In early December 1978, months of speculation came to a conclusion when Tom Herron signed for Heron Suzuki GB as a member of their 1979 500cc World Championship Grand Prix set-up.

It was just rewards for the popular Ulsterman, during the previous few seasons Tom and his wife Andrea had worked incredibly hard to establish themselves as one of the world's best privateer teams, particularly in the 250/350cc World Championships.

Herron's performances on the smaller capacity machines had brought him to the attention of a few teams during the autumn and winter of 1978. 

Tom considered offers from Suzuki Germany and Kawasaki, but he felt his future lay in the Blue Riband 500cc series and signed the Suzuki GB contract.

Herron was signed by Suzuki to ride in the 500cc World Championship, most of the British Championship meetings and importantly, to spearhead the factory's effort at the Isle of Man TT races. 

He was given the machinery to do the job but would still have to rely on much of his own sponsorship and big start-money events like the North-West 200 and Isle of Man TT races to earn some serious money.

His grand prix performances as a Suzuki 'works' rider in 1979 were nothing short of stunning. 





A brilliant third place on his debut in Venezuela, fourth in Austria and again third in Italy put Tom in third place in the championship as the series arrived in Spain where unfortunately a last lap practice crash, as he pushed for pole position, left him with a badly disclocated right thumb and third degree burns to his arms and elbows and as such, unable to race. 

Tom, Kenny Roberts and Mike Baldwin were battling for the top spot with all three claiming the upper hand at some point in the final 10 minutes of the session when a typically determined Tom, aiming to reclaim the advantage he had held for most of the session, unfortunately crashed out.

Tom was also a real force back in Britain also as he performed well at the early season British Championship meetings at Donington Park and Cadwell Park along with selection for the British team in the Transatlantic Trophy races against the USA.

By May 1979, Tom Herron was the highest placed Suzuki GB rider in the 500cc World Championship standings.


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Tom'TW'Herron.com 
February 2011
Hockenheim 1979.
Photo Courtesy:
Steve Ellis
By Kind Permission

Brands Hatch 1979.
Photo Courtesy: Ray Battersby

Main Photos
Salzburgring 1979. 
Photo:
Frank Wick
By Kind Permission
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Venezuela 1979.
Photo: Oswaldo Hernandez