Mistral Racing owner Ian Harrison is taking advantage of new rules for Kawasaki ZXR750s at the Classic TT and is entering big-bore 793cc bikes for riders Jamie Coward and Dan Kneen.
Four Kawasaki riders were excluded from last year’s Superbike race for having oversize engines, including Coward, who had finished fifth. But the regulations for this year’s race on August 28 enable the Kawasakis to run with a 2mm overbore. The aim is to give the ZXRs parity with the 1200cc Suzuki XR69.
“It’s not a question of getting more power, but of getting out of the corners better,” Harrison said. “With the big flat-slide carburettors on these bikes, there’s a bit of a lag with a 750. This gets rid of that.”
Will the Kawasakis now be able to compete with the bigger but heavier Suzukis? “I think we’re competitive, apart from the Michael Dunlop factor on a Suzuki,” Harrison said. “We’ve got some on-board footage with Jamie from last year and there isn’t much of a muchness between the bikes. Michael makes the Suzuki look really good, though.”
Mistral Racing supply frames, swinging arms, brackets and most other rolling chassis pieces for ZXRs, and have built around 25 of the machines. “We’ve tried to find every last little bit on our bikes for this year. I can’t tell you what we’ve done because all our competitors would then know,” Harrison said, reflecting the intense competition that exists at the Classic TT among bike builders.
In last year’s Superbike Classic TT Steve Mercer retired at Sulby on a Mistral bike, and Kneen was battling for third place with Dean Harrison when a breather hose popped off. Now that big-bore Kawasakis have been legalised, the team is hoping for impressive finishes this year.