One of the most frequent questions I get asked is: "why on earth would anyone spend so much time, effort, money and frustration developing such an outdated motorcycle"? The answer is simple and complex at the same time.
For decades, Honda has been the leader in "V" configuration motorcycle design. They dominated the Superbike racing scene with Bubba Shobert, Fred Merkel and Freddie Spencer (to name a few) with the original VF750F and then the VFR750F Interceptor. Once again, they made their mark with the RC-30 (VFR750R)followed closely by the RC-45 (RVF750R). In fact, Honda was the only manufacturer that I know of in motorcycle racing that ran a "V-4" configuration in Superbike racing. They were the "Masters of the V-4".
In 1987, Honda released the CBR600F-1 Hurricane. This was my first Honda street bike, and I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed that bike. Also, with that bike, I went on to learn the ropes of engine building and the racing industry in general. Because of that bike, I have developed a loyalty to the Honda brand for my choice in race bikes, and have more trophies than I know what to do with because of the solid foundation of a bike that Honda makes.
In 1989, Honda released the VFR400RR (NC-30). This motorcycle made nearly the same horsepower as the CBR600F-1 with 1/3 the displacement. The bike was obviously ahead of its time in technology and layout. A pure-bread race bike through and through. It was, without a doubt, designed to dominate the race track in the Formula-III and other 400cc-based classes.
Jump forward to 2002 when Motorcycle Grand Prix racing was previously dominated by two-stroke 500cc machines, but Honda came out with the RC-211V (a V-5 engine configuration) and basically destroyed everybody. Everybody thought Honda had revolutionized the four-stroke engine design. But, if you take a look at the basic design layout of the RC-211V, it's their trusty V-4 platform that they have been using for years, with a fifth cylinder added in the middle. It was an evolution and constant refinement of what they have known and built on for years.
The more I develop the NC30, the closer I feel to the current MotoGP bikes. Even more interesting, the rest of the manufacturers seem to be following Honda's lead as well. Even the ever-dominating Ducati Desmosedici started out life based off the RVF750R (RC-45). Obviously, much has changed since 2002 and there are some truly revolutionary changes being made to the current motorcycles. But, for the most part, the changes are evolutionary refinements of the trusty V-4 platform that we know and love as the "VFR".
With my primary career goal being focused on engine design and development, this project is my active education of sorts. Consider the expenses my college tuition. Consider each race as a test. Consider each season as a semester of classes, with our placement in the championship my final grade. Think of the club level racing as undergraduate school, and if we ever take this to professional racing level, that would be graduate school.
Now, at what point do I stop? I am not sure I know the answer to that question. Nor do I feel the need to discover it anytime soon. For now, despite all of the aggravation, lost finances, health and even sanity, the journey has been well worth it. What we have learned down this path has been priceless. The knowledge we bring from this adventure can be applied to nearly any task we choose to take on in the future -- racing-related or not.
So, for those who ask "why"?...my response is simply: "why not"?