Hailwood RG restored: TT-winning Suzuki to go on display in the Manx Museum

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One of the most evocative machines in motorcycle racing history has roared back to life as preparations for the opening of the TT Gallery at the Manx Museum gather pace.

The Suzuki RG500, which was ridden to victory by Mike Hailwood, in the 1979 Senior TT, has now been faithfully restored. Racing engineer Anthony ‘Slick’ Bass was given the task of getting the bike back up and running.

During the month-long overhaul Slick was amazed to find the engine was as Hailwood had left it, with little sign of corrosion.  “We discovered the engine to be in near to original condition, which was an absolutely extraordinary result,” said Slick.

Hailwood's iconic Suzuki

“Remarkably, coolant liquid had corroded a small hole in the water pump housing, with the liquid draining away, meaning that magnesium and aluminium components had not corroded over time. The machine had effectively been dry since around 1980.”

The RG500 will go on display in the new Douglas gallery in time for this year’s race and will sit alongside the original leathers and helmet Hailwood wore to victory.

Christopher Weeks, Conservator for Manx National Heritage, added: “After detailed studies, the machine was carefully reconstructed, using next to no replacement parts.


“We had the thrill of hearing Hailwood’s Suzuki run once again for the very first time since 1979. This was one of the most extraordinary days of my career and I’ll never forget it.”

The bike will not be ridden, rather the RG500 will continue to be heard when started as part of regular conservation and maintenance.

For more info, visit The Manx National Heritage Museum website.