The International Historic Racing Organisation (IHRO) was proposed in 1985 by the journalist Alan Cathcart and some like minded enthusiasts after having competed in a race at the Le Castellet circuit in the south of France. Looking to expand the idea of a class for ‘proper’ classic racing machines to compete in around Europe, a plan was formulated over the inevitable post race glass of wine and as a result IHRO was started. The first race was held as a support race to the French Grand Prix at Le Mans in 1986 and IHRO has come a long way since then.
The idea of a modern day ‘Continental Circus’ but for period machines, was soon accepted by race organisers at major international events, and the sight and sound of these thoroughbred Grand prix machines of yesteryear was soon a regular feature at major events. In it’ early days, IHRO raced the length and breadth of the European continent, from Pergusa in Sicily to Linkoping in Sweden, over the years however, the circuits have tended to be more central European, with Monza as the southern extreme and Assen as the northern boundary.In 1997 IHRO organised the first ever race for Historic machines at a motorcycle meeting in Germany.German rules had previously limited the ‘Oldtimers’ to regularity and demonstration events, but following the amazing success of that first race at Schleiz IHRO, has been invited by other organisers to hold races at major German historic circuits.
Thrilling competition has always been the major feature of IHRO races and these races have gone a long way to introduce the concept of ‘old bike’ racing to an audience raised on the modern two stroke GP bikes. We insist on only machines of a type which raced at Grand’s Prix in the period, the fact that a machine is old does not automatically qualify it for competition within IHRO and we are very strict about the modifications which we allow. Except in the case of safety features, we insist on period modifications only. All of our machines race with drum brakes on the front and rear wheels and must be of period appearance with regard to fairings, seats etc. IHRO’s rules have evolved over the years, but still remain true to the original concept. The quality of the machines being raced has always helped to put the IHRO races a cut above other classic racing. The quality of racing is also a factor which has helped distinguish IHRO, with top quality riders battling fiercely for the honours and close racing continuing throughout the field. This combination has ensured that the IHRO race is the most eagerly awaited of the day’s events, with many organisers giving IHRO the top billing on their programmes.