Imola: 13th May 1979 and Texaco Heron Suzuki teamster Tom Herron arrives at the famous circuit in the Province of Bologna straight from a disappointing German Grand Prix at Hockenheim where a lack of spares in the team had cost him another top placing to go with his third and fourth places in Venezuela and Austria respectively. 

However, Herron is still joint fourth in the championship with Franco Uncini and is the team's highest placed rider. 

The conclusion of qualifying sees his team-mate Barry Sheene on pole position from Kenny Roberts and Virginio Ferrari. Tom meanwhile is seventh, just under a second off the top spot. 

But Tom is a great competitor and as the flag drops for the start of the race, he fires the RG500 off the second row of the grid between Roberts and Ferrari and ahead of Sheene to move into second behind Dutchman Wil Hartog. 

Into the first corner, it's Wil, from Marco Lucchinelli with Herron tucked in behind, but Tom is soon up to second and sets off in pursuit of Hartog. 

At the end of the opening lap it's still Wil Hartog from Tom with Kenny Roberts ominously moving into third and on the third lap Roberts hits the front. 

Realising that he can't afford to let Kenny get too far ahead, Tom begins to put the pressure on second placed man Hartog. Behind them Ferrari, van Dulmen, Baldwin and Sheene are giving chase. There's disappointment for local rider Lucchinelli however, after two successive stops in the pits he retires from the race. 

On the sixth lap another home rider goes out as Perugini crashes at Tosa as Roberts now leads the race by 4 seconds from Wil Hartog, Tom meanwhile is engaged in a dice for third with home favourite Ferrari and Sheene. 

A lap later and Roberts' lead is up to five seconds from Hartog while Ferrari has managed to get clear of Sheene who is starting to experience tyre problems. Tom is fourth, followed by Baldwin, van Dulmen, Fau, Middleburg and Coulon. On the eleventh lap the Dutchman loses his Suzuki and crashes out of second place, meanwhile Tom is now up to third and chasing Ferrari. Uncini and van Dulmen are both retirements. 

Roberts is now in control of the race and leading by 7 seconds from Ferrari, Herron is still third and Sheene fourth, Baldwin is fifth and Middleburg sixth. 

There are no big changes for the remainder of the race as Kenny consolidates his lead, Ferrari meanwhile has settled for second whilst Tom is a safe third. Sheene's tyres continue to cause him concern but he is still hanging on to fourth. 

At the flag it's Roberts by just under 11 seconds from Ferrari with Tom brilliantly claiming the final podium spot, a result which moves him up to an incredible third in his debut season in the 500cc World Championship.

Tom rode a fantastic race with no problems encountered, well perhaps just one..........
Standing on the podium for the second time in four races, he looked across at Roberts and Ferrari and quipped:
"My only problem was having two guys in front of me"

April 2010

Main Photos
Tom leads the chase into Tosa as the pack go after early leader Wil Hartog. Include are, Virginio Ferrari 11, Marco Luccinelli 9, Barry Sheene 7, Kenny Roberts 1 and Boet van Dulmen 16. 
Tom shares a joke on the podium with Kenny Roberts. Included is second placed man Virginio Ferrari.