Whitham, Parrish and Neeves to race Suzuki Katana at Endurance Legends 4-Hour
Team Classic Suzuki has revealed its rider line-up for this year’s Endurance Legends 4-Hour Race at Donington Park in the UK on May 6-7th with James Whitham, Steve Parrish and Michael Neeves onboard the team’s Suzuki Katana.
Announced at the London Motorcycle Show, the team boasts the experience and speed to challenge for victory in the high-profile event, with both Whitham and Parrish familiar with the brand after spending much of their racing careers aboard Suzukis, while Neeves can also claim plenty of years of racing and winning experience; and he also tested the Team Classic Suzuki TT-winning XR69 at Donington Park last year.
“I’m really looking forward to it: I’m looking forward to getting back on a big four-stroke. It’s what I did most of my racing on with Suzuki; big GSX-R1100s and 750s, and it’s a bit more me. I’m going into the race to enjoy it. It’s going to be great working with the team and with ‘Neevesy’ and ‘Stavros’ but I’m really looking forward to getting on that bike. I watched it take shape at Motorcycle Live and it’s a work of art. I restore bikes myself but that design is so iconic. Nothing before or since has looked like the Katana. You look at a Katana and right away you know what it is. And it’s going to be great to get on it and race it and hopefully get a result with it.”
“I’m making a comeback! I think this will be my first proper race since about 1986! I’ve done some bits at Goodwood before but not to this level and I’m looking forward to it. I know James well from our work doing the TT television coverage and I know Michael, so we should all work well together and hopefully have fun, have a good race; and get a result.”
“It’s a privilege for me to race alongside two of my racing heroes and to do it on such a special machine at one of my favourite tracks is the icing on the cake. Looking at the high level of competition it’s not going to be easy to grind out a result, but it’s going to be fun trying. I raced a GSX1100 and GSX-R1100 at Phillip Island a few weeks ago, so I’m all dialled-in for the old classics and raring to go.”
Built at last year’s Motorcycle Live Show and supported by Suzuki’s growing Vintage Parts programme, the Katana endurance machine utilises the same basic frame as the original icon, with adjustments made to the headstock and with the swingarm pivot lowered.
Suspension comes courtesy of K-Tech, wheels from Dymag, and the swingarm is a custom unit from Sweet Fabrications. The GSX1100SD engine has been bored-out to 1170cc, and gets higher-lift cams and Stainless Steel valves. Everything else in the engine has been replaced with genuine Suzuki components from Suzuki’s Vintage Parts programme, including conrods, main bearings and big-end bearings on the rebuilt crank.
Team Classic Suzuki Team Owner Steve Wheatman
“We’re delighted to be able to announce our team line-up at the London Motorcycle Show and we’re confident we have a team capable of challenging for the podium and hopefully victory at the event. We feel the bike has been expertly prepared by ourselves, with our ongoing support from Suzuki’s Vintage Parts programme. The plan now is to get a couple of tests under our belt and turn up at Donington Park in May as best-prepared as we possibly can be, and hopefully be there, or thereabouts, after four hours of racing.”