Categories: Features
January 3, 2020
| On 7 months ago

BMW R NineT: Part Three – New Friends and The Great Salt Lake

Part one and two of BMW R NineT Racer were filmed on location at Buttonwillow Raceway in the scorching heat of a summertime Mojave Desert. Now for part three, Boxer Team America heads Northeast to SLC and the high elevation of Utah Motorsports Campus (formerly known as Miller Motorsports Park for those of us that have been around for a while) with two new team members to participate in another AHRMA National.

Ben Ahern, a regular in WERA heavyweight superbike races on his 2016 Aprilia RSV4, displaying the homemade belly pan he whipped together in the four days notice he had to convert his street going BMW R NineT to a race-legal machine. The featherweight carbon BST wheel set, Akrapovič full-ti system and Öhlins forks, shock, and steering damper didn’t hurt either.

BMW R nineT Racer: Part One
BMW R nineT Racer: Part Two

The Irishman: back to competition from a 19-year road racing hiatus, BMW S1000RR owner/track day rider Kevin Madigan used his shiny brand new 2019 BMW R Nine T Pure to get his feet wet again in the joys of road racing against your buddies.

For those of you that missed part one and part two, the videos chronicled developing a pair of BMW R NineT’s from classically styled cafe racers designed for a moderate diversion through the canyons, to bonafide club racing weapons. The R NineT’s natural home was the Battle of the Twins 1 class (BOT 1) against other air cooled twins over 900 cc, but for a real test of machine and rider, we also entered them in AHRMA’s Sound of Thunder 2 class (SOT 2) which pit the pretty Racers against significantly lighter, purpose built 125cc and 250cc 2 strokes, KTM 690cc single cylinder Kramers, more powerful liquid-cooled Triumph Daytona 675 triples, and a smattering of sub 900cc liquid-cooled twins.

Fast Company: San Diego BMW owner Gary Orr does his best to latch onto the back of MO’s Troy “Trizzle” Siahaan on the 275-lb KTM 690-powered Kramer HKR-EVO2 R. Though the R NineT made about 35 hp more than the Kramer, the 200-lb difference in wet weight made the bikes pretty equal in acceleration.

Three ways to club race. Author Sean Matic (914) uses a modified 1200cc air-cooled Twin street bike stripped of DOT lights and emissions heft to try and keep up with two purpose built race bikes ridden by two talented pilots. The lightweight Honda NSR 250cc 2-stroke under Ralph Staropoli (80) was the Grand Prix corner speed weapon of choice in the 90’s and early 2000’s until global warming and tightening emissions made 2strokes obsolete. Enter MO’s Trizzle on the purpose built 4-stroke Kramer HKR filling the hole left by Japanese and European manufacturers for a purpose-built lightweight race bike.

Tune into the video to find out what new team members, Ben Ahern and Kevin Madigan, thought about racing a bike not designed with racing in mind, how the R NineT handled the twisty, flowing UMC East Course, and what club racing with AHRMA at one of America’s premier road courses was like.

Boxer Team America would like to thank our sponsors Metzeler Tires, Arrow Exhaust, Taxxion Dynamics, TFX Suspension, Ilmberger Carbon, Rapid Bike Tuning, Arai Helmets, and Kushitani Leathers for helping to make this project possible, getting the R NineT’s ready for the racetrack, and keeping us protected. Special thanks to: Gary Orr and San Diego BMW for immeasurable help with logistics, service, and transport, Oshmo Motors for providing engine map tuning and the R NineT for Sean to race, and of course Mike Ngo for coming up with this whole crazy idea. A very big thank you to Brad Schwab aka BJ and the whole Etech Photo team for staying out there ’til they get the shot and the awesome action photography at the AHRMA races.

Exiting Tooele Turn a bit wary of dragging that Boxer head on the curbing but looking forward to the final AHMRA round of 2019 at the Barber Vintage Festival.

Ben Ahern learning to lean with the body rather than the bike to keep those thumping Boxer heads off the ground.

“Like a fun jigsaw puzzle,” was how Ben described learning to ride a Boxer fast around a race track.

With only 100 or so horsepower at the wheel and a fairly twisty track, the lack of wind screen on Ben’s R NineT wasn’t much of an aero handicap.

Those featherweight carbon BST wheels helped the stable but somewhat sluggish R NineT snap into turns.

Kevin (033) was the meat in a vintage bike sandwich while clearing out the cobwebs and getting back up to speed in AHRMA’s New Racer School.

Gary Orr (034) admirably trying to fight off a pair of Kramer HKR’s piloted by Andrew Pignataro (41) and Matt O’Rourke (2c) in Ecstasy corner during the Sound of Thunder 2 race.

The Kramers’ light weight and limitless ground clearance made them tough challengers for the pretty R NineT’s on the brakes and in tighter corners (especially off camber), but the heavier 1200cc thumping Boxer twin generally had them covered on the straights and fast sweepers.

Finding his form. Eight years ago a serious injury sidelined sustained during wet practice for an AMA SBK round sidelined Gary Orr from racing. With each round of testing and racing Gary’s pace improved by leaps and bounds. With eight years of club racing you don’t forget how to go fast in circles, you just ease back into it.

Bend it in like a boss: Gary swapped out the stylish but heavy spoked tube wheels that came stock on the R NineT Racer for forged mag wheels off a BMW S1000RR and BMW RT1200. The author hopes to prove at the Barber Vintage Festival that this was the reason for his finishing behind Gary all weekend.

Old tech versus new: the current model air-cooled BMW R NineT, designed as a cafe racer was on par with Ducati’s flagship liquid-cooled superbike from 20 years ago, the much adored 996 ridden by Kurt Klein.

There’s no replacement for displacement: Sean holding off fast guy Joshua Bronfman on his Yamaha 450 supermoto. With a large roster of race classes to get through in a day, AHRMA runs multiple classes on the track at the same time (grid size permitting). Earlier in the day Josh used his Rickdiculous Racing-honed talent and incredibly fast Ducati 1199R Panigale to beat Troy on the prototype Lightfighter LFR19.

Goliath versus David: 1200cc 4-stroke versus 125cc 2-stroke.

It’s not how big it is, it’s how you use it. Your motor that is. Veteran road racer, motorcycle training class instructor, and rocket starter Ricky Orlando shows Sean what a good rider on a 650cc twin can do.

2-strokes on Sean’s tail through the Attitudes.

Get off that bike! Sean doing his best to lean his body rather than the bike into the corner – the fast way to ride a Boxer. For the uninitiated please see Nate Kern.

You lookin at me? With plenty of experience doing track days on modern superbikes and middleweights but little experience in road racing big bikes the author found the classic styled BMW R NineT (once set up properly) and AHRMA a great way to fall hard for road racing – metaphorically speaking of course.