Classic TT: when is a classic not a classic ?
Malcolm Offline
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#1
Classic TT: when is a classic not a classic ?
[Image: bennettsreport1.jpg]

The official line following the disqualifications.

Since its inception in 2013 the Classic TT has become one of the main draws in the classic enthusiast’s diary. The combination of some of the world’s most exotic machines, on the world’s greatest road-racing course, makes for unbeatable spectacle.

And of all the events in the motorcycle diary, the Classic TT is, surely, among the most innocuous: it is not the TT and nor is it part of any other race series.

But the aftermath of this year’s Classic has proved otherwise, following technical infringements and a torrent of speculative, accusatory posts on social media.

Here’s the low-down: James Hillier, Dean Harrison, Jamie Coward and Horst Saiger had their machines stripped and dismissed on technical grounds after Monday’s Superbike race.

An official statement regarding the disqualifications said:

 “The first three bikes in the Superbike Classic TT Race were selected for post-race eligibility checks. The machines that finished second (Dean Harrison - Silicone Engineering) and third (James Hillier - Greenall Racing) were found to have oversized engines. At that point the machines that finished in the next places were called for the same checks. At this point the machines of Jamie Coward (Mistral Racing) and Horst Saiger (Greenall Racing) were removed from the result by the respective teams, effectively disqualifying themselves.”

For Greenall Racing’s Saiger, the situation was not so cut and dry, however. He said: 

“There’s no prize money and no championship. 750s against 1300s, handmade high tech bikes against old standard bikes out of a shed, big teams with professional riders against absolute amateurs. To be honest I didn’t take the whole thing too serious. I was just happy to have a good bike with a good team behind it, so I can ride safely around the Mountain Course.”

He continued: “I didn’t know that my bike was out of regulations, but I didn’t ask and that’s only because I didn’t really want to know! After the parc ferme my team boss Angus Greenall came to me and told me: Sorry Horst, you’re out. ‘Your pistons are 0,5mm too big. It was only a money thing as the 72,5 mm pistons would have been special parts and £40,000 whilst the 73mm are standard at £3,000 each.’

For sure it was not right and he could have used smaller pistons, but I think he didn’t take it too serious as well.”

James Hillier - also on a Greenall Kawasaki - posted his take on events on his Facebook page: 

“For the record I was unaware of my bike being against the rule book yesterday. I took risks and tried my best for nothing.

Rules are rules and I would never intentionally break them. Apologies to the other competitors and my loyal sponsors. I will make up for it next year on a legitimate machine for a different team.”


Greenall Racing said: 

“Being excluded from the results wasn't what we were expecting as in previous years, nobody had been stripped and we knew we had put together two of the finest and safest machines in the paddock.”

“After last year’s Classic TT, Greenall Racing agreed that we couldn’t compete against the big Suzukis and Yamahas with our 750s and made the decision to run with the oversize pistons. We presumed that the other top teams wanting to be competitive had also gone down this route. As a team, we have always been led to believe that the Classic TT was about ‘putting on a show’ so that was our intention, along with trying to win the race, or at least be competitive.”


[Image: bennettsreport2.jpg]
Michael Dunlop on the Team Classic Suzuki XR69

There is, indeed a section in the Classic TT regulations under ‘Machine Eligibility’ that states:

 “The organisers retain the ability to accept an entry for a machine that is not compliant with these regulations if in their view it will enhance the spectacle of the racing without giving a competitor an unfair advantage. Such requests must be made in writing prior to the closing date for entries and will be accepted or rejected on a case by case basis.”

And it’s this that Saiger draws our attention to: “For me the Classic TT is a festival and a show, the regulations say everything.”

TT boss, Paul Phillips, responded to the disqualifications situation by saying: 

“There's a lot of talk on the Internet about the disqualifications in the Superbike Race however there is considerable misinformation. We decided to carry out post race examinations in that class this year and some of the machines that were checked had aspects that were outside of the regulations and were disqualified. We advised the teams this would happen at the Technical Briefings at the start of the event. The responsibility to comply with the regulations lies with the teams and suggestions that they have been encouraged to cheat or given assurances that they wouldn’t be checked in the past are nonsense.”

Pivotal to this technical fall-out is the interpretation - or misinterpretation - of what the Classic TT is.

Indeed, the range and capability of motorcycles entering into a Classic Superbike race is vast. Some are original machines, others are new rebuilds based on older models. Dunlop’s XR69 - on which he won the Superbike race - was a recently-built machine based on an early 80s model.

And there are reasons for using modern machinery to replicate originals: metal fatigue and reliability being perhaps the two biggest concerns with old technology.

