Avon Viper Extreme - Niall Mackenzie's verdict

Niall Mackenzie tests the new Viper Extreme at Donington

When I came back to the British Superbike paddock in the nineties, fellow Scot and TT legend Jim Moodie was the main man in both the Supersport 400 and 600 classes. He ran at the front week in week out putting much of this success down to his Avon tyres.

Since then Avon's involvement in racing and performance tyres has all but disappeared but I'm pleased to say they are fighting back with their new Viper Extreme, a sports bike tyre that also loves the track.

Donington Park's track day instructors have been using them all year on various machines so I went along to try some out on a Honda CBR600RR.

My test a Donington was in ideal conditions with the ambient temperature at sixteen degrees. The track was clean with the odd patch of cement dust left over from earlier oil spills.

My first impression was an all round light handling feel and as I built up speed I was pleased to find everything stayed nicely in line. I do a ton of laps at Donington every year so I have a good idea what I am looking for and I also know where tyres will start let go when the grip runs out.

I have to say the Viper Extreme behaved well as I circulated faster and faster with only the rear stepping out slightly at the off camber Old Hairpin and the Esses when pushed to the limit. The front gave a good positive feel and never moved however it lacked the ultimate bite of the likes of the Bridgestone BT015 or a Pirelli Diablo Corsa 111.

Overall I was impressed with the Viper Extreme. The feedback and feel gave me plenty confidence and as the instructors mentioned the track mileage they are achieving easily surpasses the competition.