Last time I was at Queensland Raceway I came off at turn four, but even that day turned out pretty good in the end. That was over a year ago. Today there were three of us heading up, plus Will on photography duties, and we were all in blue. We were there at 7.00am so had plenty of time to sign on, get the bikes sorted and kit up. Briefing was quick, and soon enough yellow group were out on a fast one.
There was some nice stuff up here today, and not many bikes make a 1290 Superduke look boring, but in our very own group of blue there was this Kawasaki H2R. More on this later.
So the K6 thou was now wearing a brand new set of Bridgestone BT-003 RS's, while Bryan's GSXR750L2 was on Dunlop Q3's. Having had a couple of sets of those on mine, I knew how good they were. Bryan, in his little wisdom, has been holding out forever because he doesn't like Dunlops... or didn't until today.
Here's the sticky Bridgestones, just before fitting. I've never used the 003's before but they get a pretty good rap. As ever, they're a 190/55 and 120/70. Being much more agile on these, I won't ever go back to the 190/50.
I gave them a couple of easy runs on the road before going on track just to see what they felt like. Perfect, soft and sticky... as you'd expect from modern tyres.
After one session at QR, they seem to be working well. 25psi cold rear, 28psi front. These things are super soft, but I need to get some confidence back in the two left-handers. Funny what plays on your mind when you've thrown it down the road. Mike said it was embarrassing watching me go round there, and promptly left me standing!
The 750 fitted with Dunlop Q3's - one of the best tyres out there at the moment in my, uninformed, opinion. Bryan now agrees, I knew he'd come round.
With a couple of tentative laps done and dusted, confidence started to come back. Will had kindly brought his lap timer so Bryan had it on the 750 for a few sessions, and then I had a go. Previous to this we relied on somebody's quick hand on an iPhone stopwatch. Accuracy was down to the nearest couple of seconds but at least it gave us a bit of an idea. Before I dropped the bike last time, I was around the 1.25ish mark - according to the boys on pit wall.
Still reluctant to push on the first couple of laps, I'm getting left for dust. The ones running tyre warmers are quick out of the block, but I'm not prepared to risk it until the second lap. Third lap in and I start to reel some of them back.
There's a fair few quick boys in blue today and there's no way I'm sticking with all of them, but I can grab a few spaces. Bryan is doing really well on the 750 and it surprised me how much punch that bike has got in a straight line. He's down into the 1.28's by the end of the day which is a personal best! Probably the ideal combination to be fair, and fair play to Suzuki for sticking with the 750 when everyone else just puts out a six or thou. I think I need one.
Queensland Raceway looks easy on paper. It's completely flat, but the corners really sort out the men from the mice. Turns one and two are very difficult to get right, and are very fast too, which adds to the excitement... or fear. Either way I keep turning in way too early off the start/finish straight. And when you do that and you're knackered for turn two. No matter how fast you think you're going, someone else goes up the inside, or round the outside, and makes you look like you're off to the shops. I need more practise here.
Hopefully no one was hurt badly this weekend, but there seemed to be a crash in every outing today. Probably wasn't as bad as that, but the ambulance definitely put some miles in. We all stayed on thankfully and were out in every session available today.
By the afternoon's sessions we were all upping the pace, braking later, on the power earlier and trying to get the right line. Before Will had to leave (and take his lap timer) I was down to 1.24's. I need another day here soon before I forget it all again.
Being scared stiff of dropping my own bike because of how much it will cost me, I was blown away by some of the exclusive stuff that turned up for the trackway. Next to us in the pits is an 1199 Panigale, and it's beautiful. He's already gone into the gravel at turn one, but still gets out there and gives it everything.
Bryan posing with my bike - classic good looks, beautiful lines, ageing gracefully, but still bloody fast. (The same can't be said of Bryan.)
I'd spotted the green trellis frame out on track, but didn't give it much more thought. Until I heard it. Every time I followed it out of a bend there was some sort of metallic squeal and I thought the Gixer had breathed its last. Next bend it was the same. I'm not quite sure what goes on internally when that supercharger spins up, but the noise from this thing is mental! Sounds like two ninjas clashing swords in there - maybe there is, it costs enough.
The good doctor who owns it was a really nice chap. He bought it for track days, took off the original fairing (because it's quite expensive if you drop it) and chucked on this one. To me that is pure class. I take it the "GPieZ" is also a little bit to do with his profession as well as a cool reminder of the old GPZ Kwacker's. Whatever, it's the first one I've seen in the flesh and it is nice.
With 300BHP ready to rock, he was apparently having to take it steady on the straights because of wheelies. Need... a... go... now!
The colours on that pipe are amazing, and I love the frame too. Fair play to Kawasaki, they didn't need it but built it anyway. The modern day widow-maker, ready to f*#k you over at the slightest provocation.
Not clear in this pic, but the Brembo reservoirs are like glass jars, not cloudy plastic as per usual. Gives it a certain touch of class.
That's the drooling over, now for some action shots by Will. Look out for some of the photography at these events by Will. His pics are stunning. He's normally riding his FZ8 at track days but he's been sidelined temporarily, and is back with his camera. Always worth searching online for the dates you were there, you might be lucky enough to find his shots of you.
That was a cracking day, followed by a few beers and a good chat on how fast we weren't. Spot on.