Suzuki’s Classic Racing team goes modern for the TT

Team behind the XR69 and RG500 racebikes having a go with Suzuki GSX-R1000s at 2020 TT

It’s one of the most evocative paint schemes in the classic race paddock – and has done some amazing work with a load of sweet old Suzuki race bikes. And now the Team Classic Suzuki outfit is jumping in the Delorean and fast-forwarding from the 1970s and 80s to the 2020s. The team is building a brace of GSX-R1000 racers for the Senior and Superbike races at this year’s TT, with Joe Akroyd and Tom Weeden in the hot seats.

Interestingly, the team isn’t just taking a pair of new bikes from a showroom for this event though. The bike Weeden will ride is a British Superbike machine from 2016, while Akroyd’s mount is the one raced at the 2019 NW200 by Richard Cooper. So – pretty decent pedigrees in both machines, and a much more interesting project than merely tweaking up a pair of stockers.

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The 2016 machine

Team Classic Suzuki team principal, Steve Wheatman, explained the decision to enter this year’s Isle of Man TT, saying, “Our aim is to provide Joe and Tom, two up-and-coming riders, with reliable and competitive superbike machinery that will allow their own teams to concentrate on the supersport and superstock classes. The team on the ground will be headed up by Nathan Colombi, while we maintain a strong relationship with Hawk Racing who have always provided valuable advice. The bikes will run in our usual Team Classic Suzuki colours.”

The 2019 bike

Both Weeden and Akroyd made their names at the Manx Grand Prix, with Weeden winning and finishing second in the 2016 Senior and Junior races. Akroyd joined him on the podium on both occasions with a brace of third place finishes.

After graduating to the TT, Weeden finished 24th in last year’s second supersport race, while Akroyd finished an impressive 18th in the 2019 Senior TT, his best lap a 124.115mph.

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Practice for the 2020 Isle of Man TT gets underway on Saturday 30 May, with race week culminating with the six-lap Senior TT on Friday 12 June.

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