TT-winning BMW ridden

Posted by Black Duc On Monday, October 13, 2014 0 nhận xét

TT-winning BMW ridden

Roland Brown tries Michael Dunlop's Isle of Man TT-winning motorbike and speaks to the man himself

Michael Dunlop's TT-winning Hawk BMW S1000RR
Roland was glad to ride the Hawk BMW S1000RR away from the Isle of Man Photo: Matteo Cavadini
There was one minor hitch to BMWs generous offer to let me ride Michael Dunlop’s TT-winning S1000RR at the Jerez Grand Prix circuit. Not enough brick walls. Or kerbs, trees, lamp posts, or any of the other “street furniture” that makes racing on the TT circuit such a unique and dangerous experience.
Not that I was complaining, I hasten to add. Riding this two-wheeled missile on the Spanish circuit’s broad, smooth Tarmac with its generous run-off areas was quite exciting and challenging enough, thank you very much.
The most remarkable thing about this most successful of BMW motorcycles is arguably not how special it is, but how ordinary. Built by the Leicestershire-based Hawk Racing team, its most exotic component is its 999cc, four-cylinder engine. This comes direct from the Munich factory, is built to World Superbike specification using lightweight titanium parts, and produces 222bhp – that's 30bhp more than the production bike.

The Hawk BMW S1000RR is built for strength as much as speed
The aluminium frame, by contrast, is from a standard road-going S1000RR. And although the Öhlins suspension, Brembo brakes and Dymag wheels are high-quality racing components, they’re parts that any racer can buy.
Even so, it feels wonderfully racy as I head out for my blast at Jerez. The way it accelerates out of the tight final turn, sheer power lifting its front wheel despite my efforts to pull my weight forward and keep it down, is as impressive as it’s thrilling.
As the BMW storms down the main straight towards its top speed of almost 200mph I’m glad that, like most TT racers, Dunlop prefers a tall screen, to help escape the wind on the Mountain Circuit’s high-speed stretches. Thankfully, the bike slows for the following hairpin with reassuring ferocity.
It handles very well, too, but is slightly less agile than I expected, built for stability through fast and bumpy Manx curves. Michael, the elder of two racing brothers from the famous family (he’s the brother of William, son of the late Robert and nephew of Joey), has a boxer-like physique that helps him muscle it around.
As I climb off the BMW after my handful of laps, I can’t help feeling that although I’ve had a vivid demonstration of its speed, I’m not much closer to understanding what it must be like to lap the TT circuit at an average of more than 131mph, as Dunlop did on the way to winning this year’s Superbike and Senior races.

Michael Dunlop celebrates winning on the Isle of Man
I’d hoped he would explain what it took to push this fearsome machine to the limit on those unforgiving roads, but he’s reluctant to give much away. “I just get on and ride it,” he says. “It’s just a bike, like the Honda I rode last year. Could I ride even faster if the walls weren’t there? It’s just not something I think about.”
It’s no wonder Dunlop doesn’t want to reveal his secrets. After four wins in each of the last two years, he has succeeded John McGuinness to become the top man at the TT. BMW want to keep him for next year and Honda would love to have him back, but Dunlop will take his time before signing a new deal.
The S1000RR he rode has earned its place in BMW’s museum, where it will end up after being displayed at this autumn’s big motorcycle shows. It’s a fine bike, but as Dunlop knows, and my ride confirmed, one old racing phrase is especially true of a TT winning machine: its most important component is the nut holding the handlebars.
Michael Dunlop's TT-winning Hawk BMW S1000RR
Tested: 999cc four-cylinder four-stroke, six-speed transmission
Price: £100,000 (estimated)
Power/torque: 222bhp @ 14,300rpm/not disclosed
Top speed: 200mph (approx)
Fuel tank/range: 80 miles @ 15mpg (estimated)
Verdict: Built with the express aim of winning a TT, and won two in a week. Fast, stable, reliable and, with Michael Dunlop on board, unbeatable on the Isle of Man
Telegraph rating: Five stars out of five
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