Road Racing News Speaks To: Steve Wheatman

Road Racing News Speaks To: Steve Wheatman

Not many teams can boast triple Classic TT successes like Team Classic Suzuki.

Perennial front runners in terms of yesteryear Superbike action on the Mountain Course, they have formed a formidable partnership over the years with Michael Dunlop.

Still running the proven XR69 model, the Classic Suzuki outfit have added to the stable this year an SRAD GSX-R 750.

On Monday afternoon, Road Racing News managed to gain Team Classic Suzuki Team Owner Steve Wheatman’s thoughts on this plus much, much more.

Our uncontrived conversation reads as follows:

Road Racing News:

Nice to see another good stable of Team Classic Suzuki machinery.


“We’ve got the new bike here and the we’ve got the old faithful, hoping to get something done, had a bit of a disappointing start on Sunday, were we unfortunately lost a motor but these things happen just as well it happens early on rather than later on.

But were really looking forward to putting something down. We are looking to see if this is the future for us, if not we’ve still got the past sitting here as well.”

Steve went onto add:

“Hopefully we can have some success with this (SRAD GSX-R 750), if we can find the right formula for it. They haven’t been pushed around here in recent years, so it’s finding what the right balance between factory components and shall we say harder working, longer lasting components.”

Road Racing News:

I know it’s always asked but what is Michael (Dunlop) like to work with.


“Lovely, lovely man, people quite often miss understand what he’s like but he’s a very clever guy, very quick witted, very, very good with mechanical understanding of the bikes.

We’ve worked with him now, I think this is the 12th year that we’ve actually had something to do with him, I think ridden for us ten times, had a couple of years off due to covid but we’ve had a twelve-year association and they’ve all been great.”

Road Racing News:

Good to see your running Phil Crowe again.


“Phil’s a nice guy, Phil came to us about four to five years ago and he’s never quite had the luck on our machinery.

He bought one of our bikes off us a couple of years ago, so he’s largely running that himself, we are assisting when we can, so let’s hope he can have a good run out.

Cause on his day with the speeds he is capable of, close to 130 mph laps, on a bike that does 125, 126’s he could be really competitive and it’s just nice to see something other than the Kawasaki’s at the front.”

Road Racing News:

It’s something different the S-RAD in comparison.


“I know some people, didn’t like the changes in the years of eligibility, it’s been five or six years since the original rules were laid down.

So it was time to move it on, you can’t move it every year because if you did stuff would go obsolete but I think it’s the right time to do it.

It’s enabled these to come in, it’s enabled the RC45 Honda’s to come in for anyone who has enough money to run them and it was just time it was freshened up and at the end of the day the previous machinery is still very competitive, especially while the new bikes are being developed.”

Road Racing News:

Finally, it was good to see the Team Classic Suzuki team at the TT Races this year, will Team Classic Suzuki be back at the TT next year?


“We are hoping to be, I think the thing now is that we always knew it was going to be difficult for us, because of the riders that we had, we weren’t going to be right at the sharp end but we knew that, the idea was to hopefully take the pressure off two riders, to help move them on.

I think we did that in our way, we ultimately had three starts, three finishes, out of fifty starters we were finishing in the 20’s so that’s sort of in the top half.

It was a big learning curve for us because we’d never been involved with the TT proper as such and it was good but it’s such a long time to be here to be honest.

But we would certainly hope to be here next year but that’s not necessarily always in our hands, because you have to get the entries, depending on the riders that we have, we have to see if we can get the entries as well but we’ve got the machinery (ex-Hawk Racing Superstock/Superbike) still.”

Words by Stevie Rial #dontletfearcontrolyou

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