Suzuki’s annual Motorcycle Live restoration will bring one of its most legendary race bikes back to life, as they tackle Kevin Schwantz’ 1989 RGV500 Grand Prix racer during the nine day show.
This will be the fourth year that Suzuki has restored a bike on its stand. Originally used to promote its Vintage Parts programme and to showcase the availability of spare parts for classic bikes, the live demonstration has become one of the highlights of Britain’s annual bike show. After launching the historic parts business at the 2012 show, the company went on to publically build a TL1000S out of spare parts in 2014. The following year they built an original GSX-R750 to celebrate 30 years of the model, while last year a classic Katana racer was born on their stand.
This time around they are turning their attention to one of their most loved two-stroke racers. Schwantz won more races than anyone else in 1989, six, and never finished lower than third – but with six failures to finish the Texan ended the year fourth in the final standings. Despite this, Schwantz’ ‘win it or bin it’ style endeared him to a generation of race fans with the classic Pepsi colour scheme (which incidentally was also run by British legend Ron Haslam that year) was a common sight on UK roads, being a popular modification for Suzuki riders on their own RGs and GSX-Rs.
The iconic Grand Prix machine will be completely stripped, before being carefully and meticulously restored to full working order by Team Classic Suzuki chief mechanic Nathan Colombi at the show, which takes place from 18-26 November at the NEC in Birmingham.
Speaking of the decision to turn its attention to the Grand Prix racer this year, Suzuki GB aftersales marketing co-ordinator, Tim Davies, explained: “Kevin Schwantz is still, undoubtedly, a legend among motorcyclists in the UK; we saw that with his presence at British Grand Prix at Silverstone earlier this year. For us at Suzuki, it’s no different, either, and his 1989 RGV500 is an iconic machine that we’re looking forward to restoring. We’ve built or restored a number of bikes at Motorcycle Live in recent years but this is the first time we’ve restored a legendary racing machine like this. It’s a new challenge, and also something different for visitors to the show, while still allowing us to highlight just how many genuine Suzuki parts can be ordered through the Vintage Parts Programme.”
As well as Suzuki’s own classic presence of the show, fans of the Japanese brand will also be able to enjoy a beautifully restored rotary engined RE-5, which will be on display on the Carole Nash stand.