So near, so Spa

Bike’s Peter Boast and rac­ing’s Guy Martin ex­pe­ri­ence Spa Fran­cor­champs for the first time. And it all goes re­ally rather well…

BIKE (UK) - - CLASSIC ENDURANCE - By John West­lake Pho­tog­ra­phy Team Classic Suzuki Jonathan Godin

IT’S start En­duranceClas­sic me­chan­ics 7.56PM,of Suzukithe are Four-hour­race FOURpit chat­tin­gat feel­sSpa min­utes Clas­si­cand odd­lyby the the be­fore calm. Team pit­lan­ethe Two door, crew chief Nathan is dou­blecheck­ing that rid­ers Pete Boast and Guy Mart­in­fuel, dry­ingheat gun.anda know­pair team Emer­gen­cyof the man­ager Boastie’spit sig­nals spares Pe­te­old to are socks Lit­tle­wood­come­laid with outin fora is neatly al­ready de­part­men­ton in a their side (that’ll­ski ta­ble, masks,be the Bike fuel and con­trib­u­tor­crewthe cateringare Ru­per­turn for Paul what, and hope­fully,wife Fi) are will brim­mingbe a long the night. they’re It’s do­ing. al­most like they know what stark. The A con­trast­mate and withI had last rid­den year’s to ef­fort Bel­giu­mis to give Bike’s road tester Boastie some moral sup­port for his first endurance race at Spa and we walked into chaos. Pop­ping our heads round the pit garage door, we saw the bike on its side with Araldite be­ing smeared over a crack in a crank­case. Tools, parts and Kitkat wrap­pers were strewn across the floor and Boastie’s boots were cov­ered in oil from the leak. We were then told that the bloke charged with let­ting the pit­board team know when their rider was ap­proach­ing had for­got­ten his glasses and that was now our job. It was hi­lar­i­ous, but we felt for Boastie – all that ef­fort, with so lit­tle re­ward. The bike didn’t last an hour. This year his Spa oper­a­tion has gone up a notch or seven thanks to three mighty mo­tor­cy­cle op­er­a­tions work­ing to­gether, bonded by un­in­tel­li­gi­ble Lincs ac­cents and a love of endurance rac­ing. First is the Lincolnshire Mas­sive, com­pris­ing Boastie and his lo­cal racey mates, one of whom is TT and TV bloke Guy Martin. Sec­ond is Suzuki Vin­tage Parts and Team Classic Suzuki (the rac­ing arm of bike col­lec­tor Steve Wheat­man). And third is B&B Mo­tor­cy­cles in Lin­coln, Guy and Boastie’s lo­cal Suzuki deal­er­ship. Pete Lit­tle­wood owns B&B: ‘It all started for me last Oc­to­ber when some Suzuki man­agers vis­ited my deal­er­ship and dur­ing the con­ver­sa­tion my phone went and it was Guy, ask­ing if some spares had ar­rived. The Suzuki peo­ple couldn’t quite be­lieve it was the ac­tual Guy Martin, so I ex­plained he only lives 20 miles down the road and I knew his dad and sold bikes to his un­cle Rod. The Suzuki guys then asked if I could ask Guy if he’d like to ride the Katana that Team Classic Suzuki had built. I men­tioned it to Boastie, who had al­ready asked Guy if he wanted to ride at Spa with him. It went from there.’ In fact, Boastie and Guy were plan­ning an un­der-the-radar as­sault on Spa, get­ting their own bike to­gether and rac­ing out of the back of a van, when Pete men­tioned they might be able to get their hands on the Katana. Look­ing at the big Suzuki sit­ting in the driz­zle wait­ing for Guy to take it to the start, it oozes qual­ity – ev­ery bracket is a minia­ture piece of artistry, ev­ery ca­ble has been routed and re-routed un­til it has that neat, honed, pro­duc­tion­bike feel. But it’s the stuff you might not no­tice that sets this bike apart: the frame for ex­am­ple, is not from a Katana. It looks like it is, be­cause builder (and crew chief) Nathan Colombi started with a blue­print of one, but then he changed the head­stock an­gle, swingarm pivot point and in­deed ev­ery other di­men­sion he thought nec­es­sary to make it han­dle like – and have the ground clear­ance of – a pukka race bike. Then he had it built from light­weight chro­moly tube. Ditto the swingarm: at first glance it looks like an orig­i­nal ex­truded jobby, but is ac­tu­ally ma­chined from bil­let so they can fit a 205-width slick if nec­es­sary. Even the fork legs are hand­made repli­cas (so the lat­est K-tech in­ter­nals can fit in­side). Only the en­gine is orig­i­nal Katana – it’s a 1982 GSX1100 mo­tor, with the

Boastie takes a deep breath as he tears through the in­fa­mous Eau Rouge

Team man­ager Pete Lit­tle­wood on sock dry­ing duty

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