Spirit of summer
Trackdays, motorways, dead grass and overdue mods...
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