Barry Furber had an exciting and eventually successful 2017 TT experience despite poor weather leading to a restriction on practice time. Barry was the top Suzuki rider outclassing all of the others in the 650cc class. The Team Greenhous rider had his first outings on his new 1000cc Kawasaki ZX10R and Barry made huge progress over the two week period.
The Suzuki SV650 is an 88 bhp bike and achieved 143 mph through the speed trap. In comparison the powerful 1000cc Kawasaki ZX10R breezed through the speed trap at 185 mph pulling on all of its 200 bhp muscle.
Barry explained his pleasure in the outings on his Kawasaki saying: “It was the first opportunity to practice and race on the new bike. The handling is totally different to the Suzuki and everything happens so much quicker, almost a blur. The lack of practice time made it difficult for setting up the bike and to improve performance, but it was the same for others.”
“Practice week for the 2017 TT was supposed to start on Saturday 27th May but the poor weather conditions meant that we didn't get our first lap in until Tuesday 30th, and the unsettled weather became a continuous problem throughout the whole 2 week event. The first 6 lap Superbike race eventually got underway on Sunday 4th June, it would be my first ever 6 lap race (226 miles) and my first TT on a 1000cc bike so I knew it would be a tough race to finish.
“The race started well and I averaged 121.8mph on my first lap, unfortunately the bike developed a fuel pump problem on lap 2 drastically reducing performance. I struggled on and finished the race 34th and with a bronze award but I knew I was capable of much more.”
The Team Greenhous pit crew got the Kawasaki sorted in time for Wednesday’s 4 lap Superstock race. The bike performed flawlessly and the team did a great job in the pit stop refuelling and changing his visor. Lacking the pace of the factory bikes, but with a best lap of 121.9mph Barry finished in 32nd place and clearly into the bronze awards.
Back to back races meant Barry was soon out on the Suzuki SV650 in the 4 lap Lightweight race. Barry reflected: “I had only managed 4 laps on this bike during practice, but I was confident that we had everything spot on. I started the race 25th off the line and by the end of the first lap I knew the bike was handling well and the new engine built by Gary Gittins was singing.
“On lap 2 I caught and passed my closest rivals Maria Costello and French rider Xavier Denis. Xavier didn’t give up and we battled it out on the road for the next 40 miles or more. I got stuck in and kept the 650 flat out as much as I dared putting in my fastest lap of nearly 114mph. I crossed the line in 11th place just shy of the top 10 I had hoped for, but I had given it everything. To finish so close to the best riders in the world and be fastest Suzuki for the second year was fantastic.”
In the last race of the week, the Senior TT consisted of 6 laps, 226 miles, 2 pit stops and 75 litres of fuel. Barry wanted to complete 6 laps and put in a strong race and to make it 4 out of 4 Bronze replicas. After a good start with a 122mph lap unfortunately the race was stopped when leader Ian Hutchinson crashed on the mountain section during lap 2. Some 2 hours later the race was re-started and Barry claimed his fastest ever lap of the TT circuit of nearly 124mph. Barry finished his first ever Senior TT in 26th place and with another Bronze replica. That brought his record in the last two years to 7 TT races and collecting 7 trophies, all of them riding as Team Greenhous Vauxhall.
Barry comments on the support he has received: “I owe a huge thank you to the great group of friends that made up the team on the Island and to Bradden Performance and Moto-Design for preparing the Bikes. Also to Greenhous and Vauxhall. I received lots of support from good friends and family this year and without them none of it would be possible.”