Story: Mat Durrans

Pics: Meghan McCabe

Nissan GTR
The Nissan GTR, a car widely praised as one of the fastest accelerating.

I’ve got my Poker face on, Brenwin is strutting around like a man who knows his moment of glory is about to arrive. I’m trying to portray how little I’m impressed by his Japanese hatchback, but having just witnessed a practice launch, the suntanned Datsun has got me just a little worried.

The GT-R surges off the line amid a cacophony of screeching tyres, whistling turbos and a solid background roar from its raucous V6. No doubt about it, this is a car that looks as fast as a bike.

I quieten my nerves with a bit of cold, hard logic. No way I’m going to lose because a bike is essentially an engine with some wheels and a seat, and that means weight is always on my side. Brenwin may have more than 500hp at his disposal, but it comes in a package that tips the scales at the two-tonnes mark.

I’m using Suzuki’s Hayabusa for this head-to-head, it may be a tad porky and bereft of any clever electronics, but it has a stable chassis and a huge 1340cc in-line four-cylinder motor that generates torque like a runaway steam turbine.

As the flag drops I feed in the clutch at about 5 000rpm and the Hayabusa digs in, slams me into the seat hump and immediately jumps into a lead. There’s plenty of room for me to get tucked in and concentrate on perfecting the two gear changes I need to pass the 400 metre line maxed-out in third gear.

Hayabusa vs GTR
Any car nut that thinks the GTR stands a chance against a superbike, see the above photo.

It’s a clear, if not actually humiliating, thrashing of the car. Smugness begins to flood through my every pore, I attempt a fleeting impersonation of a gracious victor before reverting to character and gloating like a child with the last sweet in the packet.

Brenwin comes out with an impressive list of excuses, one of which blames me for bringing the wrong bike. The GT-R can handle corners even better than the straight bits, yet my Hayabusa can’t. No worries, I have a particularly exclusive Ace up my leather sleeve: the 2017 Suzuki GSX-R 1000.

Much cajoling, bribing and calling-in of two decades’ worth of favors wangles me the first South African ride of Suzuki’s new flagship sport bike. I get one practice run and then it’s straight into the race. I glance over at Brenwin and he’s still smiling, but I know that in just over ten seconds that smirk will be replaced by a frown that will stay with him for days.

The GSX-R is a small, lightweight sport bike designed for fast laps and it’s powered by a 200hp, 999cc four-cylinder engine with variable valve timing. It’s a heavily MotoGP inspired machine and by all rights it should be an awkward, wheelying, lurching pig of a thing to get off the line.

GSXR1000 vs GTR
The GSXR vs the GTR. If anything, the track bike won by even more than the Hayabusa.

But it isn’t. Some magical engineering that has increased stability without compromising agility means I get a good start and the GSX-R proceeds to disappear even further into the distance than the Hayabusa.

Oh dear; I abandon any pretense of gentlemanly conduct and go straight to the gratuitous abuse. If Brenwin wants a car to take it to the bikes, I suspect he’ll have to use his imagination. As he shuffled off into the distance, I did hear him muttering something about a limousine. Sounds like he’s on the right track…


If you would like to see The Bike Show’s TV coverage of the event, click here. 

Story courtesy of the Sunday Times newspaper