Not many motorcycle models can boast the record of the Honda CBR Fireblade. Thirty years have passed since 1992, the year in which the bike that alone changed the rules of the game among sports bikes was presented to the public for the first time. At the time, in the role of queens of the road there were the 750s, which raced in SBK against the Ducati twins. But Honda wanted to do something different, something new. And the first CBR 900 represented exactly this, a great innovation on the bike scene, a model that came close to the full displacement of one litre, with a weight and agility typical of the 750s that raced in SBK.
Tadao Baba was the enlightened mind behind that idea, which over the years has been constantly developed keeping in mind the real mission of the bike, which is to give the rider total control. In that bike, there was not the desperate search for horsepower at any cost, but rather the idea of producing a sports bike that was fun on the road and effective on the track, able to put anyone at ease in the saddle despite top-level performance, which could have been intimidating.
HONDA CBR FIREBLADE: TOTAL CONTROL
30 years later, Donington was the perfect theatre to once again celebrate that idea and above all the legacy accumulated by fans from all over the world. Honda did things in a big way and all Fireblade owners from 1992 to today were invited, with the latest addition to the family, the splendid CBR 1000 RR-R 30th Anniversary. A fairly long name, but absolutely justified by the need to best represent a magnificent story.
Walking around between those bikes lined up next to each other was a wonderful experience. Some perfectly preserved, others weighed down by the years and by the many kilometres travelled on the road and on the track. Some customized so as to look like race replicas of the motorbikes of the various champions in Honda history, from SBK to MotoGP, passing through some enthusiasts in love with the TT or BSB. Lots of 1992 CBRs, as beautiful as they were then. Lots of the latest Fireblades, including a stunning replica of Nicky Hayden's SBK. An emotion within an emotion.
But one thing accompanied the face of each of the lucky ones present, that is the feeling of being part of a great story, a smile that designs the pure passion for the Fireblade world more than anything else. Honda invited some illustrious guests for this great celebration, but the most illustrious of all was undoubtedly John McGuinness. The TT legend will race the TT this year on a CBR Anniversary and he led the parade along the track that saw this authentic Fireblade orgy pass through Donington Park on the weekend of the BSB round.
The crowd in the stands, always incredible for BSB, welcomed the motorcycles parading with a long applause, the excitement of those who were in the saddle and could ride their CBR alongside McGuinness plain to see. The writer of this article decided to bring along a replica helmet of Joey Dunlop's for the event and looking at the photos, with McGuinness riding the CBR and a rather tall journalist beside him with that legendary yellow helmet, a lump in my throat was inevitable.
A festival for the public, a festival for those who loved the Fireblade in all its versions and continue to do so. Baba San will no doubt have been more than proud to see the images of this magnificent day, Honda did justice to his idea. Total control, but without forgetting the passion. And at Donington there was a lot of passion.