Tom's signing for Suzuki in 1979 of course placed him as team mate to Barry Sheene, and Sheene saw nothing but problems ahead. 

He and Tom had been at odds in the past over certain issues such as road racing and as Sheene himself said:

 ''Prior to 1979, it was fair to say we didn't get on. 

When I heard that Tom had been chosen to partner me I was convinced there was not the remotest possibility of our seeing eye to eye on anything. 
The atmosphere threatened to be unbearable." 

Herron was tipped for big things at Suzuki and as the early season unfolded he quickly earned the respect and friendship of his illustrious team-mate and rival. 
In the five grand prix that Tom competed in that year he finished ahead of Barry in two of them and by May 1979 he was ahead of his team mate in the standings by five points. 

Tom's mischievous sense of humour had come to light a few times, on one occasion he roped Barry into a crazy tyre test at Imola. 

But Sheene warmed to Herron all the more because of pranks like this and it's not an exaggeration to say that Tom was one of the few team-mates that Barry actually got along with. 

"How wrong I was about Tom, his attitude impressed me right from the start. 
He was forthright and highly accurate about the way certain machines had been set up, a type of honesty which came as a refreshing change after having to listen to so much crap from others when they were asked for their assessment of machines. 

At last I had someone with me who would tell the technicians the way it really was!! 

He never minced his words. 
Even if he thought I was a ##$#, which sometimes he did, he would tell me straight to my face. 
His direct approach was to be admired and, as far as I was concerned, I got on with Tom perfectly." 

November 2009
Barry and Tom pictured at the launch of the 1979 Suzuki bike range.
London: February 1979.

Main Photo
Tom and Barry have a chat following a practice session for the 1979 Austrian GP.
Salzburgring: April 1979.
Photo:  Frank Wick
By Kind Permission.