Honda Starts Racing Legacy
The first Nagoya TT was held in 1953. Open to motorcycles up to 150cc, it was held over a 232km public roads course. Japan’s first large-scale race, it was contested by 57 motorcycles from 19 different manufacturers. This was Honda’s first race, and the company entered three Dream 3Es. The Hondas finished in 2nd, 4th and 18th with a combined elapsed time of 13hr 44’53". This was the quickest team time in the race, winning the Manufacturers’ Team Prize for Honda.
A half-century ago the founder of Honda Motor Company, Soichiro Honda, led his fledgling company on its first steps toward worldwide prominence as they entered the World Championship Grand Prix racing arena for the very first time at the Isle of Man TT motorcycle races. Back in 1959 there was no guarantee that Honda would ever earn a single podium at the highest levels of racing.
As Japan stepped into the 20th century, the father of judo, Jigoro Kano, applied the precepts of Zen to the founding principles of this martial art. Seiryoku zenyo, to “strive for maximum effect with minimum effort,” is central to the philosophy of judo, where serenity and strength are synonymous.
It may be said that Soichiro Honda followed the path illuminated by sensei Kano. In the company’s 60-odd year history, Honda has dominated opponents, not with brashness and brawn, but through an obsessive devotion to perfection, and the constant refinement of its design and technology.