Bikers' Classics first timer Terry Rymer: “Spa-Francorchamps is the best”

The 2012 edition of the Bikers' Classics at Spa-Francorchamps does not only mark the return of the big four-stroke Superbikes, it also sees Terry Rymer returning to the track, exactly twenty years after his memorable “24 Hours of Liège” World Endurance win with his Kawasaki team mate Carl Fogarty. Rymer is looking forward to his first Bikers' Classics. “Spa is my favourite track.”

Terry Rymer was a privateer when the World Superbike series first emerged in 1988. On a Honda RC30 he rode to a podium finish at Estoril and was invited to participate in the Australian and New Zealand rounds. “I was up against the likes of Mick Doohan and Robbie Phillis. It was probably the toughest racing that I had ever done”, remembers 45 year old Rymer. “Down under I met Barry Sheene, who was one of my all time heroes. Barry recommended that I should ride for his old friend Steve Parrish who was managing the Loctite Yamaha Team in the UK. As soon as I arrived back I signed for Yamaha UK who had just launched details of the Yamaha OWO1.”
On a Yamaha World Superbike the tall Brit scored ten rostrum finishes. Although he added another podium to his tally as a Kawasaki rider, London born Rymer will ride his very own race winning Yamaha OW01 at this year's Bikers' Classics. “The bike is very special to me”, says Rymer. “It's the bike that I won a British Superbike Championship on as well as two World Superbike races. It looks great and and it's exciting to ride also. My friend and mechanic Peter Day is a wizard with Yamaha OWs. He has rebuilt it and the bike is awesome!”
Returning to Spa-Francorchamps also brings back fond memories to Rymer who rode his very first international race at the Ardennes circuit in 1988 and won the “24 Hours of Liège” on a factory Kawasaki, partnering Carl Fogarty exactly twenty years ago. The pair secured the championship crown later that year. “I actually only raced with Carl in that 1992 race”, remembers Rymer. “It was a hard race – as is every 24 hour race. We had to beat our team mates Alex Viera, Steve Hislop and Jean-Louis Battistini and also Suzuki's Hervé Moineau. The race was much tougher for Carl and me as (third rider) Jehan D'Orgeix was flown out of Spa to race at a French National race leaving us to race back to back from 9pm to the end of the race! We still won, although after 23 hours Suzuki were only about a minute behind us until they crashed.”
Seven years later Rymer returned to the “24 Hours of Liège” podium as a Suzuki regular, claiming third spot after a heroic effort saw him finishing third after gearbox problems. “The real heroes in that race were our mechanics”, says a humble Rymer. “They split our engine and in 40 minutes I was back on the bike.”
All rounder Rymer also acted as a test and development rider for the famed Lucky Strike Suzuki Team and eventually replaced the injured Daryl Beattie in at some races in 1996. “I loved the RGV 500 two-stroke. The Grand Prix bikes of that era were real beasts, but very challenging to ride”, smiles Rymer. “I remember not only riding the RGV but also racing in the BSB Championship on a Ducati as well as the Suzuki GSXR 750 in the World Endurance Championship. I was very busy!”
Rymer is looking forward to his first appearance at the 2012 Bikers' Classics. “Spa is always a treat to race. It's my favourite track, one of the last real 'balls out' circuits that sorts out the men from the boys. I am also looking forward to meeting the fans and some of my old racing friends and heroes and seeing some of the great machines.”
Although Rymer will be riding his Yamaha OW01 Superbike he won't turn down the chance of riding a classic two-stroke racer if it were offered to him, he says with a smile. “I enjoy riding two-strokes and four-strokes. I can ride any bike fast!”