My friend Rob let me take a few laps on his nicely upgraded Fireblade. I've always been interested in Honda's fastest bike so I was excited to try one out. Rob's is a particularly nice example. He's got it de-restricted and custom mapped to a very rare hand made "Ladybird" titanium full system brought in from Japan. It spun the Redline Motorsports dyno up to 165hp and 82 lb-ft of torque. Rob is a bit of a suspension guru for some of the local racers, and he outfitted his Honda with an Ohlins shock with custom valving, as well as a 30mm Ohlins cartridge kit modified to a "big piston" setup with compression damping on one leg and rebound damping on the other. What a ride... It is probably the most nimble motorcycle I've ever ridden, and flicked from side to side like a toy. The power was simply awesome, both in quantity and quality, with a progressive delivery giving good grunt, midrange, and top-end power. I was impressed.
2010 Yamaha YZF-R1 Rossi Replica
Brad's sponsor Bow Cycle has kindly loaned him a Rossi Rep R1 as an instructor bike for his school. He offered to let me ride it and warned that it might feel weird at first. He also warned me that I'd be out 13.5 grand if I yarded it. I was excited to experience Yamaha's unique crossplane engine, which I've read and heard a lot about but hadn't really seen in person. I might have been heard calling the bike ugly when I first saw pictures, but in person it's quite stunning so I take it all back. In pictures it looks bulky and awkward, but in the skin it's quite tightly packaged. It has a wide tank and tail section with the dual silencers, but the seat and centre of the bike are narrow giving it a sexy "wasp waist" proportion. Brad wasn't kidding when he said it would feel weird at first. The riding position is very aggressive, even more so than the ZX-10R I rode last summer. The rider sits high and looks down at the front wheel. The power delivery feels nothing like any inline-4 bike I've ridden. It has a steady flat "pull" that drops off suddenly at redline just when it feels like it should be giving a top-end hit. Like my VFR motor, it's deceptively fast... you're always going faster than you think you are. Strange as it may sound, the bike that it most reminded me of was the RC51. I fought it for a couple of laps before I could find any rhythm but after the initial climatization it felt smooth and accurate. The sound it makes is intoxicating. I was leaning my head in closer to the tank going down the straight to listen to the intake honk. Really cool motorcycle.
I'm getting very respectable fuel mileage on the road with my VFR, but on the track with the throttle held wide open it was dismal... as should be expected. In each 15 minute session it guzzled about a quarter tank of fuel.
This morning I purchased some action photos from a photographer that attended yesterday's event.
I think this is the entrance to turn 6. Two of my 3 students are visible behind me. Ric on the R1 and Tanner on the ZX-6R. I'm shadowing a third student. There is a lovely landfill visible in the background.
Same location on another lap. That's Ash on the 954
I picked this image up from a different sports photographer. This is turning in to the carousel: