Classic history photos

PAD

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Imagine how fast he’d have gone if it had been a red un’!
 

mangocrazy

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I'm not so sure, Joe. The frame is definitely RC24, the swingarm looks correct for 6X and the forks look the job as well. It even has the VFR fuel tap in the tank. I remember that year at the TT - Joey almost always had a factory RVF, but that year the bike looked much more like a road bike. My guess is that it was a 'special' 6X, i.e. based on the 6X but with special parts fitted. Joey was very highly thought of by the factory and he always got the trick bits. I'm pretty sure that was the year that Geoff Johnson rode a 6X, but you can bet that Ioey's bike would have been to a higher spec.
 

joemcd

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Maybe a tricked up road VFR.The rake of the forks on th 6X is different for sure to Joey's bike.Joey's bike has different panels from the 6X,very near a road going VFR's plastics apart from the front fairing.As you say he got what he wanted,needs for the TT are different from the race track where the 6x belonged.Even seems to have a standard seat with the road bike seat cowl taped to the rear panel.70412
 
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joemcd

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Joey's official website.

It was rumoured that Geoff Johnson only used the 6X engine for practice as the flatsides belonging to it went back to Japan in somebodies hand luggage by mistake.No mention of Joe's bike being a 6X,but it of course could have been.
 
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mangocrazy

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It's also a question of what constitutes a 6X. Race bikes are a continuous work in progress, as factories are constantly changing elements to try and improve performance in all areas. As you say, the demands of the TT are very different from those of a short circuit, if it was a 6X under the covers it may have looked different for the TT. Fork rake would probably have been changed for extra stability, for instance. But one thing was certain - the bike was no slouch, averaging 115mph for the 6 laps of the F1 TT and beating the second place man by nearly a minute. So it may not have been a 6X (whatever that really is), but it was no warmed over road bike.
 

joemcd

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He won the 1987 NW200 production bike race on a VFR750,cannot remember if it was a Honda factory bike or his own.If it was a Honda factory bike and he had it over here in N.I,I would say there's a fair chance he was inside the engine.Maybe used his own engine at the TT.Honda allowed him some bikes home to work on himself I believe.
As you say,what is a 6X?Reading on the web says a modified lightweight engine with titanium this.magnesium thon and lightened that.Maybe not Joey's kind of bike.as reliability seemed to be a very important word to him.
Looking at claimed 6X's most have fairly standard VFR plastics,so I was wrong to point that out as a reason for it not being a 6X
No claims were made by Honda that he had a 6X engine.
I think the runner up you mention was Geoff Johnson running a Honda factory tuned standard VFR engine.
It's interesting stuff to me.It's funny to see him with pristine bike and leathers ect at that time(1987)not his usual duds.
 
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mangocrazy

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Yes, I heard that Joey like to work on his own bikes. In fact I went to the Vila Real F1 TT round in Portugal 2 or 3 times - a road circuit rather like a short version of the TT, but sunny and hot (!) and saw Joey working on his RC30 (it would have been 1989/1990), fitting a new exhaust system that one of the manufacturers had given him to try out. He was very happy spannering away, chatting to us. Ron Williams of Maxton was there as well, I recall. Happy days...
 

FTM

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? But then so does a standard VFR of the period... ?
Yes it does sound daft but I did read somewhere it was named a 6X because it had a 6 speed box where as the previous VF (RVF?) only had 5. I'll have a google and see if I can find the reference.
 

FTM

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Googling failed, I did find out that there were only six official 6X's ever made but there was a race kit to turn your VFR into almost a 6X.
 

mangocrazy

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Googling failed, I did find out that there were only six official 6X's ever made but there was a race kit to turn your VFR into almost a 6X.
Did your Googling indicate where these six 6X's wound up? I'm guessing the USA got the lion's share, but would be interested to know if Joey's 1987 TT bike was an 'official' 6X? Did Joey do any other races with the bike or was it spirited back to Japan?
 

FTM

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This is what I found.

Race history

Although not designed as a race bike, in 1986 British racer Ron Haslam took a standard VFR750F to third place in a soaked Transatlantic Challenge race at Donington Park, UK [2]

A very special VFR750F called the '6X', a 135 hp@13000RPM / 188 mph full HRC prototype using RVF cycle parts and containing titanium valves, magnesium cases and flat-slide carburetors, weighing 165 kg (dry), even less than the factory RVF, was first seen ridden by Wayne Gardner at a Suzuka test against TT F1 machinery. Wayne trounced the opposition, smashing his four-stroke lap record by 1.5s. 6 Examples of the '6X' were built, 4 for the Domestic Championships and 2 for the American Championships.

The VFR '6X' was raced at the Isle of Man TT by Geoff Johnson, coming in 2nd to Joey Dunlop in both the F1 and Senior TT.[3]

In the United States Fred Merkel and Wayne Rainey contested the 1986 AMA Camel Pro Championship, which at the time had both Superbike and F1 races but only one championship, with the best finish of the day counting. Merkel just rode in the Superbike while Rainey did the F1 as well. Merkel won two races and Rainey seven, but the championship was won by Flyin' Fred Merkel by only two points.

For 1987 Fred's bike was passed to Bubba Shobert who took 3rd place in 1987, being beaten by Wayne Rainey and Kevin Schwantz. The points he earned during the 1987 season gained him victory in the AMA Grand National. In 1988 Shobert won three of the seven races to win the AMA superbike championship.[4] [5]

The engine developed in the 6X became the basis for the factory racer, the VFR750R.An engine race kit was available for the 1986 VFR from HRC for $4,000 (USD), including a titanium exhaust.
 

mangocrazy

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Hmmm - so what was Joey's bike, then? It certainly had the RC24 frame, and what looks suspiciously like a 6X swingarm...
 
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