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1977 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season

Season summaryEdit

Suzuki saw off a strong challenge from Yamaha to take their second consecutive 500cc crown. Angel Nieto made it three 50cc titles in a row on a Bultaco while Morbidelli would win an impressive double world championship in the 125cc and 250cc divisions. Pier Paolo Bianchi successfully defended his 125cc title while fellow countryman Mario Lega captured the 250cc championship for the tiny Italian concern. The 350cc crown went to Takazumi Katayama on a special three cylinder Yamaha built in Holland, making him the first-ever Japanese world champion. Barry Sheene made it two premier titles in a row, winning from two Americans, Steve Baker and Pat Hennen.[1]

The season was marred by numerous fatal accidents, including a terrible crash at the 350cc Austrian Grand Prix that claimed the life of Swiss rider, Hans Stadelmann and seriously injuring Johnny Cecotto, Patrick Fernandez, Dieter Braun and Franco Uncini.[1][2] The accident led to a rider's strike in the 500 class, although organizers pressed on with Jack Findlay winning from a reduced field of competitors.[3] Braun decided to end his riding career after recovering from his injuries.[4]

In addition to this incident, the Yugoslavian Grand Prix at the notorious Opatija Circuit was also stricken by tragedy. After having been issued an ultimatum by the FIM, the Yugoslavian race organizers failed to take action to improve the safety of the circuit - which was notorious for its numerous road-side hazards including solid rock walls and steep, barely protected drop offs.[5] The event was a disaster with Italian rider, Giovanni Ziggiotto, crashing during practice for the 250cc race when his motorcycle's engine seized and he was hit from behind by Per-Edward Carlson.[6] He died four days later in a hospital.[7] During the 50 cc race, Ulrich Graf crashed when his bike developed a rear tire puncture and he was thrown into a stone wall.[6] He suffered serious head injuries and died later in a hospital.[5] The Opatija Circuit was never used again for any kind of racing and, the Yugoslavian Grand Prix was moved to the nearby Rijeka permanent circuit.[6]

Despite finishing second in the 500cc championship and winning the Formula 750 title, Baker would be released by Yamaha at the end of the year.[1] Giacomo Agostini would retire after the season, ending his seventeen-year career with a record 122 Grand Prix victories and 15 World Championships.[1]

1977 Grand Prix season calendarEdit

Round Date Race Location 50cc winner 125cc winner 250cc winner 350cc winner 500cc winner Report
1 March 20   Venezuelan Grand Prix San Carlos   Angel Nieto   Walter Villa   Johnny Cecotto   Barry Sheene Report
2 May 1   Austrian Grand Prix Salzburgring   Eugenio Lazzarini Race cancelled[N 1]   Jack Findlay Report
3 May 8   German Grand Prix Hockenheim   Herbert Rittberger   Pier Paolo Bianchi   Christian Sarron   Takazumi Katayama   Barry Sheene Report
4 May 15   Nations Grand Prix Imola   Eugenio Lazzarini   Pier Paolo Bianchi   Franco Uncini   Alan North   Barry Sheene Report
5 May 22   Spanish Grand Prix Jarama   Angel Nieto   Pier Paolo Bianchi   Takazumi Katayama   Michel Rougerie Report
6 May 29   French Grand Prix Paul Ricard   Pier Paolo Bianchi   Jon Ekerold   Takazumi Katayama   Barry Sheene Report
7 June 19   Yugoslavian Grand Prix Opatija   Angel Nieto   Pier Paolo Bianchi   Mario Lega   Takazumi Katayama Report
8 June 25   Dutch TT Assen   Angel Nieto   Angel Nieto   Mick Grant   Kork Ballington   Wil Hartog Report
9 July 3   Belgian Grand Prix Spa   Eugenio Lazzarini   Pier Paolo Bianchi   Walter Villa   Barry Sheene Report
10 July 24   Swedish Grand Prix Anderstorp   Ricardo Tormo   Angel Nieto   Mick Grant   Takazumi Katayama   Barry Sheene Report
11 July 31   Finnish Grand Prix Imatra   Pier Paolo Bianchi   Walter Villa   Takazumi Katayama   Johnny Cecotto Report
12 August 7   Czechoslovakian Grand Prix Brno   Franco Uncini   Johnny Cecotto   Johnny Cecotto Report
13 August 14   British Grand Prix Silverstone   Pierluigi Conforti   Kork Ballington   Kork Ballington   Pat Hennen Report

