The first machine up was the Suzuki SV650 from Waters Auto Body Racing, which was smooth and controllable in corners.
The boys from the Waters Auto Body Racing are the one of only two teams using a Suzuki-powered Twins tracker. Piloted by Chad Cose on the national No. 49 machine, the Suzuki is relatively new to the series and still under development. Jumping on the SV-powered racer I felt instantly at home. The Waters Racing setup featured a much smaller and compact chassis as compared to the competition. The smooth power delivery of the 700cc Twin was also very unintimidating. The bike felt very much like the MX-based Pro Singles machines that run in the feeder class, just more powerful and with a much lower center of gravity.
Engine wise the 650 has been punched out to a 700, with the addition of internal engine modifications to complement the added displacement. Flat side carbs deliver the fuel needed to the power the bored-out SV. The carburetion was spot-on, with no dead spot from low rpms right to the top, something that came be extremely hard to achieve with flat slides. This allowed for very smooth and controllable corner-exit slides, something that ended up being far more hair-raising on some of the other higher horsepower machines. The Waters SV produces in the neighborhood of 83 horsepower at the rear wheel and
according to the team has been completely reliable the entire GNC season, only requiring basic maintenance.
Without question the Suzuki’s strength is its agility and handling abilities. We could pick and choose lines with extreme ease, something noticeable straight away. The lower seating position has the rider sitting much more inside the little SV, as opposed to on top on it, giving a heightened since of security and control. It also keeps the bike planted and settled mid-corner, not wanting to stand up and run wide, keeping rider effort far less than several of the bigger bikes.
“This bike is a lot like a big dirt bike-based DTM machine and is much smaller compared to the rest of the ‘framer’ bikes here,” added Cose pre-ride. And he was spot-on. Coming from past experience on MX-based flat trackers this gave me an instant sense of confidence to push the bike hard right from the onset. Getting the throttle to the stop on some of the competition was nearly impossible without killing myself until virtually straight up and down, but the Suzuki was far easier to get wide-open much sooner. And while it may not have the top-end of the Harley or KTM, being able to open things up sooner translated into lap times equally as quick, especially with my limited Twins experience.
The Ultimate AMA Flat Track Shootout
Waters Racing Suzuki SV650
Waters Racing KTM LC8 950
Factory Harley-Davison XR750
Lloyd Brothers Ducati
Bonneville Performance Triumph
Monster Kawasaki Ninja 650R