Sat, 06 Jun, 2020

Race Pedigree: Suzuki Gixxer SF 250

03rd November 2019, 02:08 Hrs

Ritesh Madhok

Suzuki Motorcycles India has been conducting One-make championship with its race spec Gixxer 150SF since 2015. Now, along with that, they brought to India, a new kind of race event, the Endurance race. We were recently invited to Kari motor speedway by Suzuki India to participate in the Media Endurance on their all new race-ready Gixxer 250SF. 

Suzuki has been conducting the Gixxer Cup along with JK tyres national racing championship since 2015 now, and this was the fifth edition of the race event and Round three of the 2019 JK tyres racing championship. Suzuki and JK tyres conduct these events to promote motorsports in India, and since inception has given a platform for many budding young riders from across India to display their talents and pursue a career in racing. The overall experience began with us reaching Coimbatore on a hot humid Saturday afternoon at the Kari Motor speedway track, with the sound of some engines roaring in their pits somehow welcoming us. A walk towards the Suzuki pits saw us pass by many other car team pits, and the adrenaline in the air was no less than in a Formula 1 race pit. 

This is the race-spec version of the Gixxer250SF, and boy it definitely screams its intent clearly as soon as you pull that throttle. The race ready version has all additional weights taken off, and was running without mirrors, side stand, indicators, stock exhaust, headlight unit, electrical switches, and was upgraded with a light-weight titanium full system exhaust setup to give it that extra bump of power. The overall weight was brought down by a good 20-25kgs and engine tuning was left untouched, just to depict the engines capabilities in a high revving race environment. We had rode the 250SF at BIC and were really impressed, but the Race-spec bike felt like a complete new engine with the power and acceleration of a true race-spec bike.  The bikes had their steering angles locked leaving a very little room to turn the bikes. It was done to keep the bike in control in case of a tank slapper, and make it easier for the rider to gain control back easily. 

The handlebars were replaced to a clip-on setup and the suspensions were tuned to offer better stability and feedback, with a few degree change in the rake angle. This allows more contact patch between the tyre and ground, giving it a good control and anchoring it better. To make it better, the stock MRFs were replaced with Metzelers M7 tyres with rear set foot pegs, to offer better, attacking rider stance. 

The race was to have a Le Mans start, and what’s that you might be wondering. Well, a Le Mans start is where all the vehicles are lined up in line as per qualifying position achieved on day 1 at an end of the track, and the rider starts the race from the other end of the track by running towards the bike, hopping on, starting the bike and crossing the start line. The very second the race was flagged off, we all ran towards our bikes, sat on it, started the motorcycle and just rode off. When I hit the pit, our team was in the Top 4, and I was more than satisfied with what I made from those 23 minutes on the track, and set loose Saad, my team-mate to get it home. 

Riding on the track in a race is very draining, it drains you out of energy completely. First the sun and leathers make it bad, plus the mental task of moving the bike and body in sync to cut down those crucial seconds. Finding the lines for high speed corners on roads you have never rode on, riding a new race spec machine, pushing it and yourself to hold on to that few seconds lead that would make the difference in the result. As I hit the pits and got off the saddle, I thought to myself that even finishing the race without a mess is more than an achievement. For me, it couldn’t have got better, we finished a respectable 4th overall in the race. Thank you Suzuki motorcycles India for this opportunity and the fun-filled weekend.

If you too feel that connect with a machine what I feel, and want to let your inner racer loose, head out there and get yourself enrolled for a track racing academy. It’s never too late to go out there and try. Rather than racing on public roads and endangering others, go try your hands here, and you might just get lucky. If you are that passionate for riding and really believe in yourself, go get geared up for the 2020 season and get into preparation mode. Mind you, track riding is not only for those who want to race, the track racing experience helps identify and correct many minor mistakes in riding style, we often manage to let go in our daily lives. Overall, the experience has left me a better rider than I was. How does it go for you, do let us know about that.

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