Let me just say that this BMW R Nine TE Racer project has been an immensely fun little build.
Not only did it allow me to create a vision I had for a long time but it has given me a lot of new experiences and enjoyment.
It has also give me a chance to get it’s style inspiration (the RPS13) back into the spotlight.
After travelling home from WTAC I was really excited to get the bike on track and experience it.
My chance came with an invite to the Geelong Revival, my hometown foreshore sprint race.
The Geelong Revival mixes historic and modern race cars and motorcycles from all over Australia, as a kid I remember watching the racing wanting to be a part of the action.
My chance first came in 2015 and 2016 where I ran the Hilux, it was a heap of fun but I wanted to mix things up this year and thought this would be the perfect event to run the ETS trade satnd, the RPS13 and also the BMW R Nine TE racer throughout the weekend.
I was extremely confident in driving the RPS13 at this event, this cars remained relatively the same for the majority of the last decade. I know this car and I know how it performs and reacts, a testament to my mindset of keeping it the way it is and replacing only what breaks.
But the BMW on the other hand was a completely new beast, I wasn’t new to the BMW R Nine T but I hadn’t ever raced one. On paper I knew it was capable of a 11.5 second 1/4 mile in stock trim, but I had made my own exhaust, put an 18 inch wheel (that came off my car) so it’s performance and reliability was unknown.
To make things even more interesting my first run on Saturday morning was in the rain, I eased the bike through the traps in 14 seconds and it felt great doing so.
A quick bolt check and I was back out on track in the dry conditions, to say I was nervous would be an understatement, I have never really raced a road bike before, my only experience of going over 200 KMH was on the salt flats of South Australia where I set a land speed record in FLATS Movie. The wide open Salt Flats with its 50m wide track that spanned for 20 km could not have been any different to the Geelong Revival makeshift track I was about to race on.
I rolled up to the start line, double checked that the ABS was switched off, selected first gear and looked up at the corner ahead of me. The track is lined with concrete, littered with white lines, man hole covers and imperfections. I figured I should just ease into it, but then the starter raised the flag and from that moment on I was intent on getting everything out of this BMW.
I drop the clutch with the 1200cc boxer beneath me singing at 6k rpm, that 200 wide Shinko is battling for grip as it gets out of the hole, the front end hovers as it’s hooking up and heading for the red line. I grab second gear and realize that things are happening extremely quickly, this corner doesn’t look like much to anyone else but as the speed rises those concrete barriers create a real funnel that makes the track seem incredibly narrow.
I’m up into 3rd gear and sighting the finish line, it is this moment right here that I appreciate the time and effort I went to to get this rear wheel finished to the level that I did. The finish line approaches in a blur and I cross through it nudging 200 kmh in just 11.4 seconds.
That’s just half of it though, I have 200m to reduce 200kmh to 10kmh and the BMW does it with ease, turning the corner and lining up with the other riders fresh out of their helmets and swapping stories of the best last 30 seconds of their lives.
I would have a story to tell about the RPS13 too but it wasn’t all positive. The brief for the drivers was to have a good time, stay safe and show the crowd what you and the car are capable of. After my first run I copped a bit of heat and was threatened to put the car back on the trailer. I understand that it wasn’t a drift event but there were a large component of the crowd came to enjoy the wide range of Motorsports, surely controlled drifting is one of them isn’t it?
Big thanks to all those that came out to the event and supported ETS! I appreciate it.