Team Classic Suzuki will return to endurance racing in 2018 when it lines up with former British Superbike Champion John Reynolds, Steve Parrish and Michael Neeves at the Endurance Legends four-hour, which takes place at Donington Park, in the UK, on May 13th.
The team made its endurance racing debut at last year’s event and qualified sixth on the grid with Parrish, Neeves and James Whitham aboard its iconic Katana, but the debut was short-lived after a crash on the opening lap left the bike too badly damaged to continue.
However, the team enjoyed two more outings in 2017, taking seventh at the Bikers’ Classic four-hour at Spa Francorchamps with Guy Martin and Pete Boast. Boast and Neeves then lined up for the final round at Aragon, where Boast crashed out of third place with just minutes remaining.
Again, supported by Suzuki GB’s Vintage Parts Programme, the team had hoped to return to Donington Park with its original rider line-up, but unfortunately Whitham will be unable to join team-mates Parrish and Neeves in May. Instead, Reynolds – who won the 2004 British Superbike Championship with Suzuki and boasts Suzuka 8-Hour experience on his CV – will deputise, while Team Classic Suzuki aims for Whitham to race the Katana again later in the season.
“It should be James [Whitham] that’s on the bike at Donington Park really. The team had talked to me about me riding the bike later in the year, but it was supposed to be James on it for this event. Hopefully he’ll be back on it at another round. But now it’s happening, I’m really fired up for it and excited about riding the bike. When you retire from racing you never realise how much you’ll miss it. I’ve not raced competitively since, so will be training to be in good shape for the race. It’s a bit of fun but at the same time it’s competitive. It’s a real honour to be asked back to race for Suzuki. I’ve not ridden a race bike in anger in a long time, but I’m looking forward to it and will do the best I can.”