Race fit

BMW’S new R ninet Racer en­joys Lincolnshire track­day…

BIKE (UK) - - BIKE LIFE - John West­lake Deputy Edi­tor

It’s a looker but will the Racer’s tor­ture-rack rid­ing po­si­tion ham­per re­spectable track­day progress? Ap­par­ently not…

WITH ITS AERODYNAMIC nose fair­ing, crip­pling rid­ing po­si­tion and mo­tor­sport paint job, the BMW looks so au­then­tic as a Seven­ties racer that you can’t help ex­pect­ing it to be a bit tasty on track. But there’s no rea­son it should be – the HGV wheel­base, portly stature and un­branded sus­pen­sion could eas­ily make it a wal­lowy hor­ror. The track­day I’m on is ac­tu­ally a train­ing day with the Bri­tish Su­per­bike School (british­su­per­bikeschool.com – see right), which is perfect: in­stead of head­ing straight out and rid­ing like a tit, I’m forced to build up slowly, learn­ing the bike and track be­fore in­tro­duc­ing tit­tish­ness into the equa­tion. By lunchtime I’m hav­ing a ball. It’s a hot day and the Racer’s 110bhp is never go­ing to budge Road­tec Z8s, so you can pin the throt­tle with care­free aban­don – the ba­sic ASC trac­tion con­trol re­mains un­trou­bled even on one long left-han­der which gives you loads of time to get onto full throt­tle while leant over. In­struc­tor Andy is big on us­ing turn­ing-in mark­ers, and sure enough af­ter I learn to pick them out then hold them in my pe­riph­eral vi­sion while I look for the apex, my ac­cu­racy and speed in­creases. Swoop­ing through fast kinks is a delight, with the Racer squat­ting on its side, hap­pily scrap­ing its pegs and levers while carv­ing ac­cu­rately. It is hard work ev­ery­where else though, tak­ing a full-on heave to pull it from one side to the other. I can only man­age a few laps at max­i­mum attwat (like at­tack, but less ac­cu­rate) with­out pant­ing like a sheep­dog. An­noy­ingly, my in­struc­tor Andy fol­low­ing be­hind barely breaks a sweat on his ZX-10R, which, he later tells me, he’s put in rain mode to help pre­vent him ram­ming into the back of me com­ing out of cor­ners. And there was me think­ing I was go­ing well. Still, when we’re back in the carpark, no one looks at his 190bhp Kawasaki while the Racer al­ways draws a crowd, which is, as I pa­tiently ex­plain to Andy, the most im­por­tant thing.

‘The HGV wheel­base, portly stature and un­branded sus­pen­sion could eas­ily make it a wal­lowy hor­ror’

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