Jeremy McWilliams of Northern Ireland is a former MotoGP rider who also won races in the now defunct 250 cc class and that has come back in the limelight this year for winning - at the tender age of 49 - the mighty North West 200 in the Super Twins class. Nowadays McWilliams is also a tester for KTM, and for this reason he was chosen to ride the well-known prototype of the 1290 KTM Super Duke R - nicknamed ‘The Beast‘ and introduced at the 2012 EICMA exhibition in Milan last fall - to participate in the ‘uphill race’ of the 20th Goodwood Festival of Speed.
The final production version of the model is expected to debut at the next EICMA, but a rather revealing set of spy photos as well as a series of images the ‘Patriot Edition’ version have somehow anticipated what we’ll see next in Milan in a few months. Good old McWilliams has seen fit to share his impressions of the prototype which he recently rode in Sussex, and here’s what he had to say:
You had a short test at Gloucestershire Airport Thursday on the 1290 Super Duke R prototype and Friday was your first time up the Goodwood hill on it, so what are your impressions of ‘The Beast’?
“That it’s well named! It’s everything I expected it to be; accelerates, erm – I can’t swear, so I’ll say ‘really well’! It certainly keeps you focused on a track like this. When you push on, it wheelies in third and fourth gear very easily. It feels very spectacular to ride, I’m not sure what it looks like from trackside but people are coming up to the KTM garage and saying it looks quick. I’m not using full throttle on this circuit – nowhere close! I think at certain circuits this bike could lap quicker than some sports bikes. That’s something you can’t usually say about a naked bike!”
What’s the circuit like?
“It’s like nothing like you ever ride on a normal day – it’s a hill climb. There are also so many things going on; like what’s on the track in terms of dust, oil and other machines slowing down! I got two red flags in the first outing on Friday. Maybe there was something on the track or they were trying to slow me down! I can’t imagine why, but I was pushing to see what bike is capable of.”
What’s your favourite feature of the Prototype?
“Wheelie control! That’s the fun thing about this; I can put it vertical and still be in total control without needing to touch rear brake!”
So what is your aim for the rest of the Goodwood Festival of Speed Weekend with the bike?
To get a clear run on a clean track! And to soak up the atmosphere of the festival.
What other machines do you want to see here?
“I’ve also got a chance to ride KR3 two-stroke triple Grand Prix 500 two-stroke that I put on pole position at Philip island, so I’m excited about that. It’s too good an opportunity, too good to be missed; just to sit on it will bring the memories back.”