Moriwaki VTR1000 Firestorm
In the 1960s Mamoru Moriwaki was a racer, riding for Yoshimura. Over the years he taught himself mechanical engineering, learned how to tune engines, and found time to marry Pops Yoshimura’s daughter. By the 1970s he’d established his own eponymous company, developing aluminium as a frame material as well tuning big Kawasaki engines. Graeme Crosby, Dave Aldana and, most famously, Wayne Gardner raced for Moriwaki in the 1970s and 1980s, beating factory teams in the Suzuka 8hr and in national races in Australia, the US and the UK. Moriwaki ran an RCV in Motogp between 2003 and 2005 with a steel tube Moriwaki frame and then won the debut Moto2 world title with Toni Elias.
But back in 1997, Moriwaki-san was running a VTR1000 Firestorm at the Suzuka 8hr. The bike was a missile that Moriwaki reckoned was making 145bhp, using only high-lift cams, head work, valves, high comp pistons and his intake, exhaust and carb tricks. Rods and crank were stock: “Very strong metal,” according to the man.
The frame and swingarm were stock but heavily braced, with Nissin brakes and Moriwakimodified forks and shock linkages. The bike suffered electrical problems in the race and limped home a few places behind Ducati’s 916 entry. Later the next year, Moriwaki brought the same bike over to the UK, when Jim Moodie raced it at Donington Park.
Butterfly and caterpillar