Final standingsEdit

500cc standingsEdit

Place Rider Number Country Machine Points Wins
1   Barry Sheene 7 United Kingdom Suzuki 107 6
2   Steve Baker 32 United States Yamaha 80 0
3   Pat Hennen 40 United States Suzuki 67 1
4   Johnny Cecotto Venezuela Yamaha 50 2
5   Steve Parrish United Kingdom Suzuki 39 0
6   Giacomo Agostini 1 Italy Yamaha 37 0
7   Franco Bonera Italy Suzuki 37 0
8   Philippe Coulon 6 Switzerland Suzuki 36 0
9   Teuvo Lansivuori 2 Finland Suzuki 35 0
10   Wil Hartog Netherlands Suzuki 30 1
11 Marco Lucchinelli 25
12 Virginio Ferrari 21
13 Michel Rougerie 21
14 Armando Toracca 21
15 Max Wiener 20
16 Jack Findlay 17
17 Alex George 15
18 Helmut Kassner 9
19 Steve Wright 6
20 Franz Heller 6
21 Christian Estrosi 6
22 Micheal Schmid 5
23 John Newbold 4
24 Derek Chatterton 4
25 Anton Mang 4
26 Charlie Williams 4
27 Boet Van Dulmen 3
28 Jean Philippe Orban 2
29 Franz Rau 2
30 Kevin Wrettom 1
31 Alan North 1
32 Karl Auer 1

350cc standingsEdit

Place Rider Number Country Machine Points Wins
1   Takazumi Katayama 7 Japan Yamaha 95 5
2   Tom Herron 4 United Kingdom Yamaha 56 0
3   Jon Ekerold South Africa Yamaha 54 0
4   Michel Rougerie France Yamaha 50 1
5   Kork Ballington South Africa Yamaha 46 2
6   Olivier Chevallier 9 France Yamaha 39 0
7   Christian Sarron France Yamaha 38 0
8   Patrick Fernandez France Yamaha 34 0
9   Johnny Cecotto 2 Venezuela Yamaha 30 2
10   Alan North South Africa Yamaha 30 1
11 Bruno Kneubühler 24
12 Victor Soussan 21
13 Penti Korhonen 20
14 Pekka Nurmi 18
15 Victor Palomo 18
16 Giacomo Agostini 16
17 Patrick Pons 15
18 Walter Villa 14
19 Mario Lega 12
20 Franco Uncini 11
21 John Dodds 11
22 John Williams 10
23 Eero Hyvärinen 10
24 Eddie Roberts 8
25 Philip Bouzanne 6
26 Alan Stewart 6
27 P.Mezerhane 4
28 Seppo Rossi 4
29 Helmut Kassner 4
30 Michel Frutschi 4
31 Jean Claude Hogrel 3
32 C.Bellon 3
33 Tapio Virtanen 3
34 Eduardo Aleman 2
35 D.Boulom 2
36 A.Hockley 1
37 R.Tausani 1
38 John Newbold 1
39 Karl Auer 1
40 Chas Mortimer 1

250cc standingsEdit

Place Rider Number Country Machine Points Wins
1   Mario Lega Italy Morbidelli 85 1
2   Franco Uncini Italy Harley-Davidson 72 2
3   Walter Villa 1 Italy Harley-Davidson 67 3
4   Takazumi Katayama Japan Yamaha 58 1
5   Tom Herron 4 United Kingdom Yamaha 54 0
6   Kork Ballington South Africa Yamaha 49 1
7   Alan North 6 South Africa Yamaha 43 0
8   Mick Grant United Kingdom Kawasaki 42 2
9   Jon Ekerold South Africa Yamaha 42 1
10   Patrick Fernandez France Yamaha 28 0
11 Barry Ditchburn 27
12 Victor Soussan 25
13 Olivier Chevallier 25
14 Christian Sarron 23
15 Aldo Nannini 19
16 Penti Korhonen 15
17 Akihiko Kiyohara 14
18 Guy Bertin 11
19 Pekka Nurmi 11
20 Victor Palomo 10
21 Eric Saul 10
22 John Dodds 9
23 Vinicio Salmi 8
24 Masahiro Wada 8
25 Pierluigi Conforti 6
26 Bruno Kneubühler 6
27 Michel Rougerie 6
28 Chas Mortimer 5
29 Jean-François Baldé 4
30 Eero Hyvärinen 3
31 Philip Bouzanne 2
32 Paolo Pileri 2
33 Patrick Pons 2
34 M.Corradini 1
35 Vanes Francini 1

