Italy/Monza GP, 1981, 350cc, one of many battles with Toni Mang
Text: Jon Ekerold
1981, Monza GP, 350cc, Toni Mang (KAWASAKI) and Jon Ekerold (BIMOTA)
Grand Prix racing has always benefitted from hard fought rivalries, and my rivalry with the five time World Champion, Toni Mang, was no exception.
It brought the very best out of both of us, and lent an extra element to the racing which was eagerly anticipated by the racing fans who flocked to the circuits in the hope of seeing something special.
The Italian GP in Monza in 1981 was one of those races.
Toni had been two seconds quicker in qualifying, and I had no idea how I was going to make up the lost time in the race.
When the flag fell, the track was still slightly wet from an ealier rain shower, so I attempted to slow the race pace down in the hope of lulling him into a false sense of security.
With three laps to go, I sprinted for the line completely taking him by surprise.
By the time he got going, I had managed to pull 100 meters on him, most of which he got back in those last three laps.
Unfortunately for him though, he was still 70 centimeters behind as we flashed over the finish line for the final time.
Jon Ekerold (BIMOTA) and Toni Mang (KAWASAKI) at a recent historic event
The HARRIS YAMAHA 500cc that Jon rode in 1981 in the premier class
Once again, Jon Ekerold delights us with his memoirs. Thanks Jon!