Photos & Musings: Other Riders

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Hakan Carlqvist, 1983 500cc world champion

This is one of those all-time great GP photos. Hakan Carlqvist crosses the finish line in a shower of champagne to secure his only world 500cc championship in 1983.

Back in the 80s it was normal for a rider winning a championship to be swamped by fans when he crossed the line. In 1986 when David Thorpe won at Luxembourg, in what was one of the most exciting championship climaxes in history, the finish line was awash with thousands of fans while the rest of the field still raced to the chequered flag!

Don't know who took this photo, but it says so much about the glory days of Grand Prix racing.

If you look closely you can see half-naked journalist and photographer Jack Burnicle in the background, taking his own picture of this great moment!

Carlqvist was a hero of mine. He had a great, aggressive style. British 125cc champion Paul Hunt once came out with the line 'Carla invented elbows-up'. Maybe US readers might dispute that but Carla certainly put aggressive riding on the map in Europe.

I also really loved his factory-issue race shirt, and the Techno helmets which he and Danny LaPorte made famous were the coolest helmets ever seen up to that point.

I consider it a great honour and privilege to have raced against the big Swede.

Here is a cool tribute video from YouTube:

Carla takes the flag and his world championship in 1983 Enlarge image

Another great photo of Hakan in his championship winning season Enlarge image

A great photo of Hakan at Namur, 1985 Enlarge image

Hakan hanging from his 'Gravity Boots' Enlarge image

Welding his own frame during motos. Can you imagine today's riders doing this? Enlarge image

The fearsome, but actually very friendly Swede Enlarge image

Hardpack in Luxembourg Enlarge image

Namur victory celebrations. Even Kurt looks happy for him! Enlarge image