A week to the the day that I brought it down to London, it’s been stolen from Rotherhithe: locked and chained up in the garage at my flat.
It’s a red and black 2006 Honda CBR1000RR-6 Fireblade, registration number RV06MVL, VIN: JH2SC57A46M204191 Engine Number SC57E2204623
Thieving scum. I hope they get killed on it.
I took the opportunity to have one last rideout for the year last weekend, making the most of a crisp, dry day to go for a blast through NE Lincolnshire. I probably won’t get a chance for another before the winter weather sets in and the gritters have a crack at making the roads slippery and salty.
Well it was time for me and the Blade to play properly on track and break in my new leathers and n00bish virgin kneesliders.
So off we went to the Motorcycle Folly‘s Rockingham trackday on 19 July 2010. The weather was just right despite the Sunday before and the Tuesday after being wet and miserable; indeed I even got a bit sunburnt.
First session out there having led the Novice group round for the first session and I started pushing it a little faster each time until I was getting my knee down on both left and right handers. Indeed in most of the photos of the day of me – taken by the ever-fabulous EDP Photo News – I seem to have my knee down lap after lap.
Anyway, here are some photos:
As the ZRX1200R wasn’t running properly after its full service at Robspeed, I made the decision to use the Fireblade for the RBLR1000: 1,000 miles in 24 hours with proceeds going to the Poppy Appeal.
A last minute check of the Blade showed that another fairing bolt had gone missing and also that the satnav wiring I’d put in for the TomTom Rider was hard-wired into the ZRX rather than separately attached to the battery. So I also needed to get some electrical connectors and cut the wiring on the ZRX.
After those small wrinkles, I fitted the TomTom and loaded myself up before heading off to Squires for log-in. Paperwork and briefing over, it was back to the hotel for a pint and to watch England’s dismal performance against Algeria in the World Cup and then off for an early night.
The alarm went off at 4.30am so I got up, had a coffee and a shower and watched the TV weather forecast: showers, Northerly winds, gale force at times but clearing from the West. Bugger!
I grabbed the packed lunch I’d ordered from the hotel and headed over to Squires to get myself signed off for the 5.30am start.
I had chosen the North Anti-Clockwise route: Squires to Berwick-upon-Tweed to Edinburgh to Wick (18 miles short of John O’Groats) to Fort William to Birch Services (Manchester) and then back to Squires.
My first fuel stop was at Gateshead at 6.44am. Quite cold but making good progress. The sky was very overcast…
On to Berwick by 7.41am. It was very windy and there had been a fair degree of drizzle, so I donned my race rainsuit (aka “the Gimp Suit”) and we set off again. I say “we” because by now, one of my friends from the ZRX Owners Club, Ralph, and I were riding together.
It was at this stop that I noticed that there was brake fluid leaking from one of the front brake hoses supplied and fitted by Robspeed. Not particularly good news as I was facing another 800 miles through the Highlands on a 180mph sportsbike with potentially no brakes…
We pressed on to the Dreghorn Link, Edinburgh (“Foghorn Dreghorn”) by 8.53am for more coffee and for me to buy some brake fluid to top up the brake reservoir. Grim and Viper turned up too whilst we were taking a break.
Our next stop was a quick detour off the A9 in the Highlands for petrol, coffee and a hot pie at 10.33am in Dalwhinnie. The ride had been cold and wet at times, but it was now brightening up considerably:
Knowing we had a long next leg up to Wick, our next fuel and coffee stop was at Dornoch, in Sutherland, north of the Glenmorangie Distillery at 12.16pm.
On then to Tesco at Wick for a sandwich and fuel at 1.31pm. This was our most northerly checkpoint and marked our halfway point, more or less. We bumped into Yid, Grim, Viper and John (the one-armed rider I know from my trackdays).
Then we headed off back down to Inverness in bright sunshine but still very windy. A terrific road too with lots of fast, sweeping bends. It was at this point that I began to resent having a deadline to achieve as I’d have loved to stop for photos of the stunning scenery. Maybe next time…
It had warmed up too so at Inverness at 3.39pm Ralph grabbed a Cornetto. I made do with a Double Decker and a coffee! We were looking forward to the next section: the blast along the lochs including Loch Ness from Inverness down to Fort William.
Loads and loads of fun on the road saw us safely to a beautiful and warm Fort William at 5.09pm despite not being able to rely on working front brakes:
We knew that the next section of the journey – the road past Glencoe and Loch Lomond from Fort William down to Glasgow – was going to be breathtaking and it didn’t let us down. Lots of wide open roads, twists, turns, ascents and descents. It was on the motorways around Glasgow that Ralph and I were separated thanks to his Garmin and my TomTom suggesting different routes, but we met up again at Bothwell Services on the M74 at 7.28pm.
We then rode on with our bikes casting ever longer shadows down to Southwaite Services on the M6 between Carlisle and Penrith by 8.53pm. By now it was starting to hurt a bit so a couple of Ibuprofen with the coffees helped. A change too from black visors to clear ones as we knew dusk was approaching.
So on to our last checkpoint: Birch Services Eastbound on the M62 which we reached by 10.20pm. More fuel, coffee and visor cleaning to clear the midges away:
And then on for a quick blast from there to Squires and a warm welcome when we rolled in at 11.09pm, the fourth and fifth riders ‘home’. Just as well the welcome was warm, because temperatures had plummeted!
Well over 1,000 miles in 17.5 hours. I got my fuel log checked, filled in the paperwork to submit all my receipts and the like for the Iron Butt Association membership and then had a laugh and joke with the people who’d applauded our return.
Sadly Squires had shut up for the night, so no hot tea and hot dogs but fortunately one of the organising team made me a warm cup of tea on their stove which helped enormously. We saw Viper back in around midnight before I set off for one more fuel stop en route back to home near Cleethorpes by 12.45am.
Same again next year? In the meantime, my JustGiving page is still taking donations until 20 September 2010…
I picked the Fireblade up this morning from Robspeed in Grimsby. They’d done the changes: fitting braided hoses, Diablo Supercorsa tyres, a tailtidy, R&G crash mushrooms and some bespoke silver graphics with CBR and fireblade logos as cut-outs. The graphics look great: judge for yourself from the cameraphone shots.
The bike is indecently capable and indecently quick. The handling is impeccable so far as well. Oh and I look like a complete n00b thanks to huge chicken strips – new tyres front and rear – and new leathers and knee sliders!
So faced with wearing old and increasingly ill-fitting blue leathers on a red and black bike, I went to Hein Gericke in Hull today and ended up buying more than a grand’s worth of clothing. Fortunately, they had a £40 off offer if you spent over £160 so I used that a few times and spent around £850 on a black two-piece Arlen Ness 8304/8314 suit (I can’t manage a one-piece as getting in and out of them dislocates my shoulder), a Knox gilet back protector (as my Knox stowaway keep slipping up to strangle me by the end of a track session), some Alpinestars GP Pro gloves (very nice) and some Alpinestars SMX-Plus boots (as comfortable as a pair of slippers).
This is the gear:
I’ll be adding these to my Shark helmet, I reckon.
Well I’ve gone and done it: I’ve just bought a secondhand 2006 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade in red and black from Robspeed in Grimsby.
I won’t be collecting it until June 11th as they are going to be fitting some new Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa tyres, some crash bungs, braided hoses, a tail tidy and some bespoke graphics to hide a big stone chip in the fairing.
In the meantime, here are some photos of the bike as it is at the dealers: