The American Honda duo of Fred Merkel and Mike Baldwin won the 1984 Suzuka eight hours event on July 29 in 1984. The Americans have some renown now as winners of the ’84 race, but before the event took place most thought that Australian Wayne Gardner and Frenchman Raymond Roche would win it–Roche was then the World Endurance champion.
The favorites were off to a flying start but disaster followed when Gardner crashed, necessitating repairs of the machine, and then Roche really crashed the repaired bike, after which they retired from the event. Baldwin and Merkel just kept making laps and in the end won easily. The pair remain multi-time winners of the formerly very prestigious endurance race.