Fit for purpose: Diablo 666 Endurance ZX-10R

The average road bike does a bit of everything. But there are machines in the biking world designed to do one job only. Pure specialists if you will. These are the bikes...

James Hutchins, Diablo 666 World Endurance racer

"Endurance racing is just that. If you have to do an hour stint at the Suzuka Eight-Hour in oppressively hot and humid conditions you really do feel like you're going to pass out. You're at the utter limit of physical and mental endurance.

"For us pit-stops take about 13 seconds from start to finish. That means the bike's fully fuelled, front and rear wheels are changed as is the rider. It's quite an art and is amazing to watch the guys do their stuff. Only four guys are allowed to touch the bike although you can have as many people as you want passing them stuff and they practice the drill for ages to get it perfectly choreographed. After a long stint on the bike, maybe an hour or so, the rider can be prettyt much stuck in the riding crouch - muscle memory can do that to you - so we have one guy literally hauling us out of the seat and off the bike after sessions.

"Riding kit is pretty much your normal kit that you wear racing any bike or riding on the street, but with some important differences. We wear fluorescent light-reflective arm-bands and strips on our helmets. Each of the three riders has a different colour so we're recognisable. Reflective spots on the bike help us with orientation in the pits too and help us recognise it with so many bikes in the pits in the dark!

"Sometimes you do go faster at night or early in the morning than in the daytime for a couple of reasons. Sometimes in the day conditions can get too hot and the track can get slippery, you can also be more relaxed at night or at dusk or dawn, and cooler air can make the bike perform better.

Cool kit for me includes a lovely pair of RS Taichi gloves, which I got at the Suzuka Eight-Hour and Daytona boots, which are as tough as, erm, old boots. The helmet-mounted drinking tube goes into your back hump where you've got the liquid stored. It's a must for scorching hot races like Suzuka."


Diablo 666 World Endurance Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R

James: "The bike's heavier than a 'normal' 162kg or so Superbike you'd see at BSB. With a long time in the saddle and a number of riders to accommodate we have a more relaxed riding position than a full-on superbike to allow for this compromise. The pits are where we can make up a lot of time on the competition if we get it right. It's a team game - if we do a pit-stop over 20 seconds we've had it, but then again if we're two seconds off the pace then we've really had it...


"There's a massive difference from our bike to some of the opposition. The Suzuki Endurance Race Team machines are full factory bikes. They will almost have a different bike for qualifying that will run seconds quicker than the race bikes would do in full trim. Maybe they'll do a 2m 09s lap of Suzuka in qualifying but in race trim it'll be around 2m 11 or 12s. Generally with our bike we'll be around 1.5 seconds a lap behind the factory boys, but on a big lap like Suzuka, it could be as much as four to five seconds. At Suzuka we were doing 2m 15s laps and we're pretty much a superstock level of machine.

"It helps to have back-up in this sort of series, that's why we're a sister-team to the Swiss-based Bolliger team, who help us with pit-stops and other stuff."

EXTENDED SWINGARM: "This is a modification that we find changes the character of the original ZX-10R to something more suitable for endurance racing. It helps give the bike more drive out of corners and gives improved tyre life."

BRAKES: "Aftermarket radial calipers from Beringer are different from standard, and the SBS pads we use are pretty special as they last about 12 hours or more at full racing speed, sometimes as long as 18-hours."

WHEELS: "Lightweight quick-release Dymags with a set of easy-up bobbins on the front so we're not taking an age to 'get it up' on stands in for pit stops."

TANK: "You're sitting on the fuel tank as it's under the seat. It's best for weight distribution and balance as we're carrying 24 litres of fuel from full rather than the road bike's 17. We've got an endurance tank set-up, so fuel goes in one hole and air comes out the other so no embarrassing splash-backs while filling up fast."

OHLINS REAR SHOCK: "Used because it has to work over a wide-range of conditions for a range of riders weights and styles."

QUICK ACTION THROTTLE: "Easy, short action from closed to open."

QUICKSHIFTER: "Time's everything in endurance. So a quickshifter saves shutting the throttle or using the clutch. This one's great as it works road and race shift - vital if one rider prefers a different shift to another. It's the same system Ten Kate use in WSB."

HEADLIGHTS: "High Intensity Discharge lights illuminate the up-coming corners when you're flat-out at three in the morning."


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