REIGNING Thundersport GB Supertwin champion Jonny Towers is back, and he’s heading for the blue riband pastures of GP1 as he makes his class debut this weekend at Brands Hatch.
But it won’t be on a 1000cc machine, and it’s neither a four cylinder nor a twin. He and Team Edge RST team-mate Nick Edgeley are taking on the club’s fastest category with a pair of identically-prepared 765cc Triumphs.
That’s not a typo – that’s 765cc, sporting engines which have been punched out 90cc from the bog-standard 675 Daytona that they started life as.
Bike building gurus John Trigger and Dave Cherry have brought out the big guns once again, taking 675s off the showroom floor and turning them into weapons they hope can challenge at the front-runners of GP1.
Towers has been fairly quiet since sensationally walking away from his Supertwin title defence back in May at Cadwell Park just moments after setting pole position with an 80-point lead in the series over Krämer man Lukas Wimmer.
But the 2017 champion admits he still has an itch to scratch and after a long two months away from the Thundersport grid, he feels the time is right to break cover with the new bikes.
“It’s been a really interesting project ever since Nick started the development back in January,” he told UK Clubsport. “John Trigger and Dave Cherry have taken charge of the development project, and they’ve done a fantastic job.
“The bike doesn’t have massive horsepower, it’s 90cc bigger than a 675, but if we can get the chassis right it should be pretty good – It could work.
“What I’m really interested in is the development itself. I’d like to think top-15 as a starting point and then build from there. It could be higher, it could be lower, but I want to be realistic and get back to enjoying riding.
“Initially it was quite difficult because the way the bike made power made it really difficult to ride. It was all torque and all it did was wheelie.
“So we worked on the chassis and got the balance better and we’re just about ready to race it now. I’ve done three trackdays on it, but you can never get a proper run out with those.
“We’ve made quite a big change to the chassis which I’ll try for the first time Friday morning. If that works, we should be there or thereabouts.”
While he has stressed the importance of enjoying his riding again, Towers says he’s not ready to just roll over and back off – he has every intention of fighting at the sharp end if he can.
“What’s nice with this is it’s completely new, I don’t have expectations. There are some guys that are really good 1000cc riders in there, so it’ll just be nice to get stuck in and see what happens.”
“We have lightweight subframes on it now, Dymag wheels, a trick Pipewerx exhaust – it really looks the part. You look at it and you think, ‘wow, I want this thing to work because it looks beautiful’.
“I’m not coming into GP1 to have a ride around. If the bike is good I’ll be riding with a head on to try and get it up front. If it’s not capable of running top 15, I won’t just be out there for the craic.”
*Images: Alex James