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Phil Read is confirmed dead at the age of 83.

And then the end came swiftly for Phil Read. So damn sad.
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Phil Read
MBE
06-08-05-RupHoll-Phil Read -164.jpg
Phil Read at the Austrian Salzburgring.
NationalityBritish
Born(1939-01-01)1 January 1939
Bedfordshire, Luton, England
Died6 October 2022(2022-10-06) (aged 83)
TT wins8First TT win1961 Junior TTLast TT win1977 Senior TTTT podiums13
Phillip William Read, MBE (1 January 1939 – 6 October 2022) was an English professional motorcycle racer. He competed in Grand Prix motorcycle racing from 1961 to 1976. Read is notable for being the first competitor to win world championships in the 125 cc, 250 cc and 500 cc classes. Although he was often overshadowed by his contemporary, Mike Hailwood, he won seven FIM Grand Prix road racing world championships. In 2013, Read was named an FIM Legend for his motorcycling achievements.
Contents
1 The Early years
2 The Two Stroke years
3 The Four Stroke years
4 Business interests
5 Grand Prix motorcycle racing results
6 References
7 External links
The Early years
Read appeared on a 1969 Yemeni stamp
Born in the large Bedfordshire town of Luton on 1 January 1939, Read was a keen road-rider and worked as an apprentice fitter at Brown and Green, a Luton manufacturer of industrial machinery. His 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. He started amateur short-circuit racing in 1958 on a Duke BSA Gold Star. In 1960 he won the Junior Manx Grand Prix on a Manx Norton at record speed followed by the Junior (350cc) TT race in 1961. He placed second in the 350cc and 500cc races at the 1961 North West 200 in Northern Ireland on Manx Nortons
He 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, up and coming 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.
The 1963 Isle of Man Senior TT was won by Mike Hailwood on an MV, while the Duke team came 2nd (John Hartle) and 3rd (Read). In the following Dutch TT at Assen, the finishing order was: 1st (Hartle), 2nd (Read), with Mike Hailwood's MV retiring in the 500cc class. Read came second to Hailwood in the Belgium GP 500cc race. Minter recovered and returned in time to reclaim his team place for the next event, the Ulster GP at Dundrod in August. The Scuderia Duke Gilera Grand Prix team disbanded at the end of 1963.
The Two Stroke years
During the mid-1960s Yamaha had prolific riders in Read, Canadian Mike Duff and later Bill Ivy. In 1964, Read gave Yamaha their first world title when he won the 250cc class. He would repeat as champion the following year. For 1966, Yamaha would introduce a new, four cylinder 250cc bike. Teething problems with the new engine meant he would lose the crown to Hailwood. In 1967 he would battle Hailwood on his six-cylinder Honda all the way to the final round. They would end up tied but, Hailwood took the crown due to having five wins to Read's four. Read took over from Frank Perris in 1967 as representative for the Grand Prix Riders' Association.
Read on 250 Yamaha number 61 following Mike Hailwood 35 with Rod Gould 33 close behind, around 1967 at Cadwell Park
The 1968 season proved to be controversial for Read. The Yamaha factory had wanted Read to concentrate on winning the 125cc title and teammate Bill Ivy to take the 250cc crown. After winning the 125cc championship, Read decided to disobey team orders and fight Ivy for the 250cc title. They finished the season tied in the points and Read was awarded the championship based on elapsed times. It proved a costly decision for Read, as Yamaha would never offer him another ride.
In January 1969 Read lent his support to a project intended to provide racing engines to the general public – dubbed Read Weslake, it was a prototype Weslake four-stroke 500cc vertical twin, with four valves per cylinder and gear-driven camshafts. Initially the engine was installed into standard Rickman Street Metisse frame intended for a Triumph Bonneville engine.
Read was to be rider and development consultant. He 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 (8) finished second at the 1970 Dutch TT
Read was to be based at Weslake in Rye, England to develop the project further, releasing Peter Williams for his Norton work, but Read pulled out in November. The engine project continued, enlarging the capacity to 700cc in 1970 with some race entries sponsored by Geoff Monty before finally folding
After sitting out most of the 1969 and 1970 grand prix seasons when the major Japanese factories all withdrew from Grands Prix racing, he concentrated on the major British and European international meetings.
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 (frame), Helmut Fath (dry clutch) and Rod Quaife (six speed transmission) but no factory support. On this bike he was able win the first three Grands Prix of the season and go on to claim his fifth world championship.
The Four Stroke years
Phil Read's 1974 MV 500
Phil Read in 1975 wearing a Premier helmet in his usual desigh
In 1972 Read accepted an offer to ride for the MV Agusta factory racing team in the 350 World Championship. In 1973, riding in both the 350 and 500 classes, he took the 500cc title, the first World Championship won using Lockheed disc brakes. He successfully defended his crown in 1974 in what would be the last world championship for the legendary Italian marque. It would also be the last time a four-stroke machine would win a title until the advent of the MotoGP class in 2002.
