The evaluation day at the Southern Circuit of Sydney Motorsport Park was organised by Motorcycling Australia to evaluate a new range of bikes at a MotoDNA training and ride day that had the track booked for the day.
A couple of the current crop of GP Juniors, Jack Cousins and Ben Baker, attended plus a recent graduate and current 300cc Production class front-runner, Reid Battye, took advantage of the day to test and evaluate the prospective candidates of competition that may be suitable for the next few years in the GP Juniors Australian Road Racing Championships.
In all there was 13 youngsters there riding and learning. After each session, instructors and successful racers, Peter Goddard and Mark Willis took them into a classroom to go through their track riding skills and offer advice and coaching.
At the moment the classes of GP Juniors are split between two age groups; The “Nippers” class for the 9-12 year olds while the “Seniors” class is for 12-16 year olds.
The final decision on the bikes to be used is yet to be decided but the bikes that were tested gives a good indication that there will be some good learning tools for the youngsters to develop their craft.
The bikes that were put through their paces and flogged all day by the kids , and others, were the Yamaha R15 while making its debut in Australia was the Suzuki Gixxer 150. The Gixxers are built in India and there is a well-established race series over there and other parts of Asia for the little bikes. Four of the “Gixxers” arrived in the country last week for the sole purpose of evolution for the future. Jack Cousins – who made the trek from Melbourne with his dad, David, just to ride the new bikes – had the bragging rights of being the first to ride on in Australia. On his return to the pits after his first stint he was very impressed with the performance of the bike considering there were straight out of the crate as they were raced in India.
For the younger brigade the a variety of 12” wheel machines were ridden all day as well. They were the Honda Grom, the Kawasaki Z125, the Kayo 150cc and the Honda NSF100cc machines.
Here are Reid Battye’s impressions of the 150cc machines:
The Yamaha had a good feeling around the sharp corners and the brakes were really responsive, in the change of direction the Yammie was a bit slow and felt a bit soft in the front. The acceleration was really good on the Yamaha but the top end was letting it down just a little. All in all it felt like a really good bike to ride.
The Suzuki 150 was a great bike to ride straight out of the box. The bike felt like it was on rails the whole time even without the good tyres. The Suzi’s stopping ability was not the best but with a bit better brake pads it would be 10x better. The bikes power was good once it was in its range but the limiter seemed very low and the initial acceleration was a bit dull. In the end I was starting to prefer this bike over the yammie and with a bit more development i think it will be at the top. These two bikes were both a pleasure to ride and the value for money on one of these two bikes would definitely be the Suzuki as it is just as good as the rest of them.