Team York Suzuki are again set to challenge for honours at this year’s Classic TT, presented by Bennetts, having secured the talented services of Gary Johnson and Sam West for the August event.
Both Johnson and West will contest the four-lap RST Superbike Race on identically-prepared 1100cc Suzuki’s for Kevin Pearson’s York-based team.
It will be Johnson’s fourth successive year with the team and although he’s found luck in scarce supply in recent years, his undoubted pace means he’s more than capable of pushing for a podium position, at the very least.
The double TT winner has recorded a best lap of 123.864mph on the striking blue and white machines and was running in third place in last year’s race before being forced to retire at the beginning of the third lap. He did, however, take fifth place in 2016.
West joins the team for the first time replacing Australian David Johnson, who competed with the team at the Classic TT between 2015 and 2018.
30-year old West needs no introduction to road race supporters though having established himself as one of the leading privateers on the road circuits in recent years. His best finish around the Mountain Course came in last year’s RL360 Superstock TT Race when he finished in an excellent eighth place with the Senior Race seeing him lap at just under 130mph.
His best results earlier this year, 12th and a brace of 13th’s, came in the RST Superbike, RL360 Superstock and second Monster Energy Supersport TT Races whilst he made his debut at the Classic TT, presented by Bennetts, last year. Riding the Cookson Travel Suzuki, the Wilmslow rider took a fine eighth place with a fastest lap of 117.061mph.
A former racer in the 1980s, Pearson set up his own team with support from the York Suzuki Centre more than a decade ago and having supported the Post-Classic Manx Grand Prix races, he immediately contested the Classic TT when it was launched in 2013.
The following year saw the team have its best result to date when Russ Mountford took an excellent third in the Formula One Classic TT race. David Johnson also gave the team fourth and fifth place finishes in 2017 and 2015 respectively to further emphasise the competiveness of both the team and the machinery.
The 2019 line-up should again see Pearson’s team well to the fore with both riders having a great chance to impress.
Photo: IOMTT Races Press