X-Men star Michael Fassbender had his first ever track experience yesterday at the Honda Ron Haslam Race School. He follows hot on the heels of fellow X-Men actors James McAvoy and Nicholas Hoult, who visited the school two weeks ago.
Taking time out of his busy filming schedule, Fassbender, who also appeared in Inglorious Basterds, rode a Honda CBR600RR at Donington as part of the school’s intensive three-hour, ‘Elite’ course.
The course includes one-on-one instructing and datalogging. His instructor was MCN Senior Road Tester Michael Neeves. He also took a pillion ride with 500 GP legend Ron Haslam on the back of a Honda Fireblade.
Bike-mad Fassbender has been riding since 2006 and has owned a Triumph Speed Triple and BMW R1200GS, but this was his first time on a circuit. “I’ve done a bit of karting before, so I was comfortable finding the lines, but riding on track is so different to the road.” Fassbender explains.
“The body position you need on the track is so different to what I’m used to, but the CBR600RR is great and is more bike than my ability. It’s well-balanced and forgiving. Ron was telling me to pull the brakes as hard as I could after going flat-out down the straights, but I haven’t grown the pair to try that yet.”
Neeves says: “Riding on track is such a different discipline. Michael had a lot of raw speed to begin with, but the big thing was getting him to move away from his upright road-riding style.
“We mainly worked on moving his body around the bike in the corners and riding on his tip-toes. By the end of the course he’d got his knee down and managed to lop 17-seconds off his lap times.”
Pictures by Chris Pearson, Ron Haslam Race School, Carole Nash