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RideFast Jan 2020

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FAST BIG BANG BATTLE

FAST BIG BANG BATTLE CHAMPIONSHIP-WINNING YAMAHA R1 VS STOCK R1 LAPS Words by Donovan Fourie / Pics by Beam Productions Yes, we see these National race bikes performing physicsdefying feats of brilliance around our esteemed race tracks, setting times us mere mortals look at with nothing but envy and awe. They are so fast that this gaze we hold upon them is in much the same light as the gaze we hold upon galaxies some 12 billion light years away; they are so inexplicably far away from us that the mind cannot begin to fathom it. Look at it this way – Red Star Raceway is a long lap time. A C-group rider at the track day will run somewhere to the right of 2:30. The B-group rider will be in the range of 2:20 to 2:30. That pace is already faster than 90% of people that have had the privilege of swinging a leg over a motorcycle; it is already a praise-worthy pace. The A-group clan are somewhere between 2:20 and down to 2: 05. At this pace, we begin ascending from the ranks of mere mortals and into the realm of demigods. Now we delve into the ethereal cloud that is the professional racer. A good racer, one that walks with the glow of godliness, will accomplish 2:00, and the national racers somehow dip below that coveted 2min line, the Thors and Odins getting as low as 1min 55. Anyone who has turned a lap of Red Star will know how impossible this feat should be to achieve, and yet somehow they do it. Now we move the envy of Thor, Odin and Tom Cruise – Clint Seller. Or, more accurately this year, six-times South African Champion Clint Seller. His best time around Red Star Raceway is a 1min 50. In a galaxy far far away… We know these riders are extraterrestrial. We know they possess talents and dedication that supersede human existence. But they also posses bikes that are far removed from those ridden off showroom floors. But how much of this galactic lap time blitzing is down to the marvels of the rider and how much do we attribute to the machine? And this led us to Red Star Raceway one fine Spring morning to find out. The current Yamaha R1 is still a force to be reckoned with, despite now in its fifth year of existence and has since seen all of its rivals receive a revamp. In World Superbikes, it still achieves podiums and it is still taking championships in series all over the world. 34 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE JANUARY 2020 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE JANUARY 2020 3 5