Those owners who wanted ultimate handling as well as lots of pcwer only had one choice. The Harris Magnum -essentially Harris' road-going version their F1 race chassis. The F1 chassis was the privateer's chance to get themselves a Suzuki XR69 - the factory racer (XR stands for experimental Racer). Obviously only a handful of the best riders could get hold of a full factor/ XR69.
Sporting a Yoshimura-tuned GSIOOO engine (similar inside to the infamous motors that powered Wes Cocley in the American AMA Superbike series), the Harris F1 Suzuki was the next best thing. There weren't many of them ether. In fact, Harris only built eight or nine of them -they can't remember exactly.
This bike is one o*' those machines. Owned today by 80s bike enthusiast, and CMM reader, Rob Beale,this Harris had been stored for a dozen or more years before getting a new lease of life when Rob came upon it by chance. Rob takes up the story, "I was looking for a big, classic track bike to go and play on with my mates. I was just in the right place at the right time. I had an inkling of what it was to start with - the owner said it was a Harris GS10003 F1 when I was chatting originally. A few people had made him cffers for it but he didn't want it being heavily mot
CRMC racing. I know wli^f^^H^Vhing from - old race bikes tend to^^rodified and the bits sold on. In the end there's nothing left of the original bike."
True to his word, Rob has only done enough work to g£t the bike up and running so far. "T%base gasket was leaking oil, so I hart%) pull the top-end off. As soon as I saw|o$ice the engine I knew it was a genuiri^oshimura motor. Everything was dr lied w^hin an inch of its life - the lay-shafts, Yoahi cams etc. Beautiful work."
The Yo3himura motors v/e^incredibly heavily modified. To take an e^ine from 87bhp to 130bhp, they'd trove to be. Everything from the cams^Ajstons, cranks, gearboxes and ignition wa* modified. Another of the tell-tales ofi Pops' Yoshimura's work on Rob's bike\ is the camchain idler bolted into the cam-cover to prevent the camchain from jumping a tooth and wrecking the valves. >\
Seven time IT winner Mick Grant raced ^^^^^^^^^^^^Jboth privateer and factory machines.
"I started riding for them [Suzuki] in B^JJg^E 1982> a'though I did a few one-offs in
1981 at the TT. The XR69s were primarily designed for endurance racing. But on certain circuits they'd see the RG500s [XR34] off. That was really impressive for a relatively heavy lOOOcc bike. They're a nice soft lump that does from nothing. They ■e couldn't believe were heavier than the RG500s but they made 130bhp a good amount more than the two-stroke.
"Missing gears was the big problem because It would often bend the valves.
ice you'd bent them, there was no power jut you could generally finish the race. The bumps on the Isle of Man made it easy to miss a gear - you'd often be two feet out of the seat over some of them.
"I still have my factory bike - it feels as fresh now as it did then. These days I only rev it to 8500rpm. Peak power is at 9500rpm and they don't like going beyond 10,500rpm; that's when they start bending valves. There's not much leeway between peak and bending the valves.
"I rode the Granby sponsored bike, which was a Harris frame fitted with a Yoshimura engine. I had a torrid year on it. I fell off at Scarborough chasing Barry Sheene on the RG. I shouldn't have been on the same lap as him! We took it to Daytona but the engine broke on the front straightaway. It was so hot that the oil vapour ignited in the engine. It was a fireball and burning my arse at 180mph. I threw it away. We did as much damage to the bike throwing it away as the fire did. The factory machines were smaller, more compact and more nimble.
"I lent my factory bike to John Simms to copy. He does a fantastic job. They look the business. We won at the Manx this year with Michael Duniop. I'm having a replica of my factory bike built by John so I don't have to worry as much when I ride it."
Release: StoreMags & Fantamag.
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