, Honda closed the book on its World GP story, with numerous victories in hand.