Italian Walter Villa won the 350cc event of the French motorcycle Grand Prix at Le Mans in north western France on Sunday (25 April).
Italian Walter Villa won the 350cc event of the French motorcycle Grand Prix at Le Mans in north western France on Sunday (25 April). Riding a Harley Davidson he shook off a challenge from his famous compatriot Giacomo Agostini to score a brilliant and unexpected double - having previously won the 250cc event.
In the 500cc race Barry Sheene of Great Britain proved the superiority of his Japanese Suzuki machine, beating 20 year-old Venezuelan star Johnny Cecotto, who was riding a Yamaha.
Both Villa and Sheene overcame bad starts to win. Sheene was only 10th after the first lap of the 500cc race - "The Suzuki is very hard to start" he said afterwards, "but it doesn't really matter. There's plenty of time to catch up."
It took Sheene until the half-way mark to catch Cecotto, but once he was past he opened up a five-second gap. "Then I ceased off a little," he said, "I had no real plan, I just want to go as quickly as possible. This year I want to be World Champion and Johnny is going to be the man to beat."
Cecotto came second in both the 350cc and 500cc races, with Jean-Francois Balde of France third in the 350cc event on a Yamaha and Italian Marco Lucchinelli on a Suzuki third in the 500cc race.