Anton Mang was one of the greatest 250 riders the world had ever seen.
Anton “Toni” Mang started out as a mechanic and started racing on a machine that he developed himself – the SmZ 250. in 1975 he was German 350cc champ and had dipped his toe into Grands Prix by taking part in the Austrian round. A year later he took his first world championship win at the daunting nurburgring on a 125cc morbidelli.
By 1978 he was with Kawasaki, riding in both 250 and 350cc classes and by 1980 he was 250cc World Champion and runner-up in the 350cc class. A year later he won both titles – an incredible achievement. He was also the last 350cc champion in 1982, a year in which he was runner-up in the 250cc class. An abortive year in the 500cc class in 1983 was spoiled by a pre-season injury so he returned to the class he loved in 1984.
He became the oldest World Champion when he regained the 250cc title for the third time in 1987 but he was sadly forced to retire the following year thanks to an injury sustained in yugoslavia. When he finally quit, he had 42 grand prix victories to his name and five world championships.
To sum up Anton mang as a man and a rider, let’s leave it to Freddie Spencer – the man who beat toni into second place in the 250cc title in 1985, Fast Freddie’s double year.
” In my double year i would do a 20-30 lap 250cc race after a draining race on the 500. And let me tell you, people like Toni Mang never made mistakes.” Said Freddie…
” At mugello i’d just completed the 500 race and rushed back to my motorhome to drink some water after a tough race with eddie lawson. i was tight on time to get back to the 250cc grid, but toni – perhaps the greatest 250 rider ever and on a non-factory rS250 Honda at the time – had not left the form-up grid to give me time to get there and take part in the race. He didn’t have to do that. What a man. “
Titles : 1981, 1982 (350cc), 1980, 1981, 1987 (250cc)