Classic Racer

The Go-show!


James Whitham rates him as one of the most amazing talents he’s ever shared a track with, so it seemed natural for us to use this excuse to share this picture of Anthony Gobert and the Bimota SB8-R from 21 years ago…

Bimota has a rich history in World Superbike (see Davide Tardozzi’s recollecti­ons on page 60) and this was the machine which took its (currently) last win in the class. Using a Suzuki V-twin powerplant, this bike would claim a surprise World Superbike win.

Despite ‘WORLD SUPERBIKE’ being emblazoned on its flanks, Suzuki’s owntl1000r never actually got to race in the championsh­ip proper, although some race versions did take to the track courtesy of Yoshimura in the US. However, the Suzuki V-twin motor would win a World Superbike race, courtesy of the combined talents and skills of Bimota, Virginio Ferrari and Anthony Gobert.

With the road-going 996cc TL-R motor pumping out around 135bhp claimed, it’s thought that with various tweaks (coming allegedly from Ducati’s Franco Farne, no less) along with Suzuki race department parts, that the bike was pumping out at least 150bhp and barking through Termignoni under-seat twin pipes… At round two in the 2000 season – the scene of Carl Fogarty’s crash and subsequent retirement – Gobert and his 501-numbered SB8-R took the win in the first leg, in tricky, wetish conditions.

Along with a 9th place finish in the second race, this was the high for the bike and Ferrari-run team. The money from supposed backers Levi’s (hence the race number) never showed up and the team struggled with a number of crashes and technical issues before withdrawin­g.

Out on the road Bimota’s up and down history meant that thetl-powered Sb-series’ production would be fragmented between 1998-2000 (with the SB8-RS) and the SB8-K in batches from 2000-2005.There was even a special celebratio­n Gobert model produced. It’s thought that two of the race machines exist – with one being advertised on ebay a few years ago, but with a reserve of around $100,000…

 ??  ??
 ??  ?? ANTHONY GOBERT race winner Eight-time WSB
ANTHONY GOBERT race winner Eight-time WSB

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom