Well it was late in December 2005, when a buddy of mine suggested that we enter what is know down here in Cape Town, South Africa as the breakfast run races. Supposedly for individuals that had never raced before other than track days. There were two events each 8 laps.
I nervously agreed & arrived at Killarney our local race track (www.killarney.co.za
) did a quick medical, paid the race day fee's and sat back anxiously and waited for my first race.
Madness prevailed as my good friend entered his V-Rod, apparently the last time a Harley was raced there was in the 70's. Super poor ground clearance was going to be his problem for sure.
Sure the K1200GT suffers from poor ground clearance as well and I hear you all saying is this guy mad!!! Apart from the obvious problems facing me, I was unfit & was not sure if throwing around a 300Kg Beemer was in fact a good thing. Would I loose it trying to over cook braking markers or was some lunatic going to take me off?
My first race was up & I proceeded to the pit lane after the riders briefing together with my Harley mate. Boy was I in for a surprise. 15 bikes had entered 2 x GSXR K5,s, 2 x Black Birds, 2 x Honda SP2's some Honda Fire Blades & an assortment of other makes. I thought to myself how on earth was I going to compete against the likes of these high performance super bikes?
The Red starting lights were some 150m ahead hanging from the Dunlop Bridge which crosses the main straight & I then discovered I could'nt see them. My eye sight was simply too bad or were they just simply too small to see. I took up my starting position at the back of the grid & started praying. My friend on The Harley & I had missed out on the practice sessions so their were no lap times for us hence starting at the back of the grid.
The Red starting lights had aparently gone out as the field raced away from me under the Dunlop bridge towards turn one. I was away and flew past at least 10 bikes before I started braking for turn one. Could it be possible, was I in third position? yes I was, but it was short lived, coming out of turn one gunning it towards the next turn a slipped back to 5th spot just not having enough grunt, allowed a Honda SP2 & a GSXR K5 to rocket past me. I held on to 5th spot throughout the race holding off my two closest rivals another SP2 and a Honda Black Bird. The Harley was struggling further down the pack in 9th spot, a really good achievement under the circumstances. It was no slouch down the back straight either clocking apparently well over 138mph. I also seem to remember hitting 149mph down the back straight before hitting the brakes for the last turn before the main straight.
Race two was a similiar event with great dices throughout. The Black Bird I had been dicing in race one pipped me out of the last turn into the main straight on the last lap & I dropped down to 6th place.
It was great fun & I was simply exhausted, but was over the moon that I had overcome my unfitness & had managed a total of sixteen laps without dropping the GT.
The GT got a 6th overal for the day, not bad for a tourer. By the way, my Bridgestone BT012R's performed excellently having blistered themselves right to the limits. They are good for at least another 2900 miles.
I have a number of photo's of my GT on race day taken by professional photographers & would like to post a few. Not sure how to do it so if there's anyone out there to give advise, please reply.
It was found out later that 1st, 2nd & 3rd places went to riders that had raced in regional & national meetings. One was an ex-regional champion who took 1st spot on his 2005 GSXR K5, not exactly fair considering it was supposed to be for riders that had never raced before. If they had not entered, the GT would have been placed 2nd in the first race & 3rd in the second.
Cheers all you GT/RS riders from fellow GT racer, Cape Town, South Africa.