Maria Costello aboard the Steve Wheatman Suzuki XR69 at the 2010 Manx Grand Prix.
The Northampton racer is heading off to sunnier climes to compete on a Trident Engineering Suzuki XR69 in the annual South African Classic TT Series which runs over three consecutive weekends at three different circuits.
The series kicks off on January 22nd at the Historic East London Grand Prix circuit followed by a two day event at the Zwartkops Raceway concluding with another two day event at the Killarney Racetrack in Cape Town. The Zwartkops event coincides with the 50th anniversary of the circuit and more spectators are expected to attend this three day event than attended the recent World Superbike Event at Kyalami.
The former Isle of Man TT female lap record holder will be riding the same Suzuki XR69 she used to compete on in the Manx Grand Prix Senior Post Classic race in 2010. She narrowly missed a podium finish on this bike when the steering damper bolt snapped off forcing her to reduce her speed. Maria is therefore keen to be reacquainted with a bike she feels she has unfinished business with.
“I’ve been invited by my Manx Grand Prix mentor and TT legend Mick Grant. Mick has been taking racers and enthusiasts to South Africa to escape the English winter since before I was born. To get an invite is just unreal and massive thanks go to my sponsor and owner of the XR69 Steve Wheatman of Hol Taj for making this dream come true.”
The racing bikes taking part in the series date from 1988 back to the early days of motorcycling. Maria’s bike is a replica of the XR69 Granty won the Isle of Man Senior TT on. Others include a Yamaha TR 750 two stroke grand prix bike, a Ducati 888 Desmo that won a British Superbike Championship in the hands of Carl Fogarty and an ex factory Suzuki RG 500 Grand Prix bike that has been ridden by both the late Barry Sheene and Mick Grant.
Costello, awarded the MBE last November for her services to motorcycling, has also published her autobiography ‘Queen of Bikers’ which is available through her website. Her 2011 offcial calendar is being sold to raise funds for the Rob Vine TT helicopter fund and is available from www.fanzpix.com
For further details about Maria, her racing and her book, please visit her website www.costelloracing.com