Clive Padgett has confirmed that he and Bruce Anstey will return to the Classic TT to defend the Formula 1 win and lap record the Kiwi gained for the Padgett’s-Valvoline team last year on a 1992 Yamaha YZR500 V4.
Anstey defied critics who suggested that a V4 two-stroke designed for shorter Grand Prix races would never last 150 miles of the Mountain Circuit by beating a field of four-stroke superbikes in 2014, and lifting the absolute Classic TT lap record to 123.894mph.
Now the New Zealander will again run head-to-head with Michael Dunlop, on Steve Wheatman’s Classic Team Suzuki 1216cc XR69, in the four-lap contest on August 31.
“Bruce has been pestering us to do the race again,” Padgett said. “But we have to remember that the bike is 23 years old, and it’s the only genuine original classic in the race. It was a matter of having enough new parts to do it again. But the bike has done only 400 miles since we rebuilt it for the race last year, and the crank should be good to go again.
“This is a grand prix motorcycle made to run around circuits such as Mugello, Hockenheim and Assen, and we have to be very careful about it on the TT course. The frame, swinging-arm, engine, exhaust pipes - most of the bike is original 1992. It’s the most authentic motorcycle on the grid. Even the things that we replace, such as brake calipers and the master cylinder, are from that era.”
An electrical problem stopped Dunlop’s challenge last year on the XR69 on which he had won the Formula 1 race for the previous three years, and he will be eager to gain his first Mountain Circuit victory of 2015, but Padgett has declined to radically modify the Yamaha.
“We won’t be doing anything drastic, just some fine tuning,” he said. “We’re improving the airbox area to avoid ingesting stones as much as to improve performance. We’ll have a little more power and a little more performance than last year, but that’s just evolution.”
Another potential winner this year is James Hillier on Greenall Racing’s Kawasaki ZXR750. But as ever, Padgett declines to make predictions that might pressure his riders on the circuit. “The first thing is to finish - that’s paramount,” he said. “We’ll finish where we finish.”
For more on this story and a world exclusive chat with Anstey, get tomorrow’s issue of Bikesport News