I find it amazing how quickly time flys by. I have had my R1 for 8 years - incredible! Incredible also aptly describes this bike. I have to say I have enjoyed all my bikes but Blue1 has to be my favourite - so far. It is just so much fun to ride and has me breaking out in a wide grin every time I get on it. The handling and performance are outstanding and I still think it's by far the best looking bike out there, even now. I can honestly say it is the best bike I have ever ridden and I have absolutely no regrets about choosing it - even after crashing it and being prosecuted for speeding on it.
**UPDATE** - I have finally traded in Blue 1 for something else. After owning it since August 2001 I felt it was time for a change. The problem being there are precious few bikes out there that I would be prepared to trade it in for. Performance and reliability wise the only choices I will consider are the flagship 1000cc sports bikes of the 4 Japanese factories. As far as styling goes for me it is between Yamaha's R1 and Honda's Fireblade, but not the most recent models as they have both gone away from what I think looks great. In my opinion the best looking R1's (other than my current bike of course) are the 06 models and the same also goes for Fireblades. Having never owned a Fireblade, the bike that started it all, I thought now was the time to get one. I managed to pick up a very tidy silver one from my local Honda dealer who gave me an excellent price for my prized R1 which now takes pride of place in their 2nd hand showroom.
First of all let me come clean and admit that I am a "fair weather biker". My bike lives in the garage and only comes out when it's warm and sunny. I take my hat off to those of you who ride in all weathers and you are well within your rights to sneer. Living a 10 minute cycle ride from work I am fortunate enough to not need my bike for commuting and in more inclement conditions I can indulge my passion for keeping warm and dry by taking the car.
I have been riding since 1990 and am now on my 6th & 7th bikes - yes I now have 2. I learnt on a Honda NS125R then moved on to a Yamaha RD350F2 Power valve - they don't make 'em like that any more. Even with the more powerful bikes I have had since, I still miss that tremendous kick in the arse at 6500 rpm. Next was a Honda VFR750F, a superb machine that I kept for over 4 years and until August 2001 I enjoyed racing around (only joking Officer) on my Suzuki GSXR750WS.
I had to replace my HJC helmet after I crashed Blue1 in 2003 and got a Laser Octane2 instead. That lasted until Sep 07 when I crashed on a track day (see further below) and I had to bin it. I had been so impressed with my previous HJC that I got another one in the same colours which is my current helmet to date.
Road riding (Binned)
Track days (Binned)
Current road & track
I have a Bike Links page similar to my Snow Links one with bikes, clothing, after market add-ons and other bike related links. Go there now
In 1996 I did a race school at Cadwell Park, Lincs, UK on a Yamaha FZR400 (see pic below) and in 2000 I went to the Ron Haslam Honda race school at Donnington Park - my favourite circuit. Read about it below. I've never wanted to do a track day on my own bike as I don't want to throw it down without insurance to pay for the pieces but in 2006 I did a couple of track days at Brands Hatch. A couple of mates have their own dedicated track bikes - CBR600 & GSXR600, and let me share them. I had a fantastic time and am now hooked.
I now have my own track bike. I managed to get a great deal on a GSXR750Y at my local Yamaha/Suzuki dealership where I got Blue1 and my 1st GSXR. I have had the brakes up rated with Goodridge braided hoses, new pads and fluid which have really made a difference and got some 2nd hand panels from eBay to protect the standard ones. Other than that I have kept it completely standard and road legal so I can use it in the winter when my main bike is hibernating. I have done track days at both Brands Hatch Indy & GP circuits (the full GP circuit is awesome) and my local race circuit at Lydden Hill and hope to do some more this year. Unfortunately after several successful visits to Brands I low sided at my first visit to Lydden Hill in September 07 and injured a couple of fingers, several bits of Suzuki, leathers and helmet. With the NHS, eBay and my favourite leather repair specialist to the rescue we were fighting fit a couple of months later and ready for more, shame it was winter by then.
School 11th September 2000 - a totally frivolous use of hard-to-come-by
I was just able to get some fuel to return from Donnington Park. 'Just' being the operative word as my poor GSXR was running on vapour for 7 empty filling stations before finally fueling up. I had a fantastic time at the track and both CBR600 and I survived many frantic laps around the full GP circuit. This is more than I can say for a number of other riders who seemed to prefer the gravel and grass around the edge. Zoom over to my Race School page for the low down.
Here are all my bikes past and present. Sorry but the picture changer had to be disabled but I am looking at alternatives. In the meantime I have made the thumbs a bit bigger so you can actually see what they are! Hover the mouse over the pics to get descriptions & names.
I try to follow MotoGP, WSB & BSB on TV and used to get up to Donnington Park for the British GP most years. I was a big fan of 'King Mick' Doohan. This is probably because my first bike was a Honda and at the time all my bike friends supported Yamaha's Wayne Rainey. It's a real shame Mick missed out on the title in his last season before he retired at the end of '99 as I am sure he would have won if he wasn't injured. Since then though I haven't really followed any particular rider and haven't jumped on the Rossi band wagon like most of my mates although he is of course a totally awesome rider. James Toseland entered GP for 2008 for Tech3 Yamaha so of course I am keen to see him do well. Go JT!
|I'd like to take this opportunity to thank someone who really helped me out on my way up to the Donnington GP in 2001. Riding up late Saturday afternoon my virtually bald & illegal rear tyre got a puncture near Bedford and I needed a new one ASAP. It was now about 5.30pm and most places were closed. Luckily HOMER RACING of 93 Tavistock Street, Bedford (Tel 01234 327747) were just about still open and despite needing to get away to prepare their own bike for a race the following day, offered to stay on late to sort me out with a new Michelin Hi-Sport which was fitted within an hour of my phone call. Many thanks to Tony (?) for great service well and above the call of duty. If you're in the Bedford area then this is definitely the shop to head for.|
Brands Hatch is only about 50 miles away from Dover and so I go there for my live Superbikes fix. I think BSB is better value for money than WSB as the action is just as hot but the crowds are smaller so you can actually see the track rather than just the back of a lot of people's heads. I'm pretty disappointed with terrestrial TV's coverage of Superbikes for 2008/9 and have to rely on my mate recording WSB off Sky for me.