‘IT WAS A BEAST – BORN BAD AND IT NEVER CAME GOOD’

COLIN E DWARDS Texas Tor­nado talks tuned Yamaha PW50S and fire­ball April­ias

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You weren’t brought up in a rac­ing house­hold, so what kicked off your in­ter­est in bikes?

Well my dad al­ways had bikes and wher­ever in the world he was work­ing with the oil in­dus­try, he would have a bike in the garage. And ever since I was able to crawl I was in­ter­ested in bikes. I would go miss­ing and be found in the garage sat near the bikes. When I got a bit older I would climb up on them.

When did you get your first bike?

I was three and a Suzuki JR50 was dropped off by Santa Claus in our apart­ment in Hous­ton, Texas. I still re­mem­ber it to­day. I started rac­ing on that and my dad tuned the bike a bit. He wasn’t an en­gi­neer but he just seemed to pick it up. I raced that at the GMC Fi­nals at the Astrodome in 1981.

What came af­ter the JR50?

The Yamaha PW50. They were awe­some. My dad bought three in a crate, he built his own monoshock link­age, tuned the hell out of it and that thing would haul ass. Once dad built a few he was build­ing them for peo­ple all over the place be­cause they were so fast. We bought them for $300 and sold them race ready for $2800; that’s how much work was done to them. I don’t have any of the PW50S in my pos­ses­sion and that’s sad times for me. I would love to find one of them again.

You did a lot of mo­tocross rac­ing af­ter that didn’t you?

Yes, and all of those bikes were just dirt­bikes. Meant noth­ing to me other than be­ing a rac­ing tool. But in 1990 a lo­cal rich guy had seen me rac­ing in my novice year of road rac­ing and he had seen me win­ning so he asked if I would be in­ter­ested in rac­ing his kit-tuned Honda RC30. To have a full kit-tuned RC30 round here at that time was un­heard of and I just rode the sh*t out of that bike. It was a lovely bike to race.

stage. What was that TZ250 like?

In the AMA class my bike was awe­some. It was fast and re­li­able. But I went to Jarama in Spain for an in­ter­na­tional race and Tet­suya Harada, Loris Capirossi and oth­ers were there and their bikes just smoked me. I couldn’t even stay in the draft!

You started WSB in 1996. What was the Yamaha YZF750R like to race?

To be hon­est, I didn’t like that bike. I tried so hard to love it, we won the Suzuka Eight Hour on it and I tried to con my­self but it had some inherent set-up is­sues that even run­ning 21mm of off­set couldn’t cure. It was around this time that rac­ing en­gi­neer­ing in su­per­bikes started to get se­ri­ous.

The bikes you are most usu­ally linked with is the Cas­trol Honda SP-1 and SP-2. Are they your favourites?

You mean the ‘Du­cati Killer’? That bike started re­ally good in 2000 and ’01 but a new Miche­lin rear caused prob­lems with chat­ter. The bike was changed for ’02 and it was the best bike I ever raced. I just couldn’t do any wrong on it. I only needed to think about turn­ing and that bike was al­ready do­ing it. It just wanted me to go fast. I never raced it but the Miche­lin test bike I have been us­ing is a full-fac­tory M1, the same as Valentino’s and that bike is just in­cred­i­ble.

What about the one that tried to kill you, the Aprilia RS3 Cube?

That bike was a beast. It was born bad and never came good. The prob­lems were with the en­gine and where it pro­duced the torque and the power in the rev range. I used to bitch all the time but it barely changed. Car peo­ple tun­ing bike en­gines doesn’t work. I gen­uinely felt like it was 50/50 if I was go­ing to die rid­ing it. The en­gine was re­li­able but it leaked oil all the time. One race I came in and there was no oil on my boots so the team boss, Gigi Dall’igna, grabbed a bot­tle of oil and squirted some on my boots, just for con­sis­tency.

The 1992 AMA 250 sea­son is what got you no­ticed on the in­ter­na­tional Four great Thrux­ton al­ter­na­tives

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