Monday, December 26, 2016

CBR600's, Trackdays and Relearning.

600's...Taking a step back?
There was a certain criteria I was looking for when downsizing:
  • Lighter bike 
  • Better brakes
  • More fun
I've never owned a 600 before, it's always been about big bikes, more power and all the hype that goes with it. But... having tried Smithy's GSXR750 (probably the best of both worlds), I wanted something that was easier to throw around and enjoy on the track. First go on the CBR was all I needed, it was like a toy. A very fast toy.

Queensland Raceway.
I've said it before, but this track is scary fast! Glenn Allerton currently holds the lap record at around 1.08 minutes on a BMW S1000RR. And I can mooch around in the 1.24's— snail's pace when you look at it like that. 

And when you turn up at the track and see this, you realise you're about to see some real talent. Glenn Allerton and Wayne Maxwell out playing in yellow group. Think I'll stick to blue.

And how would the little CBR fair amongst the 750 and 1000 of Messrs Smith and Wadwell, on their Suzukis. Well, in a straight line, not very well at all. 

The first thing that hit me was how many gear changes were needed, still leant over. When I usually exit turn 3 on the 1000 I have plenty of time to consider going up another gear. But now I was finding myself having to hook my left foot back under the lever because i was hitting the limiter, losing time every lap. 
Going down the front straight I was also having to make a concerted effort to watch the rev counter because, again, I'd hit the limiter each time! Big learning curve.

The first session was about getting up to speed again. Too long between trackdays, and a new bike to boot. The fear of turn 4 is still firmly lodged in my brain and I found it hard to go round there at anything above walking pace (that's what it felt like). And Bryan quickly followed up with "That's what it looked like!"

With the Yamaha and Kawasaki race teams playing here today too, there was a lot of talent to watch in the yellow group, including the aforementioned Glenn. He makes it look very easy to push out 1.09's. One of the kawasaki's went down into turn 1, during the second session, so we had to wait for ambulances etc. to come and pick the poor fella up. His bike was completely mullered/torn apart.

Wayne Maxwell pulls up by my CBR for some tips... from his crew.

The afternoon is where I pick up speed, every time. But Bryan's pace has picked up immensely since I last did a trackday, so he was disappearing in all but the final session. Going up against Pat on the 171BHP GSXR1000 was ok in the corners, but a waste of time down the straights. He eventually let me go in front and left me to it (felt sorry for me).

Bryan then puts in a 1.24, now the heat is on. That's the quickest I've done on my 1000 and his 750. It's going to be hard to pull that out on the 600!

Being dragged around is a big thing, go out on your own and you end up braking way too early and go in much too slowly. Follow someone and you're always looking for places to get in front — it helps. As it was in our final session. Because he waited for me to warm my tyres for a couple of laps, it was much easier to hang on behind. The horsepower difference between the 600 and the 750 is around 30 big ones, but you can overhaul that quite easily if you're on it. 

Final session of the day, we finished on 1.25's, not too bad for a horsepower needy track. There's plenty of places for me to make up that lack of speed, the main one being bravery. Lakeside will be a more even challenge with any luck, but let's wait for some cooler weather.

Pretty consistently slow. Ready to race below.

Overall, Smithy has upped the pace immensely. Pat doesn't care and will use whatever means possible to say goodbye. I've got what I wanted, something to make me faster in the turns, but now I need to practise it. The CBR is a cracking little bike, great on the road too. And easy for my 72kg's to throw around rather than the Gixer working me over.

Seriously folks, that bike is fun!