From a road homologated WSB Ducati to ex-500GP machinery. If you're into trackdays and money is no object, then why not invest in the best bikes, born with racing in mind
Admit it, who wouldn’t give their right bollock (or nearly £50,000 if you are precious about your man parts) to fire one of these beauties up at a Brands Hatch trackday! A ROC Yamaha YZR500 was sold in a Bonham’s auction in April and it represents one of the few chances that mere mortals can sample what it is like to be a GP God from the golden era of racing.
While the chassis is a French ROC design, the engine is a full-factory (ok, privateer spec) YZR 500cc V4 two-stroke – one of the last truly terrifying GP engines. No traction control, a wafer thin two-stroke powerband and around 190bhp trying to launch you into orbit at every possible opportunity. This is a proper man’s trackday bike and even comes complete with carbon brakes – easily worth three second a lap in pit lane kudos.
Niall Mackenzie stuck a privateer Yamaha (pictured above) that was extremely similar to the bike sold on the podium at Jerez in 1992, alongside a couple of chaps called Mick Doohan and Wayne Rainey, so it is the real deal and not some back marker’s transport like a CRT bike…
Engine: 499cc, V-four, l/c, two-strokePower: 190bhpWeight: 129kg
While you may think the ultimate Ducati track bike would be the £40,000 V4 Desmosedici, in many ways the 1098R is actually tricker and a better track tool.
Launched in 2008 the 1098R was the first motorcycle to get traction control, something Ducati didn’t fit to the 2006 Desmo despite it costing nearly twice as much as the £24k V-twin and apparently a ‘MotoGP rep for the road’. Taken directly from the MotoGP bike, the Ducati Traction Control (DTC) allows you to unleash the 1098R’s full 180bhp and 99ft.lbs in (relative) safety – and you had better hang on tight.
While the Panigale has eclipsed the R’s 180bhp, it doesn’t deliver it in such a thumping fashion. Low down the 1098R (which is actually 1198cc) is staggeringly grunty, bordering on the ferocious, while the plethora of titanium and lightweight items in the engine gives it a top end rush like an inline four. In the bends the Öhlins suspension smoothes out any imperfections in the track’s surface, helping the tyres exploit the grip, and the chassis is amazing mid-corner. Elbow down? Yep, give it a shot on the 1098R, the grip is there.
In 2008 the 1098R redefined what a V-twin was capable of and to this day it remains the most exotic Ducati you can buy – just don’t be tempted by the slightly tacky Troy Bayliss rep 1098R – a Ducati has to be red!
Engine: 1198cc, l/c, Desmo V-twinPower: 180bhpWeight: 165kg
Performance Technical Racing (PTR) are a British based team that have taken the Supersport fight to the might of Ten Kate and the various Japanese factory teams and won.
You can’t pop into Yamaha and buy a WSB-spec R1. You can’t knock on Ducati’s door and buy a 1098 in the same spec as Carlos Checa’s bike. Contact PTR and for £38,400 you can have a full WSS spec Honda CBR600RR that is identical to the bike Sam Lowes won the Donington race on this year. If you have the talent, this bike will allow you to beat the world’s best.
So what do you get? The CBR’s motor is painstakingly balanced and tuned to produce over 145bhp and fitted with a Motec electronics package that includes traction control, various power modes, anti-wheelie and even GPS positioning to allow the bike to automatically adjust the engine braking or power between corners. The Honda forks are fitted with Öhlins gas-pressurised internals, the shock is a TTX36 unit and the brakes and discs are all the very best money can buy.
In short, this is about the best CBR600RR in the world – and yours for under £40k. Talent isn’t included in the cost – that’s extra.
Engine: 599cc, inline four, l/cPower: 145bhpWeight: 163kg
The irony, of course, is that despite being the fastest bike in Moto2 last year this actual machine didn’t win the championship and the PTR CBR600RR World Supersport bike makes more power! However the fact of the matter is that if it wasn’t for a nasty bang on the head, Spanish wonder kid Marquez would have taken the honours in Moto2 and the power is limited by the rules.
So why spend £80,000 for it? Because while the engine is a ‘control’ CBR motor that makes around 140bhp, the chassis is a full-on GP prototype – and that’s about as cool as it gets. Built by Suter the dual beam aluminium chassis is hand crafted and so is the adjustable aluminium swingarm while the suspension is the absolute top of the range Öhlins units.
Everything about this bike is designed to make it the ultimate track weapon and unlike the RS250, it’s one that will start every time and run sweet as a nut due to its four-stroke motor. And if you find it a bit slow you can always stick a WSS-spec CBR engine in it! Due to Marquez’s reputation this bike is over priced and other Moto2 machines from lesser riders have sold for nearer £70,000 (Kalex chassis) or £75,000 (FTR chassis, Keith Flint from The Prodigy owns one).
Engine: 599cc, inline four, l/cPower: 140bhpWeight: 137kg
The V-twin two-stroke 250 is probably the purest racer you can buy – a proper gem of a motorcycle that sums up the spirit of competition. When on song this mini-missile delivers a simply glorious riding experience that rewards inch perfect precision with a cornering speed like no other and a smell and sound that is pure bliss.
While Aprilia dominated the final few years of 250GPs, it was a Honda that clinched the final Championship and for that reason, not to mention the abundance of spares, you have to go for an RS250.
This bike is currently for sale on eBay for £11,000, which is about the going rate for a decent 250GP bike, and it will only go up in value as more and more get smashed to pieces in club races.
There are many downsides to running a two-stroke – something that makes so much power from such a tiny capacity is always going to be fickle and if the jets aren’t right it will run like a bag of spanners at best, at worse it will seize solid and then you are looking at a truly terrifying repair bill. But who cares, if money is no object then there isn’t a man alive who wouldn’t want one of these in his garage.
Engine: 250cc, V-twin, l/c, two-strokePower: 75bhpWeight: 100kg
Posted: 12/06/2012 at 12:52
Posted: 12/06/2012 at 13:00
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