Team Classic Suzuki: Marvel as a Suzuki Katana endurance race bike is built live on stage at the show.
FOR MOTORCYCLE LIVE Katana race project to be built from scratch at the NEC show!
‘We’re building a race bike just like Suzuki did under the Heron banner’
Team Classic Suzuki will be racing at the 4-Hour Endurance Legends event at Donington Park on May 6-7 next year on a Katana F1 Superbike that will be built from the ground up at next week’s Motorcycle Live.
Backed by Suzuki’s Vintage Parts program, this will be the third year in a row that one of their bikes has been assembled and fired up in front of a live crowd. Two years ago they created a TL1000S entirely from new stock parts and last year they restored a slab-sided 1985 GSX-R750F.
The build will be handled by Team Classic Suzuki’s Nathan Colombi, the man behind Michael Dunlop’s Classic TT race-winning Team Classic Suzuki XR69 this summer.
Plans for the first shakedown tests in December/january are underway and Suzuki will announce the threerider team at Carole Nash MCN London Motorcycle Show on February 17-19.
“This project all came about through the Suzuki Vintage Parts program. We’re the main sponsor of the Endurance Legends event and we thought ‘let’s put a team in’,” says Tim Davies, Suzuki Vintage Parts manager. “We decided to run the Katana. It fits within what we do and there are still masses of parts available for it as production continued in Japan until 1996.
“To come up with a concept like this and get it approved by Suzuki UK was a challenge because it’s not cheap. But last year we sold over £1.5m of parts and that success has enabled us to do things like this, sponsor the team and attend all the events and shows this year.
“We’re building a race bike to go racing in the name of Suzuki GB, just like Suzuki used to do under the Heron banner. We’re going back to our roots with this project.
“Even though it’s a proper hand-built race bike it’s still got a lot of genuine Suzuki parts in it: a new crank, bearings, all the gaskets, seals and nuts and bolts, which we source from the parts bin.”
Quick-release battery The Katana runs a total loss ignition system so the battery will need to be changed half way through the four-hour race during its scheduled pitstop. Wheels and tyres Dymag CH3 wheels shod with Conti Roadattack Classic Race rubber. 100/90 x 18 front, 150/65 x 18 rear. The finished bike will be racing at Donington Park on May 6-7 Chassis Tig-welded tubular chrom-moly frame with revised steering geometry, wheelbase and swingarm pivot. Alloy boxsection swingarm with chain adjusters taken from Michael Dunlop’s Classic Tt-winning XR69. Nathan says: “The swingarm is capable of running a 200-profile slick, which gives us options for the future. But we have to run a 150-profile for the race within the 16-valve rules. Run an 8-valve engine and we could go with bigger wheels and brakes. We think this route is better for reliability.”