Common Tread

400 kph on a Kawasaki H2R

Jul 05, 2016

If you build a motorcycle like the Kawasaki H2R, you know that thousands of people around the world, from buttoned-down engineers to backwoods hot-rodders, are going to ask that age-old question (each in his or her own particular vernacular): "Wonder what she'll do?"

Likewise, show a racer a wide-open expanse of new asphalt and he'll see a perfect place to answer that question.

That's the spirit that brought an H2R and multi-time World Supersport Champion Kenan Sofuoglu to the Osman Gazi Bridge last week. The recently completed bridge, more than a mile and a half in total length, crosses the Gulf of Izmit. It is the fourth-longest suspension bridge in the world and also boasts the highest toll in the world. In U.S. dollars, that crossing of less than two miles will cost you more than $30. But if you happen to be traveling from Istanbul to Bursa, it will save you three hours of travel time.

Sofuoglu had been planning the run for months, and a few preliminary tries showed numbers in the 390s on the digital speedometer, but not the magical 400 kph (248 mph) he was looking for. Figuring the calm, cool conditions of morning would provide the best chance, the team scheduled a sunrise run and hit their goal.

Later, the bridge opened to slower traffic. Sofuoglu is already the most successful roadracer ever from Turkey at the world championship level and the most successful World Supersport racer ever. I think it's safe to say he'll long be the fastest person ever to cross the Gulf of Izmit, too.