The official line on the overall premise of the Classic TT is as such, according to Paul Phillips: 

“There is a major misconception from critics about the Classic TT in that they are thinking we are trying to replicate history but that has never been an objective. We are here to create an exciting spectacle that attracts visitors to our Island, investment from sponsors and coverage in the media. To date the Classic TT has done that in ever increasing numbers since its inception in 2013. The event is funded by the public purse and has to generate a return and contribute to the Island’s visitor economy.”

"The confusion with classic regulations stems from people's definition of whether a classic bike is original or not but we are not stating that the bikes have to be original. Our regulations are clearly defined despite what some of our critics will have you believe. We retain the right to allow machines outside of the regulations if we think that they will add something positive to the event, and as long as they don’t materially affect performance but to date that dispensation has seldom been required.”

The question now is to how teams will respond to this for next year’s event. Watch this space.

For Phillips, he wants next year’s event to build on the success of the last four Classic TTs He said: 

“The great thing with the Classic TT is that there is an almost unlimited amount of history to celebrate and build content around going forward, especially when it comes to the off-track entertainment. I can’t tell you what the plans are for 2017 at the moment, however we will confirm them later this year at Motorcycle Live and we have some really interesting and exciting ideas!”

Indeed, let’s not forget what the Classic TT is all about: noisy, smelly wonderful race machines of a bygone era. And all on the world’s greatest racing circuit.

[Image: bennettsreport3.jpg]




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07-09-2016, 02:36 PM
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shipleymanx Offline
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#2
RE: Classic TT: when is a classic not a classic ?
Surely they have to decide wether it is a show or a race,  as riders lower down the order think its a race, I used to spend thousands of pounds to try and win a race against equal and legal bikes. When somebody down the order wins a rep, that would be the highlight of their racing career. But when we don't know how much extra speed the illegal bikes could have, this has a bearing on who receives a rep. I know everybody is concerned what the big teams think about this situation, but what about the little guy. I know they may not bring a big number of spectators to see them, but do we really want only 10-15 bikes going round
07-09-2016, 09:39 PM
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Sam Pato Offline
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#3
RE: Classic TT: when is a classic not a classic ?
I've followed the development of the Classic TT over the recent years and have been interested to see the machinery that gets involved. I haven't read the regs or delved into the tech side too much and most of what I know has been gleaned from this forum (and the old one).

My understanding (mainly from tittle tattle) was that the big Suzukis are running engines that are based on the Bandit 1200 and hence are not period or even of the engine size that the bikes were based on (GS1000). This is apparently within the regs. Whats confusing me is that the ZXR's are not allowed to be oversize but the Suzukis are. Can anyone assist with an explanation of what I'm missing?

Its a sorry state of affairs and if, as it appears, the Suzuki's are untouchable (unless you have a GP bike in the shed) then I doubt there will be as much interest as they hope. Seems a shame. At the very least it would appear unlikely that the smartly turned out Mistral and Greenall's bikes will be absent from the grid and the event will be poorer as a result.

I'm not in anyway condoning cheating but as I look at it - there just seems to be a disconnect in the thinking that says that your 1990's 750 has to be compliant but in the same class you can run a 500GP bike. It just seems a bit farcical.

Cheers


Sam
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08-09-2016, 01:22 AM
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Alfie Noakes Offline
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#4
RE: Classic TT: when is a classic not a classic ?
I was of the thinking / gossip that the original specs included a period component(not bike) cut off date of 1985/6 and there was much conjecture that the organisers hadn't realised that the GSXR1100 oil cooled engine was legit date wise as the GSXR was sold new before the cut off date, then when a few people including some of the bigger names rolled up with XR69 replica's using said engine and the latest legal suspension tech / frames they found themselves backed into a corner, the Suzuki 1100 engine is very very strong/reliable and is easy to get big bhp/torque on tap, the Bandit 1200 1157cc motor (the GSXR is slightly less @ 1052-1127cc model depending) bike wasn't made until 1996 and apart from the 80's proddy races i'm unaware of the GSXR1100 motor being used in any other TT classes, even the last late 90's WSB ZXR 750's would struggle to get reliably close to the bhp of a well sorted 1100, having said that it is possible to pedal a ZXR 750 quickly around the TT as the late great Simon Beck proved in I think pre course changes 1998 with a circa 122mph lap. The other thing is not everybody wants to ride an XR69 or big cc replica's- they look like a proper gorilla handful compared to a sweeter steering ZXR, for me they make a good thing to see competing on the TT course.

