Dusting cobwebs off my race boots to have a go at one of India’s most potent one-make race bikes
When TVS Racing announced its partnership with Petronas lubricants, they invited us for a track session with the Apache RR 310 One Make race bikes at MMRT in Chennai. Based on TVS’ flagship Apache RR 310, the one-make race series is its most focused race bike after the Asia Cup one and among the quickest one-make race bikes in the country.
I am heading to the racetrack after a long hiatus. A potent racebike on one of the quickest racetracks in the country is probably not the best way to dust the cobwebs off your racing leathers but then bad decisions beget good stories no?
As we walk down the MMRT pitlane, I can see an array of RR 310 racebikes looking stunning in the new TVS Racing and Petronas inspired livery. While the previous TVS Racing Blue livery looked purposeful, the new white, blue and green livery looks eye-catching. It might look like your road-going Apache RR 310 from afar but up close you notice the race bodywork. The second thing you notice is the absence of an instrument console and a gaping hole in its place. That’s one less distraction to worry about and in the heat of the race, I highly doubt I would want to be checking my speed anyway. Even the switchgear consists of just a starter button on the right and an engine cutoff switch on the left. Cool touches come in the form of brake and clutch lever guards and knurled footpegs. Save for the trellis frame and swingarm, TVS has upgraded everything on this racebike.
Swinging a leg over the familiar seat, I have to hunch forward quite a bit to reach the clip-ons. It gets lowered race clip-on handlebars for a more focused riding position and raised and rearset footpegs for better cornering clearance. With the race leather suit on, the first lap around the racetrack feels like an unwarranted yoga session but soon I get used to it. Also, the smooth fuel tank surface makes gripping it with my knees difficult and during hard braking, I inadvertently slide forward. Tank grips would be quite helpful here.
An aspect that needs getting used to is the freeflow exhaust that is quite loud even at idle and boy am I glad to have brought earplugs along. Even the 310cc engine has been fettled with and now delivers 25 percent more power than the stock motorcycle’s 34PS output. The motor has been tuned to deliver most of its power higher up in the rev range, like most race bikes. It takes some time to get used to the heady power delivery that feels more like a punch in the gut compounded by the quick throttle that enhances even the slightest twitch of the wrist. You have to be measured and precise with your throttle inputs in corners. It takes no prisoners.
Another highlight is the race bike’s sharp reflexes which has me taking corners earlier than anticipated. The frame sits lower in the front and the race bike features a sharper rake and shorter wheelbase. Even the aluminium forged alloy wheels on the race bike are lighter meaning less inertia while turning in. This makes the front end quite sharp and reactive and extremely flickable as well. The first session has me trying to keep up with the motorcycle and get my corner lines right. In fact, the steering is so quick that I am entering corners earlier than expected and end up correcting my lines. By the end of the first session, I am exhausted due to the heat and my lack of fitness. This is a physically taxing motorcycle to ride.
By the second session, I figure out my lines and focus on being fast. Pushing more and carrying more speeds into corners making me realise that I am nowhere close to reaching the limits of its grip. The TVS tyres developed specifically for the race bike have now properly warmed up and offer leach like grip. I am quite impressed with the brakes. While brake callipers are stock, it gets race pads which offer phenomenal retardation. Also, no ABS means I can brake late into corners without the worry of ABS intervention. By the end of the second session, I can feel myself being quicker and smoother in corners.
The TVS Apache RR 310 One Make race bike requires a certain degree of expertise to race. To race it at its limit, the bar passes on to racers and track-bred individuals. Being one of the most potent one-make race machines, the one make machine is a fantastic tool for budding racers to hone their skills and level up to the field of competitive supersport racebikes.