WHEN Yamaha introduced the YZF-R1 in 1998, the racing world stopped with jaws agape at the bold move to an entire litre’s worth of superbike motor.
Although it took until 1999 for Ducati to pump their twins up to 4cc short of a grand, and until the new millennium for the rest of the Japanese to add their missing 250cc lost on Yamaha, manufacturers across the board were launched into a war of displacement.
Stewart Events Thundersport GB has made a move to preserve this near-forgotten, yet iconic era of ‘big bike’ history on their timesheets beginning in 2017.
The Thundersport GP1 Classics will take to the tarmac initially alongside Golden Era Superbikes, but will be scored completely separate as is the
intention with the eventual growth of grids.
Golden Era Superbikes is a place for the pre-R1 generation, when 750cc was king of the fours and no one dared go beyond, while GP1 Classics will be the immediate disciples of the gilded period.
Eligible machines will include, among others, the carbureted Yamaha R1, Kawasaki’s ZX-9R, the Suzuki GSXR1000 K1, and Honda’s Fireblade CBR954RR.
Detailed technical regulations are as of yet limited, but the purpose of the class is likely low-cost entry into large-displacement racing, which seems a paradox in the world of today’s £25,000 superstock bikes.
Below is a full list of eligible machinery as noted in Thundersport GB’s recent Donington Park race programme.
|Aprilia||RSV1000R||2004 and after|
|Benelli||Tornado||All models to 2003|
|Ducati||998||2002 – 2004|
|Honda||CBR900RR, 919RR, 929RR, 954RR||All models|
|Kawasaki||ZX-9R||All models to 2004|
|Suzuki||GSXR1100, GSXR1000 K1/K2||988cc only, 38mm throttle bodies from K1 or 38mm inlet restrictor on 42mm throttle bodies|
|Triumph||Daytona 955i||All models|
|Yamaha||YZF-R1||All carbureted models|
The GP1 Classics will join the grid next season – find here the provisional 2017 Thundersport GB Race Calendar.
*Main image by Neil Lambert