Read also had 'guest' rides as part of the JPS team Norton for 1972, finishing fourth in the Daytona 200-mile race. Other riders were Norton factory employee Peter Williams and Tony Rutter as third rider. Rutter was soon replaced by John Cooper
On the MV he gave Agostini's Yamaha a strong fight for the 1975 500cc championship but finished in second place. Realizing the writing was on the wall for four-stroke machinery, he left the Italian company to campaign a privateer Suzuki in the 1976 season after which he retired from Grand Prix racing.
Read entered TT events from 1977, winning the F1 (Formula 1) race on the works Honda CB750 SOHC and Senior race on a Suzuki. Again on the Honda for 1978 F1, he recorded a DNF but was placed 4th in the Classic. These races led to Honda producing a limited-production of 150 'Phil Read Replica' Formula 1 race-styled roadsters based on the CB750F2 with styling accessories by Seeley in Honda Britain colours of blue and red.
He competed in the 1978 TT against Mike Hailwood, who made a famous comeback riding a Ducati 900SS provided by Manchester dealer Sports Motorcycles. Read's last race was at the Isle of Man TT in 1982 at the age of 43. The FIM named him a Grand Prix "Legend" in 2002.
A lesser-known aspect of Read's career was his involvement in endurance racing. He rode a Honda in the 24-hour Bol d'Or endurance race at Le Mans; and he was a two-time winner of the Thruxton 500 endurance race in 1962 and 1963.
Business interests
In 1967, Read was domiciled in the tax haven of Guernsey, where he had a business selling boats.
During the 1970s period, Read started to distribute Premier helmets and gave his name to a range of motorcycle clothing, including marketing a 'Phil Read Replica' full-face helmet with the familiar design and colour scheme of black with three white flashes and chequer strip.
Read also opened a Honda dealership at Hersham, Surrey in 1979.
Today Read lives in Canterbury Kent, spending the summers visiting race tracks around Europe and demonstrating some of the motorcycles from his racing career.
Following the death of John Surtees on 10 March 2017, Read is now the oldest British surviving 500 cc/MotoGP World Champion.
Grand Prix motorcycle racing results
Points system from 1950 to 1968:
Position
1
2
3
4
5
6
Points
8
6
4
3
2
1
Points system from 1969 onwards:
Position
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Points
15
12
10
8
6
5
4
3
2
1
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)
Year
Class
Team
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
Points
Rank
Wins
1961
125cc
EMC
ESP-
GER-
FRA-
IOMNC
NED4
BEL-
DDR-
ULS-
NAT-
SWE-
ARG-
3
12th
0
350cc
Norton
GER-
IOM1
NED4
DDR-
ULS4
NAT-
SWE-
13
5th
1
500cc
Norton
GER-
FRA-
IOMNC
NED4
BEL-
DDR-
ULS-
NAT-
SWE-
ARG-
3
15th
0
1962
350cc
Norton
IOM7
NED6
ULS-
DDR-
NAT-
FIN-
1
15th
0
500cc
Norton
IOMNC
NED3
BEL-
ULS3
DDR-
NAT4
FIN-
ARG-
11
3rd
0
1963
250cc
Yamaha
ESP-
GER-
