Tag Archives: Manx Grand Prix

Turn a Kawasaki Versys ER6 into a TT Racer

My Kawasaki Racer Posts from over three years ago are proving to be enduringly popular – so – it’s time to bring ’em forward and link them
together to make things easier for those who are interested.

20/05/2013 – Post – Kawasaki ER6/Versys 650 Racer:

Back in the early nineties I turned my road going Yamaha TDM 850 into a race bike and competed against Ducati 851’s and suchlike in the National Battle of the Twins series as well as in Open Class racing .

tdm-850First off I got busy with the grindette and cut off all the bits that I would have no use for on the track – including the bottom bit of the protruding flywheel cover which had a habit of grounding out on the tarmac when things got serious. The flywheel had already been machined 20mm slimmer to let her hit top revs easier so it wasn’t much of a problem to weld in a chamferred blanking plate to seal the casing.

All extraneous lugs and part of the sub-frame fell victim to my grindette and this brutality was covered with some FZR 600 race fibreglass I had leftover from another project. The tank cover only fitted after I got really serious with the fuel tank and reduced it’s volume by 50% – not a problem for short circuit racing. The nose fairing was stolen from another of my race bikes – a Honda VFR 400 NC30.

Lightweight Marchesini wheels – 17 ins front and rear instead of the std 18/17 fitments were from a 250cc GP bike – rear shock was changed to a fully adjustable unit from Eamon Clear and the fork legs were slipped up through the yokes to give her better cornering attitude. Exhaust was home made by a backstreet artist in metal from Bannockburn and proved almost impossible to baffle properly. One enormous wad of wire wool that got me through scrutineering for an International Twins race against the French at Donnington on the Day of the Champions shot out when at full bore under Dunlop Bridge releasing a few more ponies from the suffering motor.

Great days 🙂

Four Seasons 005 (2)

Thanks to the ‘Green Meannie’ brigade for their patience – I am getting to your bike now 🙂

Bringing things up to date almost twenty years later and mainly thanks to a certain Ryan Farquhar something similar is happening with the tame-looking Kawasaki ER6/Versys 650 twin.

Here she is in standard trim —


I happened to take a turn round by the race shop when I was over that way today gathering seashells (don’t ask ) and there was one of those Kawasaki 650’s being prepared for a twins race at Cadwell this coming weekend —

Kawasaki Race Bike 009

She is sporting an after-market shock and a smart Arrow GP style exhaust and I suspect there will more trick bits to these upside-downies than a couple of Maxton stickers —

Kawasaki Race Bike 007

Very tidy —

Kawasaki Race Bike 011

and with Joey sitting there in the background keeping an eye on things what can possibly go wrong —

Kawasaki Race Bike 005

I hope to take my Tenere over that way towards the end of the week and if I time it right I could get a pic of the Versys with her bodywork fitted before she goes in the truck. Very tidy!

A quick edit and we have the ER6 Supertwin resplendent in her new bodywork after her racing debut at Cadwell Park —

Tenere Trumps 001

She is looking good and slimmer than a slim thing —

Tenere Trumps 005

c’est magnifique —

Tenere Trumps 003

Kawasaki ER6/Versys 650

12/02/2014 – Post – Kawasaki ER6 Racer for the 2014 TT

I have put one Kawasaki Post on my blog prior to this one and it get’s so many hits I feel obliged to give you ‘Green Meanie’ chaps another.

It said it in the Belfast Newsletter so it must be true – Ryan Farquhar and Keith Amor have teamed up and are both to make a comeback at the 2014 Isle of Man TT riding Kawasaki ER6 Supertwin machines. I even managed to pirate a pic of the likely lads with one of the very smart little twins as built by Ryan here on the left —

Ryan Farquhar and Keith Amor

Tis a thing of beauty and I understand that Manx Gas and Brian McGrath of SGS International have provided the sponsorship to get the boys back on the Isle of Man roads. No doubt there will be a shakedown run out at the North West 200 prior to the TT if the team can find the necessary backing for it too.

Former Honda TT Legends rider Keith stepped away from racing in 2011 due to a shoulder injury so a low key run out on the Supertwin should be a nice way to re-live old times without having the pressure of riding for a top team on large capacity machinery.

Keith in his heyday on Honda TT Legends machinery —


Ryan retired in 2012 after the death of his uncle in the Manx Grand Prix that year while riding a Farqhar Supertwin Kawasaki so it hasn’t been an easy decision for Ryan to make a return to the roads.

