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The Hayabusa Ver 1.0!

Peregrine Falcon, Kabini -

For all you bike aficionados, we don’t have to spell it out. The iconic Hayabusa is quite simply, the top dog in the superbike speed stakes. While the Busa has been around (ok, ok…we agree that at 200 mph, it doesn’t just sit ‘around’) since 1999, the original version has been racing for a small matter of over 3000 years. All right, hold your horses, we’ve not overdosed on ‘Speed’ (amphetamines, for the non-cognoscenti), nor are we showing symptoms of a mid-life adrenaline rush. Hayabusa is essentially Japanese for ‘Peregrine Falcon’, and the name was chosen as a tribute to the fastest mover in the animal kingdom. For over 3000 years, the ancestors of this Kabini Peregrine have been used in Falconry, apprenticing with the mongoloid nomads of Central Asia, before migrating into the blue-blooded environs of Middle Eastern and European aristocracy, where archival records describe it as “…a Royal bird, more armed by its courage, than by its claws.” One may be excused for wondering what courage it needs to dispose off Doves, Pigeons, Starlings and the like, when you have a 200 mph dive-bombing speed that delivers a knockout punch to the unwary. But then the Peregrine Falcon doesn’t just prey upon a fifth of all bird species in the world (our thanks to St. Wiki), it is also predated by much larger raptors like the Gyrfalcon and Golden Eagles, especially when it’s nesting. This is when it shows its mettle: it rarely backs off in the face of superior firepower, and instead launches a ferocious assault that often results in the larger birds’ death. Perhaps it is this combination of speed, ferocity and raw courage that has led to it being the national animal of the UAE, and of course, the iconic emblem of speed acolytes on the tarmac!

Photograph: Sanket Reddy Story: Rajesh Ramaswamy



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