IOM-
NED-
BEL-
ULS-
DDR-
NAT-
ARG-
JPN3
4
10th
0
350cc
Gilera
GER3
IOMNC
NED-
ULS-
DDR-
NAT-
FIN-
JPN-
4
11th
0
500cc
Gilera
IOM3
NED2
BEL2
ULS-
DDR-
NAT-
FIN-
ARG-
JPN-
16
4th
0
1964
125cc
Yamaha
USA-
ESP-
FRA-
IOM-
NED2
GER-
DDR-
ULS-
FIN-
NAT-
JPN-
6
8th
0
250cc
Yamaha
USA-
ESP3
FRA1
IOMNC
NED2
BEL-
GER1
DDR1
ULS1
NAT1
JPN-
46
1st
5
350cc
AJS
IOM2
NED-
GER-
DDR-
ULS-
FIN-
NAT-
JPN-
6
6th
0
500cc
Matchless
USA2
IOMNC
NED6
BEL2
GER3
DDR-
25
3rd
1
Norton
ULS1
FIN-
NAT-
JPN-
1965
125cc
Yamaha
USA-
GER-
ESP-
FRA-
IOM1
NED-
DDR-
CZE-
ULS-
FIN-
NAT-
JPN-
8
10th
1
250cc
Yamaha
USA1
GER1
ESP1
FRA1
IOMNC
NED1
BEL2
DDR2
CZE1
ULS1
FIN-
NAT-
JPN-
56
1st
7
350cc
Yamaha
GER-
IOM2
NED-
DDR-
CZE-
ULS-
FIN-
NAT-
JPN-
6
9th
0
1966
125cc
Yamaha
ESP4
GER3
NED3
DDR4
CZE-
FIN1
ULS3
IOM2
NAT4
JPN5
29
4th
1
250cc
Yamaha
ESP3
GER-
FRA-
NED2
BEL2
DDR2
CZE2
FIN-
ULS-
IOMNC
NAT-
JPN2
34
2nd
0
350cc
Yamaha
GER-
FRA-
NED-
DDR-
CZE-
FIN-
ULS-
IOM-
NAT-
JPN1
8
8th
1
1967
125cc
Yamaha
ESP2
GER-
FRA2
IOM1
NED1
BEL-
DDR2
CZE-
FIN-
ULS2
NAT-
CAN-
JPN-
40
2nd
2
250cc
Yamaha
ESP1
GER2
FRA2
IOM2
NED-
BEL-
DDR1
CZE1
FIN-
ULS-
NAT1
CAN2
JPN-
50
2nd
4
1968
125cc
Yamaha
GER1
ESP-
IOM1
NED1
DDR1
CZE1
FIN1
ULS2
NAT2
40
1st
6
250cc
Yamaha
GER-
ESP1
IOMNC
NED2
BEL1
DDR2
CZE1
FIN1
ULS-
NAT1
46
1st
5
1969
250cc
Yamaha
ESP-
GER-
FRA-
IOMNC
NED-
BEL-
DDR-
CZE-
FIN-
ULS-
NAT1
YUG-
15
13th
1
350cc
Yamaha
ESP-
GER-
IOMNC
NED-
DDR-
CZE-
FIN-
ULS-
NAT1
YUG-
15
13th
1
1970
250cc
Yamaha
GER-
FRA-
YUG-
IOM-
NED2
BEL-
DDR-
CZE-
FIN-
ULS-
NAT3
ESP-
22
12th
0
350cc
Yamaha
GER-
YUG-
IOM-
NED3
DDR-
CZE-
FIN-
ULS-
NAT-
ESP-
10
17th
0
1971
250cc
Yamaha
AUT-
GER1
IOM1
NED1
BEL-
DDR3
CZE-
SWE-
FIN10
ULS-
NAT6
ESP2
73
1st
3
350cc
Yamaha
AUT-
GER-
IOMNC
NED2
DDR-
CZE-
SWE-
FIN-
ULS-
NAT-
ESP-
12
16th
0
500cc
Ducati
AUT-
GER-
IOM-
NED-
BEL-
DDR-
SWE-
FIN-
ULS-
NAT4
ESP-
8
18th
0
1972
250cc
Yamaha
GER-
FRA1
AUT-
NAT-
IOM1
YUG-
NED4
BEL3
DDR-
CZE3
SWE-
FIN-
ESP-
58
4th
2
350cc
MV Agusta
GER-
FRA-
AUT-
NAT4
IOMNC
YUG3
NED5
DDR1
CZE-
SWE2
FIN-
ESP-
51
5th
1
1973
350cc
MV Agusta
FRA2
AUT-
GER-
NAT-
IOM-
YUG-
NED2
CZE3
SWE3
FIN2
ESP-
56
3rd
0
500cc
MV Agusta
FRA2
AUT-
GER1
IOM-
YUG-
NED1
BEL2
CZE2
SWE1
FIN2
ESP1
84
1st
4
1974
500cc
MV Agusta
FRA1
GER-
AUT-
NAT3
IOM-
NED3
BEL1
SWE2
FIN1
CZE1
82
1st
4
1975
500cc
MV Agusta
FRA3
AUT3
GER2
NAT2
IOM-
NED3
BEL1
SWE2
FIN-
CZE1
76
2nd
2
1976
500cc
Suzuki
FRARet
AUT3
NAT2
IOM-
NED-
BEL-
SWE-
FIN-
CZE-
GER-
22
10th
0
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Motorcycle racing career statistics
Grand Prix motorcycle racing
Active years19611976
First race1961 350cc Isle of Man TT
Last race1976 500cc Nations Grand Prix
First win1961 350cc Isle of Man TT
Last win1975 500cc Czechoslovakian Grand Prix
Team(s)Yamaha, MV Agusta
Championships125cc – 1968
250cc – 1964, 1965, 1968, 1971
500cc- 1973, 1974
Formula TT – 1977
StartsWinsPodiumsPolesF. lapsPoints
15252121431
Isle of Man TT career
TTs contested14 (19611973, 1977)