Picture Intermission – Iconic Motorbikes Track Day

In Intermissions by AbhiLeave a Comment

A few weeks ago, Iconic Motorbikes hosted our annual 2-day track event at Laguna Seca. My favorite part of is the people, but a close second is the motorcycle exotica that shows up. Here’s some personal highlights for those of you that couldn’t make it.

As if two days at Laguna Seca with a small group of friends wasn’t amazing enough, I had the pleasure of riding up on my Bimota Tesi 3D as with the intent of taking it out for a few sessions on track, because why not? I got to enjoy some of my favorite roads (33, 58, and PCH) for the first time on this bike, and it was spectacular.
A choice sweeper on Route 58

The only problem was the limited range of about 100 miles, which meant I was constantly at gas stations – including a brief visit to Gorda, where gas is still at $9.99 for a gallon of premium. A much more enjoyable stop was for lunch at Moonstone Beach Bar and Grill in Cambria while handling four bikes that sold on the auction site earlier that day. The oysters were alright, but the clam chowder was some of the best I’ve ever had.

My wonderful day of twisties ended at a large home that we booked through AirBnB for our clients to enjoy, and I got to park the bike right at the front door.

Once a few of us had settled in, we enjoyed a glass of Aberlour 12 to start the evening.

The next morning, we headed out to the track and were greeted by this sign.

I spent most of my time on my Ninja 400 track bike, which I acquired almost exactly as you see it here. The only change I’ve made was per a recommendation from Nic de Sena at Ultimate Motorcycling, who races a Ninja 400 himself: I swapped out the existing 12″ Woodcraft clip-ons for 13.5″ units to give me a little bit more room.

It’s the first track bike that I’ve owned – I have some track experience but historically it was at press launches so I was always on different machines and much of the sessions were spent intentionally mixing up settings to see how the bikes would respond. This time I got to learn the details of my machine and dial it in to my preferences. Once that happened and the bike had a constant setup, I also ended up discovering the ins and outs of tire wear as well. It’s been a learning experience but I’m starting to look at what the next track bike will be.

Should I stick with a small bike or go with something a bit bigger and wheelie-friendly?

My buddy Max Hazan has a wonderfully-prepped Honda RC51 that he’s letting go of – I’ve dug this bike since I saw it at the Alpinestars Friends and Family track day:

With that said, there’s a different Honda that’s stealing my heart right now. Over at Iconic, we’ve partnered up with a client to order a container full of NSR250 and Honda NSR100 race bikes – the NSR250 makes a little bit more power than my Ninja 400 (47 vs. 43 hp) but it weighs nearly HALF as much (202 vs 370 pounds)! If I can fit OK on the 250, I’m seriously considering making that my next regular track bike and even possibly also getting the 100 for mini bike track days. We just sold an older NSF250 over on Iconic Motorbike Auctions but I never bothered to sit on it to see if I would fit OK.

Enough about me, though. I want to show you some of the cool bikes that showed up at our 2-day track event!

KTM just announced the 2023 run of the track-only RC 8C, but for the 2022 model they built just 100 to sell worldwide – and three were at our event.

One of the RC 8Cs is owned by a wonderful client named Tom who had a matching set of leathers for both his KTM as well as his Honda CBR1000RR Repsol. Fancy!

Photo by Nathan May

Speaking of matching suits, Kaming is well known for matching his suits to his track bikes, and he kept the tradition going with a Mithos-themed Ducati Panigale V4. I guess in this case, he matched his bike to the suit rather than the other way around?

Ken brought an incredible pair of bikes to enjoy at Laguna: a Honda RC45 and a Suzuki RG500!

Brad spun a few sessions on this great VFR400:

Heath Cofran is the Communications & Branding Director at Alpinestars, and he was kind enough to show up from a corporate standpoint to provide leathers for riders who weren’t equipped or just wanted to try the latest and greatest that Alpinestars has to offer. He also brought his Yamaha R3 with a GG Retrofitz body kit and a very cool custom paint job inspired by the legendary Marlboro Yamaha GP bikes. The logo says “MahaloBrah” as a reference to Heath’s part-Hawaiian heritage. Even better, Heath unveiled this bike at an event where Wayne Rainey and Kenny Roberts were in attendance and they both signed the bike!

Heath approached me a few weeks before our event and asked me if he could bring a VIP. “Sure, who did you have in mind?” “Ewan McGregor.” As a huge fan of the Long Way Round, that was an easy question to respond to. Ewan was incredibly nice – he made time to talk to all of the guests and rode the only Moto Guzzi V7 I’ve seen on a track – here’s Ewan and Heath in what looks to be Turn 2. Ewan’s got quite a colorful custom suit!

Toni Elias came out to offer coaching for a few riders – I was surprised to see him on a MV Agusta Superveloce, but not surprised to see him go absurdly fast on it.

This might be my favorite photo of the day. Ron (on the right) has been a cruiser guy for decades, but he’s recently been spending more time on sport bikes. He’s joined us for a couple of track days and after some training with Toni he picked up enough speed to get his knees down on both sides. His joy was contagious!

A new client with excellent taste brought a lovely Aprilia RS125.

Olly Hutchinson is one of our mechanics – he used to race 125cc road race bikes from 1993-1995, progressing from club racing to British Championships. He then started working in racing the following year, which led to 5 years in the 250cc and 500cc Grand Prix World Championships. He came to work in the United States in 2002, where he started a 15 year stint at Graves Yamaha – the last 10 years he was the engine builder and crew chief, winning championships with Ben Bostrom, Cam Beaubier and Garrett Gerloff. He then spent 2018 and 2019 at Yoshimura as a SBK engine builder, and he’s been stuck with us ever since. I end up learning something just about every time I speak with Olly, and when it comes to track time he can usually be found on a 2-stroke, frequently his Yamaha TZ250 or Honda RS125.

Photo by Nathan May

My partner Adam looked awesome on a Castrol-liveried Honda RC45. Unfortunately, he ended up having a nasty highside halfway through the second day which resulted in a few broken bones, but he’s recovering quickly!

Photo by Nathan May

The coolest sight of the day in my mind was our client Doug, because brought out the Suter MMX500 two-stroke that he bought on our auction site and he was ripping wheelies down the front straight!⁠

This is only a 5-second video, but it gives you an idea of what this thing sounds like:

Hope to see you at the next one! Maybe by then I’ll have a NSR250 and a custom Alpinestars suit that says “Brown Sugar” on the back…