Bill Ivy

William David "Bill" Ivy ( born August 27, 1942 in Maidstone, England; † July 12, 1969 in Hohenstein- Ernstthal, GDR ) was a British motorcycle racer.

He won the world championship in the 125cc class of the MotoGP World Championship Yamaha in 1967.

Bill Ivy belonged in the 1960s to the superstars of the motorcycle world championship. He was only about 1.60 m tall, was considered extremely talented and was known as a staunch fighter. He died on July 12, 1969 after an accident during practice for the Grand Prize of the GDR at the Sachsenring.

  • 2.1 Title
  • 2.2 Isle-of -Man TT victories
  • 2.3 In the World Motorcycle Championship
  • 3.1 Literature
  • 3.2 External links


Bill Ivy learned motorcycling on the property of a friend whose parents were farmers. Later, he worked at a motorcycle dealer in his hometown of Maidstone. This discovered Ivy's talent for racing and presented him his first racing bike available. His first motorcycle race denied the Briton in 1959 at Brands Hatch. In the early 1960s he became the uncrowned king of this section and was eventually promoted by Frank Sheene, the father of the later 500cc World Champion Barry Sheene double.

In the Motorcycle World Championship 1965 he made his debut at the Dutch TT at Assen in the 125cc class on a Yamaha. In the rest of the season Ivy celebrated his first podium by finishing third at the Japanese Grand Prix in the 250cc class.

From the season 1966 Bill Ivy started then permanently as Yamaha factory rider and contested races in the classes up to 125, 250 and 350 cc. In the 125cc he was about the most successful; with four wins and seven podium finishes in seven contested race, he was charged with six points behind the Swiss Luigi Taveri Vice World Champion.

In the 1967 season dominated Ivy then on his Yamaha 125 cc World Championship. He went on to ten races and was able to celebrate eight wins and two second places. With 56 points, he finally won with 16 points ahead of his countryman and team mate Phil Read superior to the title. In the 250cc class, he was with two wins and nine podium finishes in nine races on top of that third overall.

Also in the 1968 season was dominated by Yamaha factory rider Ivy and Read the 125 and the 250 cc class. The manufacturer provided that each of the two a title should win, Phil Read in the 125cc class and Bill Ivy the 250cc title. But after read retracted the 125cc World Championship and Yamaha had announced his retirement as a works team for the end of the season, this ignored the team orders and ended up in the overall standings, 250 points with Ivy topped. The title was finally decided on the basis of the total race times in favor of Read and Ivy jumped out only two runner-up. Then Bill Ivy announced his retirement from motorcycle racing known and wanted instead deny from next season Formula 2 race.

Season 1969

In fact, Bill Ivy denied in 1969 six Formula 2 race on a Brabham Cosworth FVA BT23C for Paul Watson Racing Organisation, and also took part in the 1969 World Motorcycle Championship. In the first semifinal of his first Formula 2 race on April 7, 1969 in Thruxton over 15 laps, he finished fourth, but fell in the final over 50 laps with engine failure on lap 34. In the next two races Ivy fell out due to technical problems or because of an accident. His fourth race on June 8, 1969 at the Grand Prix of Limburg in Belgium brought him with fifth place his best finish. Reported he was also responsible for the counting of the European Formula 2 Championship IV airfield race Tulln - Langenlebarn near Vienna on 13 July 1969.

Despite his original resignation Bill Ivy participated in the 1969 season continued to participate in the Motorcycle World Championship. He competed in the 350 cc class for the Czechoslovakian Jawa manufacturer who planned with Ivy's help, to do battle with the overpowering MV Agusta machines with its newly developed four-cylinder two-stroke machines. Ivy started very promising in the season. At the Grand Prix of Germany and at the Dutch TT he could behind Giacomo Agostini each occupying second place.

Fatal Accident

On July 12, 1969 during practice for the fifth race of the season, the Grand Prize of East Germany at the Sachsenring, Bill Ivy was killed in the portion before Badberg curve. The cause of the accident was never fully explained. Is likely, however, that a piston seizure at the Jawa led to the fall. Bill Ivy, who may straightened his helmet and therefore the left hand did not have the clutch lever, was thrown from his motorcycle and pulled to severe head injuries. He died shortly afterwards in hospital.

In his short career, Ivy participated in 46 Grand Prix races, of which he won 21, reaching a total of 42 podium finishes.



Isle-of -Man TT victories

In the World Motorcycle Championship