MCN Fleet: Kawasaki ZX-10R to Sachsenring (via the Nurburgring)
This weekend I'm racing a 1989 ex-Randy Mamola Cagiva V589 500cc Grand Prix bike at the World GP Bike Legends, Sachsenring. And what better way to get here than by riding my Kawasaki ZX-10R long-term test bike?
I gave myself two days to do the 845-mile trip, which was a breeze. I stayed at the Nurburgring on the way and sneaked in four laps around the breathtaking Nordschliefe circuit, which is without doubt my favourite track. I also enjoyed speed limit-free autobahns from there to Sachsenring, near Chemnitz, in the former East Germany.
The Kawasaki hasn't missed a beat and it's not too uncomfortable on a long blast, which is helped by a taller Skidmarx screen and wearing cycling shorts under my leathers. I'm getting around 130 miles until the fuel light comes on, too, which is pretty good for a superbike.
Blasting around the Ring was good fun, especially on sticky Metzeler Racetec-RR K3 tyre, which have now done 2000 miles and are still going strong. The brakes still lack feel and power, but I'm trying different pads soon to see if that helps.
But the there's no denying the ZX-10R is quick around the track. It's stable, predictable, the traction control is a godsend for the opening few miles when the tyres are still cold and the wheelie control is helpful for all the Ring's fast crests. The quickshifter is nice and smooth, too.
On the autobahn it's strange being allowed to ride as fast as you want, but with a tankbag on I can't get under the screen, so around 120mph is my neck pain threshold for any length of time... and still I'm getting blasted by family hatchbacks in the overtaking lane!
I'm really happy to be spending so much quality time with the ZX-10R and it's helping make my amazing journey that bit more special. I've still got the trip back to look forward to as well - more silly-speed autobahn riding and a stopover at Spa Francorchamps.
But first I'm lining up on the grid here at the Sachsenring with Wayne Gardner, Freddie Spencer, Garry McCoy, Pier-Francesco Chili, Jeremy McWilliams and co on a two-stroke 500 GP bike. Pinch me, I think I'm dreaming.