Staff blog: The toughest test ever!
First rides & tests
03 May 2013 13:54
This year is going to epic, one I’m going to look back on for years to come and it’s mainly going to be down to my lovely ZX-6R. Just last week I took delivery of my new Kawasaki and unusually for me, I’m treating her with kid-gloves, nice and gentle for the first few hundred miles, before unleashing its full potential.
Although I’ve only had the ZX-6R a week, my Kawasaki plans have been burbling away since Christmas, hence the comical level of excitement.
The big news is that I’ll be back at the Isle of Man TT this year partnering James Hiller on his Quattro Bournemouth Kawasaki! James is leaving the line first on his well-prepared highly tuned ZX-6R.
I’ll be starting at the back, running number 88, on a relatively stock ZX-6R but it will mirror the Quattro Bournemouth Kawasaki bike. The donor bike, which will be coming from the Chris Walker Race School (thanks Chris), will remain standard as far as the engine goes, but the suspension will receive a thorough overhaul from UK experts K-Tech. Chris and the boys at K-Tech will work their magic which means I will have a similar set up to James’s number one bike.
A lovely sounding exhaust from Scorpion should add a few more BHP but apart from that – and some race bodywork - the bike will be in the same trim that you can buy one in from your local Kawasaki dealer.
It will look stunning in a slightly different livery to the Quattro bike, but the interesting part will be working with James and the Quattro team.
At the TT we are going to be able to compare lap times, corner speeds, and share race preparation. It’s going to be hugely interesting, and a sharp learning curve for me.
How quick will James be on a fully blown well-prepared Supersport bike against a relatively standard stock ZX-6R ridden by average Joe? I can’t wait, how fast will James be at the bottom for Bray Hill compared to me? 20 or 30mph quicker, place your bets now folks.
But before the TT I’ve got time to get some practice time on my very own ZX-6R. Bar the 37cc advantage of my longterm test bike, they’re similar enough for it to feel like a home from home. James has kindly agreed to show me his lines around the 37.73-mile Mountain Circuit, so I will be heading over to the Isle of Man shortly, and we’ll put in some laps on our road-going ZX-6Rs before we line up in practice week on our race siblings.
How much fun is that going to be? Then it’s over to the Chris Walker Race School for some intense training with Chris on track. Learning from the master I can’t wait! I’ll also sneak in a few trackdays on my bike to make sure I’m as sharp as possible before I head over to the island at the end of the month.
By the time the TT comes around I’ll at least look like a TT racer, thanks to the Quattro team. I should have better circuit knowledge thanks to TT podium man James and I should be up to speed thanks to some tuition from BSB legend Chris Walker. On top of that my road ZX-6R will have covered around 3,000 miles so I’ll be familiar with my new baby.
In addition to my commitments on the ZX-6R, I will be racing my own ER-6 race bike in the Lightweight class at the TT, too. Told you it’s going to be an exciting year! I’ll keep you up to speed on all my TT escapades not just here in the paper, but also online at www.motorcyclenews.com, and via our social network sites.
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