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UK

06/12/2019

Motocross star of track and the small-screen Vic Eastwood passed away on 6 December after a long illness. He was 78.

Vic’s racing heyday was in the mid-1960s when he won the Motocross des Nations as part of team GB three years in a row. His first win was in 1965 at Namur alongside Arthur Lampkin and Jeff Smith, then at Remalard in France alongside Dave Bickers and D.J. Rickman, and again a year later at Markelo in Holland with Bickers and Smith. That team victory in 1967 was a milestone as Vic won the event outright and beat the Dutch and Belgians in their own backyard on their preferred terrain – deep sand.

In 1969 Vic was a real contender for the world title but unfortunately badly broke his leg at Hawkstone Park while competing in one of the popular BBC Grandstand televised races. He’d had huge successes at these massively popular events which made him a household name. The Saturday scrambling on Grandstand and Vic’s performances were responsible for enticing many young riders in to the sport.

Vic was always at the forefront of motocross technology and he rode for many different manufacturers during his career. Although he spent successful years on BSA and Matchless four-strokes, he was quick to adapt to two-strokes such as the Husqvarnas as he sought to improve and set new levels of race technology. But it was when Honda moved into production motocross bikes that Vic saw the future and was instrumental in bringing the Japanese dirt bikes to the UK.

He stayed loyal to Honda, and his family business, Vic Eastwood Motorcycles, is still a premier Honda dealer based in Kent near the Canada Heights circuit – a track Vic was also involved in supporting. The shop has now been open for 45 years. Vic started it while still racing professionally, which he did until 1979. He became a main Honda dealer in 1980 and had been the Wiseco importer since the 1980s.

Vic was a proud dad of two successful racers, Mark and Scott Eastwood. He is also survived by his wife Ann, who unwaveringly supported him, and the family, at motocross events for decades.