11 November 2020 – Just a month ago, in mid of October, for its début on the road, Aprilia RS 660 chosen one of the most iconic ribbons of asphalt and tracks in the world. On the Big Sur coastline in California, one of the most awaited motorcycles of recent years was dynamically presented to the American market.
Astride the RS 660 was Rennie Scaysbrook, the rider of Australian origins who, astride the Aprilia Tuono V4, in 2019 won at Pikes Peak, the most famous and prestigious hill climb race in the world, where he also holds the record. And he is also protagonist of the adrenaline-pumping launch video. Enjoy it here.
The dynamic features, the tight frame and the exciting performance of the new 100 HP twin-cylinder thrilled Rennie who, since he happened to be in Monterey for the American presentation, couldn’t resist the temptation to test the RS 660 at Laguna Seca too, on the most famous track in California.
And so, the Corkscrew - the fast double turn on a hair-raising downhill that characterizes Laguna Seca - put the new Aprilia through its paces, a bike which, designed for everyday fun on the road and for weekend sport and leisure riding, is providing unexpected thrills at every track test, thanks to its qualities of light weight and agility.
But we who are curious, and we asked ourselves: besides the notoriety of the well-known character in the motorcycle world, who is Rennie? And what did he feel while driving the new Aprilia twin? And what emotions did he feel while shooting the video? So, thanks to the collaboration of Piaggio Group Americas, Wide contacted Rennie for an interview. He (it was last November 4), was traveling to Arizona to race the AMA Supermoto event, promising to answer questions on the return leg. Promise kept. Here the exclusive interview with Rennie Scaysbrook (38 years, from Sydney-Australia, lives in California-USA), who gives to the Wide magazine readers a sincere and passionate portrait of a real motorcyclist.
Rennie, your biography in short, on your facebook page, reads: ‘Australian in America. Road Test Editor for Cycle News. Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Champion. 2020 Isle of Man TT debutant’. But who is Rennie Scaysbrook really?
“I’m a father, husband and die-hard motorcycle lover. Bikes have been my life for as long as I can remember, and I’m very lucky to do this job as a motorcycle journalist which gives me the odd chance to do cool things like Pikes Peak. I live in California after moving here from Australia in 2015 and love it.”
How were your beginnings in the world of motorcycling, as a rider or as a specialized journalist in the sector?
“I got my first bike at age 5, but started riding at 3. My family has always been involved with bikes—mum, dad (who was a three-time Isle of Man TT racer), uncles and grandfather, so I was born into it. I was initially a mechanic, and hated it. But I loved to write, loved to ride and race, so I finally did my journalism degree in 2007 and became a motorcycle journalist full time in 2008.”
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You became famous all over the world for the feat at Pikes Peak 2019 riding an Aprilia Tuono V4 1100: how did the idea of participating with the Italian bike come about?
“I had competed at Pikes Peak for three years prior to 2019, when I rode for KTM. I finished fourth in 2016, and second in 2017 and 2018. I really, really wanted to win, and when KTM said they would not be putting me on for 2019, I spoke with Aprilia and it all went from there. The Aprilia Tuono was always the bike I wanted to ride at Pikes for 2019, there was no other bike I wanted. It’s such an amazing motorcycle. Aprilia USA got behind the project and it was eight months of testing and development, with my team and crew chief, Jeremy Toye, to get it ready.”
How much did you know before about Aprilia bikes and which ones have you already tried?
“I have a pretty good knowledge of motorcycle history in general, so I was always very familiar to Aprilia. I remember as a child watching Max Biaggi on the Chesterfield Aprilia in 250GP’s, Troy Corner on the RSV1000, Colin Edwards on the RS Cube, and Biaggi, Guintoli and Melandri on the RSV4. I was also lucky enough to test Alex Debon’s factory Aprilia RSW250 at Phillip Island in 2009—what a bike! One of the best of my life.
“One of my most favorite bikes I owned was an RS 250. I am still annoyed at myself that I sold it, but it happened right when I moved to America.
“As for production bikes, I think I have ridden every Aprilia of the last 15 years through my job as a journalist. I would love to try out a proper race-prepped RSV4 1100 like the one Lorenzo Savadori raced in the CIV. That would be amazing.”
What was it like to become an “actor” and testimonial for the new Aprilia RS 660? Where did you shoot the video?
“I had such fun on the shoot. Being a journalist, I am familiar with the production requirements for manufacturers, but it was great to be the center of the filming. The crew was amazing with some incredibly expensive equipment, and we had police blocking off lots of different areas of San Francisco so we could do the filming. I was even doing wheelies, stoppies and burnouts right in front of the police and they were cheering me on! Normally that behavior would have me in handcuffs…”
Can you give us some "secrets" from backstage? The most complicated aspect, the funniest thing about this experience?
“The funniest thing was the wheelies and stunting in front of the police, for sure. But the most complicated part was trying to time the filming when the production crew was one block away, and I was riding in another block. We had to time it right so that I would appear in the street as they did before the buildings appeared again (it’s in the long form video Aprilia will be releasing). That took a few goes, but the result looks great. The crew was really pumped to get it right. Having a city as famous as San Francisco all to myself was an incredible experience.”
What are the emotions of driving the new RS 660?
“It’s strange to say, but absolutely everyone—from Aleix Espargaro’ to the common rider—can ride the RS 660 and find something they will like about it. It’s a special bike in that regard, it makes the rider feel in control and gives them a big smile each time.”
What impressed you the most about the bike?
“It’s a sweet little bike. I love how light and nimble it is, and the power is just right for the road. I think sportsbikes need this kind of machine, because going around bends fast is much more fun than just winding on the throttle. Any bike can do that, but not all of them get around corners well. The RS 660 reminds me of my old RS 250, although not quite as track focused.”
Who would you recommend the RS 660 to?
“Anyone who wants a sporty bike that isn’t after a true supersport/superbike. Those bikes are very narrow in their focus, and the Aprilia will suit a much wider range of people.”
And now, what's your next challenge with Aprilia?
“At this stage, who knows? I’d like to take the RS 660 and do some MotoAmerica Twins racing, but right now my focus is on the 2021 Isle of Man TT. Perhaps an RS 660 at the TT would be perfect! The one bike I’m really looking forward to is the Tuareg 660. I saw that at EICMA last year, and I already want one.”
Your final comment: what else you want to let to know to our readers…
“The RS 660 is a wonderful bike, and I am very glad a racing company like Aprilia has come out with it. I think in the next few years, you may see lots of manufacturers trying to copy what Aprilia has done.”
Thank you, Rennie, may the road be with you!
Rennie Scaysbrook: www.instagram.com/renski33