Tommy Sandham who wrote many motorcycle trials books has been in touch recently and informed us that the last three copies of his world famous book, Four Stroke Finale – The Honda Trials Story have been sold to purchasers in Germany!
He said that there are no plans to print any more, having printed a further 100 copies, the very last copies were dispatched to German buyers with an interest in the Honda brand.
Original first editions were changing hands on online auction sites in excess of £100 a copy at one time.
Written in conjunction with Trials and Motocross News staffman, John Dickinson, Sandham also worked at the Morecombe based paper in the late 1970s and into the 1980s.
Sandham was fortunate to test Rob Shepherd’s factory Honda RTL305 along with fellow staffman, Mike Rapley.
Tommy assisted Trials Guru to compile the Honda Trials special section HERE
During the ninteen-seventies, Honda Motor Company decided to create a purely ‘Racing’ division, separate from their normal motorcycle production activities and core businesses. This saw the advent of Racing Service Center Corporation or ‘RSC‘ for short. Later, in September 1982, they developed from RSC, Honda Racing Corporation or HRC for short, which exists to this day and controls the racing activites of Honda. HRC produce and sell racing/competition motorcycles and spare parts. The parts, although well made and of high specification, are by their nature, not warranted for street use as they are for ‘racing applications only’. HRC European headquarters are based in Aalst in Belgium. The world HQ is at Asaka, Saitama, Japan. Below we can see some of RSC & HRC’s creations over the years.
The RTL250SW was for factory Honda riders only, not available for general sale and had the single down tube frame with offset exhaust port.
The 1982 Honda/HRC RTL360 shown above was once the factory machine of World Champion, Belgian, Eddy Lejeune.
Jean Caillou, a French trials enthusiast who has a passion for the Honda brand was fortunate enough to meet with Lejeune at his home in Belgium. It was during this meeting that Eddy revealed that he still had the 1982 ex-factory machine in his possession. The RTL360 was disassembled, but all the parts were there at Eddy’s house.
Jean Caillou: “I met with Eddy Lejuene at his home and he explained that he had just bought his daughter a horse. So he presented me with the invoice for the horse and said that if I paid him the same figure that he had just recently paid for the horse, then I could have the Honda. I did not hesitate further and the deal was agreed. I had effectively paid for Eddy’s daughter’s horse, but I now owned the Eddy Lejeune 360!”
Eddy Lejeune from Verviers, Belgium was three times FIM World Trials Champion (1982-1984) and seven times Belgian National Champion (1980-1986). He rode Honda for the majority of his trials career, switching to the Spanish Merlin in 1988 and then to the Honda owned Montesa for 1989/90 when he retired from top flight trials.