Ryan ‘giving it some air’ at the Mid Antrim 150 on the day he scored a perfect hat-rick of wins —


But – like many before him Ryan has found that building race bikes as he has done for the past year is a seven day week job and the margins don’t always equate to a good living whereas the returns for one race entry while his name is still up there in lights can pay the bills for a month or two.

Let’s wish them both well and a safe return to the Manx roads.


Kawasaki ER6 Racer for the 2014 TT

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Posted by on November 2, 2016 in Isle of Luing, Motorcycling


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Suzuki XR69 – the Story

Suzuki XR69 – A collection of Posts from my blog about the Suzuki XR69 race bikes built by John Sim at his Silverstone workshop.

25/11/2011 – Post – Suzuki GSX-R Factory.

With three classic GSX-Rs in various stages of disarray and shipping date for the South Africa Winter Series of races very close it’s all hands to the pump to get them ready in time. I nipped down to the Silverstone today to collect one of the motors that has been rebuilt and took the opportunity to steal a few photos when I was there.

The two bikes that gave Michael Dunlop trouble at the Manx Grand Prix this year were both in the Silverstone workshop.

This is the bike Michael won the Manx on last year. It was pressed into service for this year’s race when the 2011 bike gave trouble in practise but didn’t finish.

The blue bike was for this year’s Manx Grand Prix. Michael has clocked 120mph laps with these bikes.

and this one with the Maxton twin-shocks is being built complete with Dominator lights for Endurance racing. I’ve got the same lights on my gixxer. I hope the rider isn’t depending on them to light the track at speed.

It’s one thing to love your Suzuki but to sleep with the bodywork is taking things a bit too far!

If you are that keen on Suzukis then you must have a tidy full power GSX-R 750  too —



26/11/2011 – Post – Suzuki GSX-R Thou

That aircooled GSX-R thou is a big lump of a motor – bet yesterday from Silverstone was the first time one has been carried in the boot of a Smartcar but she’s home nae bother and we bolted her into the frame this morning.

Did I mention the traffic on the M1? Absolutely horrendous Friday afternoon. All it needs is a minor collision and those Traffic Management people in their highly painted 4X4s manage to make a drama out of a crisis. Clearing the road appears to be the least of their concerns.

No worries – back at Bill Simpson’s Dalbeattie workshop work things are taking shape. The motor I brought from Silverstone has been bolted into the frame  —

Just the iron-mongery to fit and she’ll be ready for the crate.

here’s one that was prepared earlier —

The standard fitment is 18 inch rear with a treaded tyre — but if the rules allow – a 17ins wheel with a 180mm slick can be shoe-horned in – just!

The crates are due to be collected Tuesday for shipping to South Africa.



Looks like Monday might be a busy day.



14/04/2012 – Post – Suzuki XR69

The iconic Suzuki XR69 —

No she isn’t pulling a trailer although she has enough ‘grunt’ to do it. That’s the starter behind her which works by driving a motor driven rubber tyred wheel against the rear tyre of the XR69. Get up to speed – engage gear on the XR69 and Bingo! She will fire up!

But only if the clutch clears and this one didn’t. The motor in the XR69 hadn’t been run for five months and we were unable to free the clutch sufficiently to get the thing going. So – clutch was pulled apart and both steel and friction plates cleaned of oil. The oil level was dropped because the heavy when cold Silkolene 10-40 grade was reckoned to be the main problem causing stiction between the clutch plates —

With the oil cleaned off the clutch plates and the level dropped below the lip of the clutch basket so she wouldn’t pickup any more she fired up first time and the job’s a good un:-)

Well not quite – running a 190 section rear tyre in this bike brought it’s own issues —

Namely – getting clearance between the final drive chain and the edge of that wide 190 tyre.

No worries – the ever-resourceful Buffalo turned up some neat spacers with his lathe down in the corner of the workshop and this baby is ready for the truck to go testing down in the warmer climes of southern Spain some time soon 🙂

Ok – Jessica – just for you – the ‘cheesy grin’ —

I don’t expect to have the overalls on again for a while – but – Aldo has promised me a couple of fresh brown trout so I could do with that recipe you promised me 🙂

No that I’d ever thought there would be a special recipe for trout. I’ve been salting them – peppering them – coating them in oatmeal and throwing ’em in the frying pan since I was a kid. Doesn’t come simpler than that. On one memorable occasion I cleaned ’em and fried them on the riverbank without the oatmeal and condiments. I think they were the best 🙂



28/10/2012 – Suzuki XR69

The Suzuki XR69 – isn’t she a beauty! From a time when men were men and sheep ran scared —


Suzuki XR69







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Posted by on October 29, 2016 in Motorcycling


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