A lot has been written about the GPz900r but there isn’t a lot of detail available on racing results. There is a racing heritage, at the bikes first public showing at the 1983 Paris Motor Show discusses the intent to replace with a 750cc engine so it can be used for US Superbike racing.
But what is clear from 1984 the racing is the competition had more race-oriented motorcycles. The Honda VF1000R & Yamaha RZ500 were all bikes designed for the track, not the street. They were expensive homologation specials, and back then pretty well everyone expected these would be the bikes that set 1984 performance standards. Honda were suggesting the VF1000R could hit 260km/h…..
So it is another testament to the amazing Ninja design that the bike not only trumped both of these on the street (which must have shocked Honda & Yamaha) but was super-competitive in production racing across many countries including Australia, where it was often competing against brand-spanking new machinery imported directly from Japan. It’s competitive racing life Down Under was only 3 years as Production Race capacity reduced to 750cc in 1987, and there is no way a GPz750R was ever going to come anywhere near the wonderful Suzuki GSX-R750!
Back in ’84, of course, it was the ultimate rip-snorter. In that year my proddy-race GSX1100 was brim-full of illegal Yoshimura gear, yet the bloody bog-stock Ninjas still came steaming past before the end of the Snetterton straight.
|#2 Geoff Johnson
||#19 Howard Selby
||#27 Jack Gow
The GPz900r ‘s most publicised Production Racing result was filling the podium in the re-introduced 1984 Isle of Man Production TT for motorcycles up to 1500cc! However not quite an official clean-sweep, as the original second placed rider, Barry Woodland was disqualified due to a intake modification – despite it being a factory issued head. Ah well technical controversy, shows nothing really changes in motor racing! And in those days it truly was production bikes, yet all of these bikes averaging over 103mph….
We had to ride on standard shocks, standard silencer, with lights still fitted. All that was removed was the side stand and the indicators and mirrors.
However the first significant race win for the GPz900r was probably right here in Australia. The annual Easter races at Bathurst were legendary (for good & bad) and the Production Superbike race (Arai 500) run at the same meet as GP bikes was three times LONGER than the Isle of Man TT (June) on a racetrack (also a public road) almost as frightening for motorcycles as the Isle of Man.
And because Australia is half a season ahead of Europe it has always been an ideal testing ground for new Japanese machinery, so this was a production class (and championship) extremely well supported by factory teams from Japan & Europe, with new bikes often being shipped out directly from Japan.
According to a BMW monthly motorcycling journal the new GPz900r won in April 1984 ridden by Aussie legend Robbie Phillis.
There isn’t a lot of info on the racing history of the GPz900r – so please feel free to forward any!