1986 Heron Suzuki TSR08 GP Racer
Ciba-Geigy Bonded Aeroweb frame made by Nigel Leaper
With Phil Aynsley
At the end of the 1983 season Suzuki officially retired from the 500cc GP championship as their venerable square four design (first seen in 1973) was no longer competitive.
However the factory continued to support the Heron team in the UK and the Galina Team in Italy – Roberto Galina HB Suzuki Team TGA1 | 500GP (link).
Heron decided to invest in a new, light weight chassis made from Ciba-Geigy Bonded Aeroweb (a honeycomb/composite) material, constructed by Nigel Leaper. The first two prototypes were made with an aluminium cladding (painted white) but the following six frames just used the (black) honeycomb material.
Records show that this bike (TSR08) was the last one constructed, in 1986, and was ridden at Spa by Kevin Schwantz to 10th place (in Rizla colours) – his first points in Grand Prix.
Later in the season it was ridden by Niall MacKenzie in the Skoal Bandit colours seen here. He scored three top ten places and was on the front row of the grid for the last race of the year, at Misano.
The motor was the final version of the square four, the reed-valve XR70RV which produced 148hp at 12,500rpm (with UK developed exhausts, heads & air-boxes). Dry weight was 115kg. Top speed 295kph.
The first bike (TSR1-0) can be seen at the Barber Museum in the US.