French Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Pernod Motorcycles


Jean Bidalot built 250cc GP machines for the Pernod firm under quite severe restrictions. He was basically told to have the road-racer on the grid for the 1981 races, and make them win... or else. That year he managed a third place and in 1983 at the British 250cc GP his machine not only took the lap record but won the race, a fine effort for a brand new machine. It seems that the Pernod board did not take the same view, and was unimpressed by Bidalot's lack of instantaneous success against highly experienced teams with vast resources.(1) To this day the Pernod is the only truly French motorcycle to have won an international Grand Prix race.

The Pernod was based on his excellent 125cc Motobecane GP machines, using components from Marzocchi, Krober, Zanzani and Beymag. The engine was a watercooled twin with disc valves and a six speed box. It had carburettors from Mikuni, three disc brakes and weight 108kg.

The first season's racing saw a number of DFN's due engine seizure, but by '82 they were reliable.

See also Bidalot

Notes: 1. This may be an unkind assessment, and is based on reading between the lines in two or three articles.

Sources: OTTW,,

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