The wait for a well supported totally legit grid will be very long and without the FoM the Manx wouldn't happen because of the bean counters and being honest if the money numbers involved are half true there's not many businesses that would sustain that loss every year, being an ex old school The Manx two stroke TZ racer myself I would love to go back to the old days but it's never ever going to happen we have to move on or disappear, methinks a small amount of realistic thinking/input is required from hands on bike experienced people rather than desk jockeys - maybe have different classes like an open class for the replica's, big cc variants, GP 2 strokes etc and another class for the proper to the letter period privateer guys / bikes.

Something needs to be done as the arguments are detrimental to the event and if as J McG hinted they'll allow RC45's into the class the whole thing is going to get very smelly politics wise and I can interest from people wanting to ride at the event declining.
(This post was last modified: 08-09-2016, 09:27 AM by Alfie Noakes.)
08-09-2016, 09:22 AM
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cregnybaa Offline
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#5
RE: Classic TT: when is a classic not a classic ?
Lets face it if Michael Dunlop was on a legal Kawasaki the result would still be the same, he would win. this year the next xr69 Suzuki was 7th so if Michael was not riding the xr69 and not at the top most of these repetitive discussions would not be happening. Regarding the so called bandit engine it is continuation of a gsxr engine detuned, everything out of a bandit engine will fit into a gsxr engine as they are the same. these people with the zxr's  were cheating and that's all there is to say the regs were there they should have read and understood them if they didn't like it they should not have entered. James Hillier is most noble person in this whole debacle, read his comments.
08-09-2016, 01:40 PM
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Sam Pato Offline
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#6
RE: Classic TT: when is a classic not a classic ?
Perhaps I could have asked my question differently.

Am I correct in thinking that the XR69 bikes run an engine size greater than 1100cc when they were originally made with a 1000cc engine?

Why is it the case that these bikes can run an oversize engine but the 750cc cannot?

Just to clarify - I am only asking out of interest - not suggesting that Michael Dunlop isn't the fastest rider or that anything outside the regs is OK.

Cheers

Sam
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09-09-2016, 12:11 AM
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cregnybaa Offline
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#7
RE: Classic TT: when is a classic not a classic ?
They did run xr 69s with gs 1000 engines when classic tt race first started about 2013, then I believe the cut off was 1886 but only up to 1000cc, they then decided that they wanted lots of rc30s and owo1s and such things in the race so they made the cut off 1992 for up to 750s this of course would leave the 86 1000cc bikes in the stone age, so they decided that up to 31 december 86 bikes could go out to 1300cc to put them on a level playing field with the later 750s that handle better and should have a better power to weight ratio. I don't think there is anything wrong with this formula but I do have a vested interest as i run a standard framed gsxr1100 in this class and I must say we are never going to win.
(This post was last modified: 09-09-2016, 08:30 AM by Malcolm.)
09-09-2016, 02:21 AM
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Sam Pato Offline
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#8
RE: Classic TT: when is a classic not a classic ?
Thanks for that - all makes a lot more sense now. Shame for the lads who were disqualified and I can see why JH was a bit miffed about it.

Its always going to be a bit tricky getting the balance right and it seems like its not far off at the moment (but you're right to point out the MD factor).  Overall I think its a good idea so hopefully it'll be all sorted out for next year.

Cheers


Sam
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09-09-2016, 06:19 AM
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Bangerman Offline
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#9
RE: Classic TT: when is a classic not a classic ?
All the talk seems to be of the Classic super bikes and the disqualifications (4). Their engines were oversize and they were disqualified - fairly straightforward. What seems to be of much greater concern inside the sport concerns the Senior Classic race where two competitors were found to have oversize fuel tanks, but were not disqualified ! This is a matter not commented upon by Paul Phillips and he should. After all cheating is cheating and should not be tolerated.
09-09-2016, 08:32 AM
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Alfie Noakes Offline
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#10
RE: Classic TT: when is a classic not a classic ?
Cregnybaa, you / your rider have my utmost respect for running a standard frame, I was talked into an "adventure" off the 2 stroke road into the Senior MGP once on a GSXR750, by the end of practice week it had been christened "The Flying Hinge", there were loads of RC30's in those days, I started at 70 and have pics of RC's and OW01's behind me on the line. Wonder where all those bikes are now ?.
Just asking out of interest / hypothetically - If the regs allow big engines and bespoke period frames/components etc what is there to stop somebody putting a big cc motor of any description in a ZXR frame and entering it as such ??.
09-09-2016, 09:12 AM
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Sam Pato Offline
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#11
RE: Classic TT: when is a classic not a classic ?
It would have to be made before '86 wouldn't it?
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09-09-2016, 09:14 AM
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Nev14 Offline
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#12
RE: Classic TT: when is a classic not a classic ?
I think the answer to the title of this thread "when is a classic not a classic" is when it is run in the Classic TT
09-09-2016, 09:30 AM
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warrior Offline
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#13
RE: Classic TT: when is a classic not a classic ?
I think back at the beginning when the class was dreamt up, the organisers simply assumed the grid would be full of RC30's, 0W01's, RG500's, TZ750's etc.