125cc standingsEdit

Place Rider Number Country Machine Points Wins
1   Pier Paolo Bianchi 1 Italy Morbidelli 131 7
2   Eugenio Lazzarini 7 Italy Morbidelli 105 1
3   Angel Nieto 2 Spain Bultaco 80 3
4   Jean-Louis Guignabodet 6 France Morbidelli 62 0
5   Anton Mang 5 West Germany Morbidelli 55 0
6   Gert Bender West Germany Bender 38 0
7   Harald Bartol Austria Morbidelli 32 0
8   Hans Müller Switzerland Morbidelli 32 0
9   Stefan Dörflinger Switzerland Morbidelli 32 0
10   Pierluigi Conforti Italy Morbidelli 30 1
11 Maurizio Massimiani 22
12 Giuseppe Zigiotto 21
13 Julien Van Zeebroeck 20
14 Ivan Carlsson 14
15 Ermanno Giuliano 11
16 Ivan Palazzase 10
17 Sauro Pazzaglia 9
18 Rino Pretelli 8
19 Claudio Lusuardi 8
20 Matti Kinnunen 7
21 Thierry Noblesse 6
22 Willy Perez 5
23 Johann Parzer 5
24 Rolf Blatter 5
25 B.Johansson 5
26 Cees Van Dongen 5
27 Horst Seel 4
28 Rafael Olavarria 4
29 Janos Drapal 4
30 Thierry Espié 4
31 Werner Schmied 3
32 G.Willi 2
33 Jan Huberts 2
34 Patrick Plisson 2
35 Enrico Cereda 1
36 Paolo Cipriani 1
37 J.Novarrete 1

50cc standingsEdit

Place Rider Number Country Machine Points Wins
1   Angel Nieto 1 Spain Bultaco 87 3
2   Eugenio Lazzarini 4 Italy Kreidler 72 2
3   Ricardo Tormo Spain Bultaco 69 1
4   Herbert Rittberger 2 West Germany Kreidler 53 1
5   Patrick Plisson France ABF 26 0
6   Stefan Dörflinger 7 Switzerland Kreidler 26 0
7   Jean-Louis Guignabodet France Morbidelli 14 0
8   Hans Hummel 9 Austria Kreidler 11 0
9   Julien van Zeebroeck 6 Belgium Kreidler 10 0
10   Ramon Gali Spain Derbi 10 0
11 Ulrich Graf 9
12 Hagen Klein 9
13 Cees Van Dongen 8
14 Theo Timmer 8
15 Aldo Pero 7
16 Günter Schirnhofer 7
17 Rolf Blatter 6
18 Rudolf Kunz 5
19 Claudio Lusuardi 5
20 Wolfgang Müller 4
21 Engelbert Kip 3
22 Adrijan Bernetic 3
23 Lennart Lundgren 2
24 Ingo Emmerich 2
25 C.Dumont 2
26 E.Mischiatti 2
27 Juup Bosman 1
28 J.Novarrete 1
29 Peter Looijensteijn 1
30 Jacques Hutteau 1

NotesEdit

  1. ^ The 350cc race was abandoned after eight laps following Hans Stadelmann's fatal accident.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d Noyes, Dennis; Scott, Michael (1999), Motocourse: 50 Years Of Moto Grand Prix, Hazleton Publishing Ltd, ISBN 1-874557-83-7
  2. ^ "Cyclist Killed In Prix Race". The Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. 2 May 1977. p. 2. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
  3. ^ Hans Stadelmann at Motorsport Memorial
  4. ^ Yamaha Classic Racing Team commit to TT Centenary celebrations. Isle of Man TT.com News (20 March 2007). Retrieved on 15 December 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Ulrich Graf". motorsportmemorial.org. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
  6. ^ a b c "Preluk - Opatija". racingcircuits.info. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
  7. ^ Carter, Chris (ed.). Motocourse 1977-1978. Hazleton Securities Ltd. p. 86. ISBN 0-905138-04-X.

See alsoEdit