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Drag race master

WHO: ANTONY BLACKBEARD

OCCUPATION: MACHINES AND PLANT ENGINEER

BIKE: GEN 2 SUZUKI HAYABUSA 2011

Why did you go for this particular bike?

I have been riding since I was nine-years-old. Riding was a family affair back then and everyone I knew was riding a bike. So, I naturally found myself on a motocross bike as a young boy. Motorcycling is like a virus, once it gets into you it infects your mind and you don’t want to do anything else.

So, I really dove in and eventually went to Europe where I was drag racing motorcycles using a Honda CBR 900RR SE28 and there is simply nothing like it, save for the Hayabusa. When I finally came back to Kenya, I decided to get this Hayabusa in 2015 for drag racing.

What do you love about it?

As an engineer, your mind is constantly spinning with many thoughts and calculations and biking helps me relax and shut all that out. To ride, you have to have your mind 100 per cent focussed on riding, which is somewhat therapeutic for me, and the faster the better.

I love flying and riding, but riding this bike really does it for me. It is an absurdly fast bike with the engine sending some 200 horsepower to the rear wheel. It can do a 0-100kph dash in 2.4 seconds. That’s hyper-car territory on two wheels, so you really have to know what you’re doing.

Since I work on customising motorcycles, the plan is to give it a bump in performance by fitting a turbocharger before the next drag races. That will make it the only turbocharged Hayabusa in the country.

Any drawbacks to speak of?

The riding culture in Kenya is non-existent. Especially when it comes to matatu drivers, you have to look out for yourself and think ahead of what the driver is going to do and react accordingly.

You can easily get knocked down, as people generally don’t pay much attention to bikers. I have been pushed off the road a thousand times and I just have to accept it. So, you really have to behave or you’re going down.

With the bike specifically, I would say that it’s not made for twists and curves. It’s heavy and long, which makes leaning into a turn difficult. However when I get on the straights, it more than compensates for the time lost in slow corners.

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