The home-built TT bike
his is the kind of bike the Classic TT was invented for. Built by Manx Grand Prix front runner Gary Gittins, the 1990 GSX-R750L started as a way of getting extra practice time for his goal of a Supertwin podium – then developed a momentum of its own. As Gary puts it: “It was a cheap way to put in more laps. Then I forgot about the cheap.”
Gary bought the 45,000-mile bike from a friend, Phil Morris, last December. At the time it was in several boxes of bits; Phil had planned a nut and bolt restoration, but hadn’t got round to it. Gary took as his inspiration Suzuki’s 1989 factory endurance racers, and found paint and decal references on the Suzuki Racing website archive. Border Automotive in Shrewsbury applied the paint beautifully.
“I did all the engine work myself. I was involved in tuning when I worked at RLR Motorsports, and we had some success with Isle of Man bikes, so I had an insight into what goes on.” Gary gas-flowed the head, raised the compression and dialled in the stock cams to Yoshimura’s spec.
The factory bikes ran scoops through the tank to deliver cool air to the airbox. Gary’s bike uses four intake hoses instead. “Rick Leddy at RLR lent me the dyno to set up the carbs. It’s pretty close now, and giving around 120bhp. I’m looking to do 130bhp next year, but I’ll see how reliable it is in this spec.” After two practice sessions the bike was already doing 110mph laps. It finished the race 11th.
How long does it take to build a bike like this, really? “It’s hundreds of hours. I wouldn’t like to say. There are holes in the stair carpet and the house looks like a squat. I haven’t had time for anything else much. But seeing it now makes it all worthwhile.”
Words Rupert Paul Photo Dave Collister