On the last weekend of September this year Suzuki invited us for a friendly Media endurance race with other motoring journos across the country. As a surprise Suzuki had lined up the new Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 for the race with modifications that make it fit for a technical track like the Kari Motor Speedway which is in Coimbatore. On the first day we had a practice session combined with a qualifying session of 15 minutes to determine our grid positions for the media endurance race happening the next day.
The race-spec Gixxer SF 250 had undergone some changes which helps it to become a better track machine. Like a typical race bike, it loses the headlamp, the indicators, gets rear set foot pegs, the rear seat gets a cowl and the handlebar have been lowered and replaced with shorter clip-on ones.
The big changes include the exhaust system and the tyres. The race-spec free flow exhaust system also further reduces the weight and the stickier Metzeler Sportec M7 RR tyres provide great grip. Suzuki says that no changes have been made to the engine but with the free flow setup and the lighter overall weight the bike revved much more freely and felt faster. We expect the free flow to have added about 2-3 HP over stock.
The endurance race had a total ride time of 45 minutes with a rule that for every rider needs to spend at least 14 minutes on the track. Teammates were randomly selected for a fair teaming and my teammate was Abhilasha Singh from Financial Express. We now had to discuss, strategize and coordinate our race.
I was really excited and nervous at the same time as it was my first race experience.
The race started with a Le Mans start, that is the Suzuki Gixxers were lined up on the left side of the Start/finish straight at the Kari Motor Speedway with the riders starting the race lined up on the right side. Mr. Koichiro Hirao, MD of the Suzuki Motorcycle India waved the green flag and the riders were off.
My teammate took the first session got to the bike and started off. She came back to the pitlane after giving her best and it was my turn to go.
After a quick rider swap I was on track giving my best and the Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 race edition made it very easy for me, it was fast, nimble and forgiving. The lowered handle bar, stiffer suspension (than stock) and the Metzeler Sportec M7 RR tyres helped me to handle bike easily at the quite technical Kari track.
I was able to clock 150+ speeds easily on the straights.
Before we knew it, the chequered flag was waved and the race was over, we finished the race in 8th position. Compared to my best time during the qualifying round, I managed to do way better timings during the race which makes me hungry for more.
Even though this was the first time these race-spec 250s were raced on the track I am sure that we will see them make a higher-class of racing in the Suzuki Gixxer Cup due to its easy to ride DNA. These track-oriented Suzuki Gixxer SF 250s will be an amazing choice for young racers to push their skills once they are done with the 150cc class.
Overall it was a really amazing and an awesome weekend with tons of learning experience. This was the first time these race-spec 250s were raced on the track and we were one of the few lucky ones to experience this amazing bike on the race track. Quite the privilege. A big round of applause to all the gracious folks at Team Suzuki for inviting us to this event and giving my team and I an unforgettable experience.