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Monday, April 19, 2010

Do remember that speed kills...

The Star: Monday April 19, 2010,

Do remember that speed kills

IT WAS just a month ago that I spoke to my friend Rizal. He was very excited about his new ride, a Yamaha R1 that has a massive 180 horse-power. It is also a new model.
I was a little jealous of him getting to ride this beauty. Nevertheless, I was happy for him as a fellow superbiker.

Ever wondered what riding a 180 horsies bike, weighing a little more than 180kg, feels like?
Let’s compare the R1 to a Formula 1 car. Ferrari’s F1 car is rated at 800 horsepower, and weighs around 800kg. The power to weight ratio of a Formula 1 car is a massive 1,000 horse-power per tonne.

Thus, both the Yamaha R1 and the Ferrari Formula 1 car have a similar power to weight ratio. Which means what a Formula 1 car driver feels upon acceleration, an R1 rider similarly feels it too. We are talking about G force here.

But the similarities end here. A Formula 1 car cannot be bought from showrooms, but a superbike can. A Formula 1 car can only be driven by a driver possessing a super licence sanctioned by the FIA, the world governing body.

As for a superbiker, all he needs is a full “B” licence. To get it, all the rider needs to do is to prove to JPJ (Road Transport Department) that he is capable of braking effectively, making a figure eight and showing some hand signs when turning.

It is a far cry comparing a Formula 1 driver and a superbike rider in terms of qualifications. But they both handle similarly powered vehicles.

I am not feeling sour here or questioning my friend’s capabilities in handling his bike.
But the fact is this: 1,000 horsepower per tonne bike of his cost him his life, and his wife’s, too.
His wife was riding pillion when they crashed on the North-South Expressway somewhere around Air Keroh in Malacca. They died on the spot.

I was devastated when I heard about this as both husband and wife were great people and good friends.

Imagine the devastation caused to their families and to their daughter who is only three years old.

For those considering getting a superbike or who already own one, please remember that sometimes we may forget that riding a superbike is close to driving a Formula 1 car.
These vehicles demand our absolute respect.

The slightest mistake may cost you your life.

So besides making sure your bike is shiny and ready for that next outing, remember that speed kills.  It will take us superbikers less than four seconds to break the speed limit of 110kph. Absolute respect for your bike is a priority.

While exhilarating in the sound and shine of the bike, like a knight in shining armour heading against the wind and defying the laws of physics, please remember “it is better to be late than never.”


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