Suzuki chal­lenge for more pit tac­tics and hot bikes

The Witness - Wheels - - RACING - — WR.

THE Suzuki 4:8:12 En­durance Rac­ing Se­ries was such a suc­cess that the im­porter of Suzuki Mo­tor­cy­cles has re­newed its spon­sor­ship for 2016.

“We are chal­leng­ing all man­u­fac­tur­ers and rid­ers on all kinds of street and cir­cuit rac­ing bikes to join the se­ries. Just be­cause it is spon­sored by Suzuki, doesn’t mean you have to race a Suzuki,” said Stu­art Baker, na­tional sales man­ager of Suzuki Mo­tor­cy­cles.

On top of the spon­sor­ship an­nounce­ment, Suzuki also con­firmed that the trial of run­ning the new Re­lay cat­e­gory proved ex­tremely pop­u­lar and will now be­come a per­ma­nent fea­ture for the 2016 se­ries.

“In this new cat­e­gory a team en­ters three to five rid­ers and bikes, rac­ing in a re­lay for­mat as op­posed to a sin­gle bike with dif­fer­ent rid­ers,” said Baker. “That means friend­ships should stay in­tact in any un­for­tu­nate event, and each rider will be re­spon­si­ble for his or her own bike as op­posed to one team mem­ber tak­ing the risk of shar­ing a bike with other rid­ers,” he ex­plained.

The 2015 se­ries ended at the Red Star Race­way in Del­mas on Oc­to­ber 10, with the third leg of the four-hour, eight-hour, 12-hour en­durance se­ries, with Suzuki teams and mo­tor­cy­cles this time tak­ing the hon­ours among en­tries that in­cluded Hon­das, Du­catis, BMWs, Kawasakis and a Tri­umph.

Last time out at Red Star was dur­ing a cold spell in June and the rid­ers wel­comed the fact that they had to wear thick leather suits, but the sec­ond out­ing saw a heat wave and some siz­zling rac­ing, with the even­tual win­ners of the 12-hour event putting in over 300 laps of the de­mand­ing cir­cuit.

And if the heat and 12 hours in the sad­dle did not of­fer a big enough chal­lenge, the rac­ing di­rec­tion was re­versed from the reg­u­lar anti-clock­wise di­rec­tion also used in the four-hour and eight-hour events, com­pletely chang­ing the look and feel of the cir­cuit.

Pit tac­tics played a huge role. “We had to change tyres and brake pads dur­ing the 12 hours, but the bikes never cooled down,” said Baker.

The 12-hour was won by Un­cle Andy Rac­ing on a Suzuki GSXR 750 (316 laps; win­ning the Pro Class), with the RSR Stars on a Suzuki GSXR 1000 (293 laps; win­ners of the Club Class) in sec­ond place, prov­ing that the big­gest ma­chine was not nec­es­sar­ily the fastest. “It’s all about the num­ber of laps — not how fast, but how smooth and how long you can make the tyres last,” ex­plained Baker, adding that the teams had to ad­here to com­pul­sory pit stops ev­ery 45 min­utes any­way.

Bike Ad­dicts Team A on a Honda CBR 600 came home in third place over­all, win­ning the Rookie Class in 290 Laps. One of the great suc­cess sto­ries of the event, was that of the Suzuki Dealer In­vi­ta­tional Team on a GSR 750 that not only com­pleted the full 12 hours of rac­ing, but com­peted as a team who had only been formed on Fri­day af­ter­noon.

Five deal­ers from across SA raced for the first time — do­ing 252 laps on a GSR 750 to end well within the Top 10.

The 2016 se­ries will again be for teams with a min­i­mum of three and a max­i­mum of five rid­ers who can en­ter any bike of their choice. “There are ab­so­lutely no re­stric­tions,” said Baker. The main prize is a fully spon­sored Suzuki GSX750R pre­pared by Õdin Rac­ing.

STU­ART BAKER,

Na­tional Sales Man­ager of Suzuki Mo­tor­cy­cles “In this new cat­e­gory a team en­ters three to five rid­ers and bikes, rac­ing in a re­lay for­mat as op­posed to a sin­gle bike with dif­fer­ent rid­ers.”

PHOTO: DEON VEN­TER, FACE­BOOK SUZUKI

Suzuki has put out the chal­lenge for more day-night rac­ing next year, with all driv­ers on all bikes wel­come to race 12 hours for the main prize — a Suzuki GSX750R.

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