I don't think they understood the relative rarity of sufficient numbers of these machines, their value, and also the lack of availability, along with the cost, of the parts required to keep them running for a week of practice and a race.

They then appeared to hastily re-write things, to include 'silhouettes' in an attempt to fill out the grid, it certainly needs more clarity for next year.
09-09-2016, 09:52 AM
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bsa499 Offline
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#14
RE: Classic TT: when is a classic not a classic ?
I'm intrigued by Bangerman's report that two Senior Classic machines had oversized fuel tanks yet were not excluded. Did the two machines finish in the first three?
09-09-2016, 01:18 PM
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Bangerman Offline
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#15
RE: Classic TT: when is a classic not a classic ?
In the first two actually
09-09-2016, 06:46 PM
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DBD 34 Offline
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#16
RE: Classic TT: when is a classic not a classic ?
Yep, heard that as well, McGuinness and Harrison had massively oversized tanks so really Maria Costello should be declared winner.

Unfortunately this is what happens when you give all the power to a bunch of clueless idiots.

You can just see them up in the control tower going "ooh look at the pretty colours on the grid, they're gonna look lovely on ITV4 aren't they" haven't a clue about bikes or racing on the IoM (apart from Milky maybe)
09-09-2016, 09:38 PM
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cregnybaa Offline
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#17
RE: Classic TT: when is a classic not a classic ?
(09-09-2016, 09:12 AM)Alfie Noakes Wrote: Cregnybaa, you / your rider have my utmost respect for running a standard frame, I was talked into an "adventure" off the 2 stroke road into the Senior MGP once on a GSXR750, by the end of practice week it had been christened "The Flying Hinge", there were loads of RC30's in those days, I started at 70 and have pics of RC's and OW01's behind me on the line. Wonder where all those bikes are now ?.
Just asking out of interest / hypothetically - If the regs allow big engines and bespoke period frames/components etc what is there to stop somebody putting a big cc motor of any description in a ZXR frame and entering it as such ??.

Regarding big cc motor in zxr frame some have probably already done that as a zx9 engine will go in with little difficulty and unless you are a real Kawasaki anorak its difficult to tell the difference.
09-09-2016, 10:38 PM
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DBD 34 Offline
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#18
RE: Classic TT: when is a classic not a classic ?
PISTONS...........quite easy to tell the difference.
09-09-2016, 10:55 PM
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canamant Offline
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#19
RE: Classic TT: when is a classic not a classic ?
If  you remove the cylinder head.
20-09-2016, 07:31 PM
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Brian Crow Offline
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#20
RE: Classic TT: when is a classic not a classic ?
This year (2016) I went to the ManxGP/Classic TT, one of my friends said he had an entry for the Senior Classic Race and asked could he use one of my Seeley G50s, of which I have several and have owned them for approx 40 years.

I was amazed to see how many Seeleys & G50s there were but it appears that they are not Seeleys or G50s but imitations as apparently the bore and stroke are different from the original, carburettors are different and many various modifications.

Obviously where original parts aren’t available i.e. sodium valves or original pistons and magnetos, other items would have to be found but how can these machines that have been built very recently be classed as classics?

I was even more amazed to find that the person riding my machine was also riding a Honda 350 and he was told it was ineligible because it had the wrong back wheel. Surely a classic bike must of been made before a certain date to qualify, it appears that I can order my new classic bike now and have it ready for next years race, bearing the matchless badge and fully compliant with the organisers interpretation of a classic bike.

So the conclusion is pistons wrong, crank wrong, stroke wrong, carb wrong, magneto wrong and various other items and of course the Matchless name being used all the time (unless, they've bought the rights to the Matchless name). All these items are fine but a back wheel wrong eliminates you.

I asked a scrutineer what constitutes a classic bike and he said “whatever the organisers wants in the meeting”, which confirms my last statement.

Someone needs to get to grips with this farcical situation.
(This post was last modified: 14-10-2016, 07:29 PM by Brian Crow.)
14-10-2016, 07:27 PM
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