﹒Never offered for sale on the open market ﹒1982 TT Racer and North-West 200 winner ﹒A real once in a life-time opportunity
Towards the end of the 1970s, large capacity four-stroke motorbike racing saw a resurgence in popularity, not least because of the abundance of Japanese manufacturers now selling affordable four-pot performance road bikes.
The origins of the XR69 date back to 1976 when Pops Yoshimura approached Suzuki for help with his GS750 based racer. This arrangement suited Suzuki perfectly as they possessed little knowledge of high performance four-stroke engines, while Yoshimura’s development work freed up the resources of the already stretched Grand Prix race department, and gave them competitive four-stroke race machines in the process, based on the roadgoing GS1000 model.
Yoshimura soon found that the power they had unleashed form its engine, suggested to be around 130bhp, was surpassing the road frame’s capabilities by a huge amount, so Suzuki began using parts from its GP frame to transform the bike into a proper racer.
A steel tube frame, similar in appearance to the XR23 racer, was wrapped around the four-cylinder air-cooled engine, with GP spec rear suspension and forks.
The XR69 made its competitive debut at the start of 1980 and was an instant hit, rising to the challenge of – and often beating – the Honda CB900s that had dominated the field. As well as being a successful circuit racer, the Suzuki was a great road racing bike and knocked Honda off its perch in TT racing as well.
This is an incredible opportunity to acquire a one-off, genuine, works superbike – directly from the man who raced it!
Yes, you did read that correctly and if you’re a fan of classic bike racing then Mick Grant won’t need much in the way of introduction.
The softly spoken Yorkshireman is a legend in road racing and participated in every single Isle of Man TT race from 1970 to 1984, winning the iconic contest seven times.
He was presented with this bike – the XR69 on which he competed the 1982 TT and won the North-West 200 the same year – as a gift from Suzuki when he retired from competitive racing in 1985. The bike is exactly as Mick received it, wearing its Heron Suzuki works racing colours and Mick’s number 10 racing roundel, which was his trademark of the era.
Mick has owned the bike since his retirement but has decided to part with it due to it not being used, other than for a few parade events.
The bike has never been sold on the open market before, so this is a rare opportunity to own a one-off piece of incredible motorbike racing history and to buy it directly from the man himself.
As the bike has never been used on the road, it has never been registered so comes with no specific papers.
However, there’s a huge amount of documented history around the XR69 including photos of Mick racing it and a video shot in 1982 of the 1982 Isle of Man TT by Shell Oil for promotional use.
It also features in Issue 49 of Classic Racer magazine where legendary bike journalist Alan Cathcart tested it. Interviewed in the Classic Racer article, Mick said: 'It's pretty near the top of my personal hit parade of bikes I've raced. I think my all-time favourite would be my KR750 Kawasaki, but nowadays when I parade them back to back at Classic dos and such, I prefer to be on the Suzuki. It's just a very nice ride.'
The bike is exactly as it is when it was retired from competition and given to Mick, so while there are a few small marks and scuffs each tells a story. The stone chips on the fairing, or the worn paint ahead of the saddle, are all indicators of this bike’s racing history.
It’s still in great condition overall and wears all of its original sponsors’ logos including Team Heron Suzuki, Shell Oil, Champion, Dunlop and Sonic Intercoms.
Micks says: “My full factory XR69 has been in my possession since I retired from racing in 1985. It is the exact specification as when I raced it. It was given to me by Suzuki. To the best of my knowledge there were only five or six of the special bikes made. For some reason my bike seems to be the best specification of them all, it has a dry clutch, magnesium carburettors, billet forks and twin sparking plugs.
“I only know of two others that still exist, one is an ex-Roger Marshall bike with a collector in Ireland, and the other is an early twin-shock XR built for Graham Crosby.
“This machine is in very good mechanical and working condition. In the past I've demonstrated this machine in South Africa and at Oliver's Mount, Spa Francorchamps, Brands Hatch, Mallory Park.
'It is a lovely bike to ride and still feels as fresh as when I was racing it. On this bike I had lap records and second places in the Isle of Man. I won the North West 200 on it, set the lap record Donington Park and came second in the Macau GP.”
The 1,000cc engine is based on the standard GS1000 but has a number of race specific parts. The forks are billeted, for example while all of the nuts, bolts and brackets that hold it together are made from either magnesium or titanium, with each component developed with weight-saving in mind and hand-finished by race engineers.
It as a dry clutch, magnesium carburettors and twin spark plugs per cylinder.
Mick reports that it is in full working order and that he keeps it well-maintained despite not using it much.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a famous racing bike that has never been owned by a collector or private owner before. It has only ever been owned by the Suzuki works race team and by Mick Grant himself, who (aside from the support crew and Alan Cathcart) is the only person who has ever ridden it.
While it was offered for auction once, the bike didn’t sell and has therefore never been sold on the open market before. It’s a truly unique thing, a real collector’s piece and a part of world bike racing history that has an incomparable pedigree.
Notice to bidders
Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.
As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the sellers discretion.
Please see our FAQ's here and our Terms & Conditions here
The max bid process allows you to bid without any hassle.
Enter your maximum bid and we will then bid on your behalf to ensure you're the highest bidder - just enough to keep you in the lead and only up until your maximum.
About Max Bids
C&C prevent auction snipers from bidding in the last seconds to win an auction.
Auctions are extended by 10-minutes if anyone bids within the last 2 minutes to allow other bidders to react and counter-bid.
If your bid is below the reserve price you'll bid that amount if you are the highest bidder. If you are the highest bidder and place a bid above the reserve we will only go up to the reserve price. Once the reserve has been met C&C will make sure you are the highest bidder using the bidding increments stated below, keeping you in the lead up until your maximum bid.
£0 to £10,000
£10,000 to £50,000
Automatically outbid immediately
When you place a max bid and are outbid immediately that means that another bidder has placed a max bid limit which is higher than yours. You can bid again and we will use our automatic bid system to try and get you as the highest bidder.
Matching max bids
When there are two max bids of the same value, the one placed first remains the lead bidder.
Watch this auction
Get notified when the auction is starting, and half an hour before it ends.