The Suzuki Gixxer cup in its second season runs alongside the Redbull Road to Rookies Cup
What does it feel like to experience adrenaline by just thinking about something? You start to sweat inside your leathers, your visor fogs up as you stare out of the pits on to the first corner. You try to take it easy but the daredevil inside you wants to push from the first lap itself. You rev your engine as your ears beg to hear each and every gear you shift. You brake so hard that you realise that gravity is unforgiving on your forearms. Ignoring the pain, you shift your body and tackle corner after corner to make your way in the quickest possible way. As laps go by, your life is all about ‘clutch-shift-gas-lean-repeat’.
I was fresh from my previous track experience in Chennai, where I raced at the Madras Motor Race Track on a race-spec Honda machine. This time it was Suzuki’s race horse at the Kari Motor Speedway, the Gixxer SF. To begin with, I personally found Kari to be a fairly difficult and a more technical track than the MMRT. The race-spec Gixxer however wasn’t shy while doing its thing. Speaking of its character, the racing Gixxer SF has a particularly daunting one, very similar to how it dominates the streets. The clip-on handle bars, the rear-set footpegs and the racing exhaust are all what have made the SF, the race machine it is.
We all flew into Coimbatore on what was a chilly evening and I could only think about the next day and what would happen if it were to rain. Racing on a wet track is never a fun filled experience because one wouldn’t be able to push to the absolute limits. Thankfully, it didn’t rain at all that night even when the clouds haunted all of the city. The next morning, like any other track day, we were all excited and discussing about the track, the bike all while gearing up. Getting ready for a track day is even more exciting than getting ready for a date!
We were introduced to the bikes. The race-spec Suzuki Gixxer SF is an interesting machine. It has everything that a track bike should have – racing clip-on handle bars, a performance exhaust system and sticky tyres. The first impression of the motorcycle was good, it has a committed riding stance which feels aggressive because of the raised rear-set footpegs. However, the bike felt awfully tiny. The Gixxer SF also doesn’t feel very light compared to its street version as it doesn’t shed a lot of unnecessary parts. The re-tuned carburettor gave a significant bump in acceleration but the engine suffered at high RPMs. There were a few flat spots through the rev-range and the top speed was barely 118 km/hr. However, the bike was very agile on the signature chicanes at the Kari Speedway. When you come to think of it, this Suzuki is actually suited for teenagers which is whom the Gixxer Cup aims to support.
Track days are always fun especially when you’re riding with friends
It was a fun event where we were given 30 minutes of practice time, to get to know the track while the next 30 minutes was a time-attack session. The one with the best timing, wins! We all fired up our respective Gixxers and off we went. Before the session, Dhanil and I had a bet to see who was the faster of the two of us. Well, he being a good 15 kgs heavier than me, he didn’t stand a chance and came in sixth place. I was one of the lightest on the track so I had an advantage, but weight isn’t everything; skill is equally important. I stood fourth in the overall rankings with my best lap being 1’28.239; a good 4 seconds slower than the winner.
The Suzuki Gixxer Cup feels like it has been designed to shape the young and upcoming talent in a country that is yet to make a significant mark in the world of motorcycle racing. In association with Red Bull Rookies Cup, Suzuki is also running a ‘Road to Rookies’ competition which will look for two deserving talents aged between 13-17 years and sponsor them in the MotoGP rookie class. This programme will definitely help Indian racers in making their way to the international racing scene which is currently dominated by the Europeans. As far as the Suzuki Gixxer Cup is concerned, it is as competitive as it gets.