HAPPY AC­CI­DENT

What looked like a lightly dam­aged ZX-9R C2 turned out to be a squashed lemon, but it taught Neil and Woz the weird ways of the ZX-9R model range

Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - Special Brew - Words: Jim Moore| Pic­tures: Ja­son Critchell

Neil Thrupp and Warren ‘Woz’ Smart’s jour­ney to mul­ti­ple ZX-9R own­er­ship and restora­tion all hap­pened by ac­ci­dent.well, sev­eral ac­ci­dents if truth be told. Kawasaki’s sec­ond gen­er­a­tion 900cc bruiser hadn’t re­ally been on ei­ther friend’s radar un­til­woz bought a cheap yet tidy E1 model to save his beloved and much-mod­i­fied Aprilia RSV Mille from get­ting eaten by salt dur­ing the colder months.

“I got the 9R as a win­ter hack; it wasn’t a lot – 1700 quid I think,” sayswoz. “It turned out to be bet­ter nick than ex­pected, plus it came with a Laser pipe, Öh­lins shock and a few ex­tras. So as soon as I saw it, I thought ‘that’s com­ing home with me’.then I rode it and was like, ‘Whooooa’. It was proper fast. I’ve got a Du­cati Mul­tistrada as well that’s com­fort­able and quick, but I’ve ended up us­ing the ZX way more so I’m think­ing that the Duke may have to go.”

While­woz was chew­ing over whether to re­home his Ital­ian odd­ball, he be­gan fill­ing his shed with unloved ZXS. In March last year a crash dam­aged C2 model came into Woz’s or­bit. “I wasn’t re­ally look­ing, it just popped up on the PB fo­rum. For £420 I thought it was worth a punt as a track bike – I’d been buy­ing up body­work and parts any­way, plus I’ve got loads of end cans and stuff like that, so it looked like it’d be an easy fix.”

Mate Neil is a me­chanic by trade, so Woz asked if he’d like to get in­volved with smarten­ing up the old Kwak. Neil thinks it was a ruse all along. “He knew I wanted to get back on a bike – I sold my last one, an NC30, 15 years ago to buy a house, so I reckon it was his way to get us both rid­ing again.”with­out too much persuasion Neil was in on the project. “If noth­ing else, I thought it’d keep us out of the pub…”

The crash dam­age looked light; a buck­led front wheel, bent left fork, dented tank and a wiped-out fair­ing. “None of that mat­tered be­cause it was go­ing to get a day­time MOT at most,” ex­plainswoz. Min­i­mum spend was the back­bone of the build, so the lads stripped away all the snapped, bent and dam­aged parts to as­sess what they’d need to buy, beg and bor­row to get it back on its wheels.that’s where the trou­ble started.

If, like­woz and Neil – and the rest of us – you thought these ZXS were all es­sen­tially the same bike, tweaked and face-lifted here

Dean Har­ri­son (left) and Phil Leeks. One of the and more there in­for­mal over rider/spon­sor a five-year life­span pair­ings you’d around be wrong.very wrong in­deed.when the lads be­gan to of­fer up seem­ingly iden­ti­cal parts

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