Spirit of sum­mer

Track­days, mo­tor­ways, dead grass and over­due mods...

Performance Bikes (UK) - - TEST BIKES - Pho­tog­ra­phy Kar Lee, Pete Wile­man

WITH SUM­MER IN full flow it was time to get the R6 on track in the UK, so with some time off work I booked three days: a Rock­ing­ham In­ter­na­tional/ Na­tional day/evening, Snet­ter­ton, and a Cad­well evening. Sur­pris­ingly, the Bridge­stone R11s which had per­formed bril­liantly af­ter three days at Carta­gena were still good for the full day at Rock­ing­ham, so I left them on. They worked a treat around the long In­ter­na­tional lay­out, though the R6 was up against it on the bank­ing sec­tion where the litre bikes would just storm past re­gard­less of what­ever drive I could muster. It was a dif­fer­ent story on the in­field Na­tional lay­out in the evening, though. With no real long, flat-out straights to speak of, the Na­tional cir­cuit is a crack­ing lev­eller where the screamy Yamaha re­ally came into its own.

A day at Snet­ter­ton fol­lowed, and fresh rub­ber was needed. Pirelli Su­per­cor­sas are the bench­mark so I tried a set in the SC1/SC2 combo but with a taller 180/60 rear as an ex­per­i­ment. Th­ese felt re­as­sur­ingly fa­mil­iar and re­quired zero getting-to-know-them-again time; by the sec­ond lap I was flat-out and then some. That 60-pro­file rear had two im­me­di­ate ef­fects. 1: my tyre warmer only just about had room to get un­der the hug­ger and 2: the corner foot­print is phe­nom­e­nal. I’ve not ex­pe­ri­enced that much mid-corner con­fi­dence since run­ning Dun­lop KR slicks on my GSX-R. The Snet­ter­ton 300 cir­cuit is a lovely track, with some beau­ti­fully fast cor­ners – I ab­so­lutely love the en­try into Riches (the speed through that corner makes me feel like a hero) and the run to the Montreal hair­pin is a great place to mug a few peo­ple/out­brake your­self. The two straights are painful on the R6, though – it’s 80bhp down on most modern su­per­bikes and you just can’t make that up... or at least I can’t. The bike is still a blast, though, and the Su­per­cor­sas were just the ticket for crazy lean an­gles around Co­ram Curve.

An evening ses­sion at Cad­well was the third track­day of the month. I hadn’t been here for a cou­ple of years

and the last time was on my Tuono. The R6 still felt quick around the park­land cir­cuit, though I def­i­nitely had to fa­mil­iarise my­self with which way the track went again, es­pe­cially the Chi­cane. You def­i­nitely don’t want to run a wide line into there...

As well as track­days, I’ve done a cou­ple of mo­tor­way jour­neys on the R6, too, and it has proved sur­pris­ingly com­fort­able dur­ing the bor­ing straight bits. For lug­gage I’ve been us­ing a Kr­iega R35 on my back and US20 dry­bag on the pil­lion seat. It at­taches and clips off in sec­onds and won’t scratch the R6’s Boss­dog vinyl wrap. Speak­ing of which, the vinyl has held up ex­tremely well con­sid­er­ing the num­ber of times the R6 has been in and out of a van, getting stuff chucked over it and gen­er­ally be­ing used as a work­horse.

“Nice look­ing bike mate! Just need to get a tail tidy on that...” I’d heard it more than once but re­sisted do­ing it as it as the stock num­ber­plate hanger had served as a use­ful perch for my GoPro on track­days. But it still grated with me so I took the hit and fit­ted an R&G tail tidy. It was pretty straight­for­ward to fit, which is just as well as the in­struc­tions are il­leg­i­ble thanks to the tiny font and grainy im­ages. Af­ter about an hour the R6’s rear end was beau­ti­fully waspish. Per­fect. What’s not per­fect is a flat bat­tery on a bike less than two years old, though. Pffft..

‘The R6 is 80bhp down on most modern su­per­bikes, but it’s still a blast’

Su­per­cor­sas and Snet­ter­ton: the per­fect sum­mer com­bi­na­tion to feed Kar’s track­day ad­di­tion Pho­tos or it didn’t hap­pen... and Kar’s R6 is cam-equpped stick­ers plas­tered in track­day

Af­ter months of needling, Kar fi­nally fits a tail tidy

What’s next? A top box and hard cases?

All it took was an hour and the abil­ity to make up your own in­struc­tions

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