Endurance World Championship

Honda’s Suzuka 8 Hours Challenge ① 1978 - 1989

Honda’s Suzuka 8 Hours Challenge ① 1978 - 1989

1978     RCB1000

Wes Cooley / Mike Baldwin (Suzuki) led from the start to win the inaugural Suzuka 8 Hours. Despite Honda racing two RCB1000s which dominated endurance races in Europe, both bikes retired.


 
 

1979 CB900

WINNER
Tony Hatton / Michael Cole

Race leaders and the strongest teams crashed one after another in a chaotic race. Tony Hatton / Michael Cole rode their CB900 to a victory for Honda which dominated the top eight spots.


1980  RS1000

Suzuka 8 Hours is elevated to a world championship race with TT-F1 classification. The race was a battle between the winners Wes Cooley / Graeme Crosby (Suzuki) and second place Gregg Hansford / Eddie Lawson (Kawasaki). The Suzuka 4 Hours race was held for the first time this year.


 
 

1981

WINNER
Mike Baldwin / David Aldana

Wes Cooley / Graeme Crosby (Suzuki) had led the race, but retired. Mike Baldwin / David Aldana took over the lead on their RS1000. Wayne Gardner (Moriwaki) pushed hard in his first Suzuka 8 Hours, but crashed.


 
 

1982

WINNER
Shigeo Iijima / Shinji Hagiwara

The race was shortened to six hours due to deteriorating weather caused by an approaching typhoon. As race leaders crashed and retired, Shigeo Iijima / Shinji Hagiwara rode their CB900F to victory, becoming the first all-Japanese rider team to win.


1983 RS850R

The RS850R, introduced ahead of the world championship’s move to 750cc bikes, proved as competitive as the 1000cc bikes. Fred Merkel / John Bettencourt rode their RS850R to third place. Hervé Moineau / Richard Hubin (Suzuki) were the winners.


 
 

1984 RS750R

WINNER
Mike Baldwin / Fred Merkel

TT-F1 classification changed engine regulations to 750cc or less. Well prepared for this move, Honda entered six RS750R factory bikes to take the top three spots. Mike Baldwin / Fred Merkel were the winners.


 
 

1985 RVF750

WINNER
Wayne Gardner / Masaki Tokuno

Pole-sitters Kenny Roberts / Tadahiko Taira (Yamaha) lost the lead from the green light, but soon overtook Wayne Gardner / Masaki Tokuno. The RVF750 were once again in the lead as Taira crashed in the late stages, giving Gardner his first victory.


 
 

1986

WINNER
Wayne Gardner / Dominique Sarron

Wayne Gardner / Dominique Sarron (RVF750) started from pole, led throughout the race, and as their closest challenger Kenny Roberts / Mike Baldwin (Yamaha) crashed, went on to a comfortable win, giving Honda its third consecutive Suzuka 8 Hours victory.


1987

Wayne Gardner / Dominique Sarron (RVF750) started from pole, but retired on Lap 141. Garry Goodfellow / Katsuro Takayoshi (Suzuki) took the lead, but crashed with five minutes remaining. Martin Wimmer / Kevin Magee (Yamaha) went on to win, exceeding 200 laps for the first time.


1988

Grand prix riders Wayne Gardner (RVF750), Kevin Schwantz (Suzuki) and Wayne Rainey (Yamaha) are in a heated battle throughout the race. Wayne Gardner / Niall Mackenzie crash, handing the win to pole-sitters Kevin Magee / Wayne Rainey (Yamaha).


 
 

1989

WINNER
Dominique Sarron / Alex Vieira

As pole-sitter Wayne Gardner / Mick Doohan (RVF750) and Kevin Magee / Wayne Rainey (Yamaha) battle for the lead, both teams end up retiring. Dominique Sarron / Alex Vieira (RVF750) ultimately won the race.


1978~89 | 1990~99 | 2000~09 | 2010~19 | 2022~23


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