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Suzuki hayabusa

A Christmas Wish

(from the Travels with Guido series, by Guy ‘Guido’ Allen, pic by Lou Martin)

December 2020


The cat’s in charge and Hannibal has been cut loose – welcome to Christmas

It will be six in the morning, December 25, well lit and the dogs and cat will be barely awake. Slip out of bed, pull on the riding shirt, jocks, jeans, and boots. The heelers will be snorting by now, so you drop a little food into their bowls to keep them quiet – and tell the cat he’s in charge.

You slip the turkey into the oven, and maybe have a celebratory snifter of caffeine.
Then sneak out to the shed. Ted the Triumph Daytona 1200 and Hannibal the Hayabusa will be slumbering under their covers. It’s a toss-up, but Hannibal needs a proper run. At this time of morning, over the riding territory we have in mind, he will open mindscapes that Ted can only dream of expanding.

So you shuffle the rest of the fleet out of the way, and roll Hannibal out into the light yellow sun. It’s a good decision, because the muscle-bound front profile of a purple and black Busa is like no other. It seems to bulk up as you pull on the helmet, jacket and gloves. Suiting up for war.

It’s a heavy thing to back out of the shed, and a little awkward. Who cares. This is time to let the first little shot of adrenaline settle, while you contemplate firing up the 200-plus horses from the heavily-modded engine.

You already have the ride in mind – some corners such as the vicious downhill off-camber right-hander (with a killer suspension-crashing and wrist-crushing dip) that opens into a full-noise up-hill on-camber sweeper that in turn opens into a short sweeper. Now we’re cooking.

The tarmac leads into a fourth-gear curve and then a shortish straight, where it’ll be howling above the 8000rpm ‘purple patch’ of the revcounter, scrambling to gather up that extra 40-plus horses – if you get it just right. 

Make it that far, and you can quietly cross the freeway, through that town, and head into the real open spaces. Treat the downhill sweeper with respect, warm it on the uphill (watch for the intersection on the left), then cruise past the airfield and then nail it for the real open spaces – where nobody goes and the titanium pipework turns from straw to blue. Your pulse starts to feel the way the tacho is looking.

This is one of those times when you have to be on your game – no excuses. It has nothing to do with bravery, but everything to do with making decisions and sticking with them. The clever bit is knowing your limitations and making damn sure you get home in one piece.

The governmint (and, no, that wasn’t a typo) will hate it, as will every safety nazi on the planet. Stuff them.

In fact I’ve done it numerous times, but this year it’s a Christmas treat to yours etc before the rest of the folk wake up and we start dis-assembling a turkey.

Assorted authorities will no doubt be pleased to hear that I will be stone cold sober, and appalled to learn that I will pull up for a cigar at mid-ride for a celebratory smoke. And probably a second at the end of the spin.

Then I will happily cruise home, give Hannibal a congratulatory pat, light up the third smoke for the day, and open the first champagne as I conduct the final roasting of the turkey.

For me, that really will be Christmas. Salutations for the festive season, folks.

More Travels with Guido stories here




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