Whitham’s Wild Wocket!

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics - - READER’S SPECIAL -

It’s worth dig­ging out a quote or two from James Whitham’s en­ter­tain­ing au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, What a Good Do!, to put us in the pic­ture as re­gards the Fast Or­ange bikes. In it, he says: “To turn the YZF into a Su­per­bike you bought a fac­tory race kit. The A-kits were for the hot­shots who were go­ing places – we had the B-kit. Terry Rymer got an Akit and he said it made 145bhp on the dyno. A week later our B-kit ar­rived and no mat­ter what tweak­ing we made on the Mi­cron dyno we had 127bhp and I thought we were knack­ered. “The first meet­ing of the year was the ‘Ir­ish’ round of the WSB cal­en­dar at Brands Hatch and in prac­tice I hooked up with El Tel early on and my 127bhp was the same as his 145. I thought: ‘ei­ther he’s got a tuned dyno or he’s full of sh*t!’ To be hon­est, in pre-sea­son testing the bike felt just like what a race­bike should feel to me. It steered and stopped just like I wanted it to.” Lit­tle won­der then that he took 20 wins on the Fast Or­ange YZF in 1993 and took the Bri­tish Su­per­bike ti­tle. As you can see from the pic­tures, Whitham’s rid­ing style was very ‘hang-off’ which he says was de­vel­oped from the year-be­fore’s Suzuki GSX-R750WN that he called ‘the iron­ing board’ as it wouldn’t want to turn.

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