Sometimes cheating isn’t really cheating. In early 2003 Chuck Graves with the full support go Factory Yamaha decided that the new AMA Formula Extreme Championship would be a nice addition to the trophy shelf. Yamaha supplied Graves Motorsports with one of its beautiful jewel like R7’s that it had hanging around the race shop. In this power mad series Formula Extreme allowed you to basically run any bike you want as long as it was Homogalated for use in the United States. The general rule was you had to start off with a street bike and you could modify it to the tits. A major rule stated that at least 50% of the original models frame must be intact. Other than that it was pretty much balls to the wall when it came to modification. So crafty Chuck Graves and his merry crew of mad scientists went about creating the R7/1.
This was the married of the sweet handling superbike package of the R7 OW-02 and a monster 194 rewhip 1078cc R1 Superbike power plant. The result was the finest handling, fastest FX bike on the grid. Grave’s rider Damon Buckmaster started the season by absolutely smoking the competition in the first 6 races. At this point the other teams were fed up watching the Graves Monster make their efforts look futile. The top teams ( you know who you are and you are all friends so I won’t single anyone out) decide to protest the Graves creation because the R7 was never Homogalated for use in the United States. Being a limited production true factory special it was only produced in 1999-2000 for a total of 500 units worldwide. Chuck and crew wherein a tough spot.
After the protest the AMA decided that the R7/1 was intact not in the spirit of the rules and decided to allow the team to keep the previous rounds 6 wins but not allow the R7/1 creation to race the rest of the season in its current guise. So Graves and Company rip back to the shop and go about making the the R7/1 “conform” to the rule book. I have many factory race bikes that are essentially one off frames, motors, etc that all “conformed” to the rules of the time. Those just kinda bent a steering neck here or there, used unobtainim parts but generally looked like the production model. What Graves and his boys came back to the grid with next week was nothing short of masterful manipulation of rules and engineering. They basically covered the existing R7 frame with about 40% the frame rails of a production R1. This allowed the tank to be changed to a stock R1 and then they added a R1 tail section. The skillful addition allowed the Team to continue crushing the completion with Buckamster at the next round 8 rounds on his way to the FX Championship. On top of that the frame modification made the bike even better due to the extreme bracing.
The reason why this bike was winning everything in sight is because it handled better than anything else on the grid by a far margin. The front end not the r7/1 is as close to perfection as you can get. The rear speaks to the riders throttle input like no other bike i have EVER ridden. I can back this thing into a corner full on the front brakes so smoothly its almost telepathic. The bike specs reads like moto-crack heads wish list. The front fork is a rare FACTORY Ohlins 46mm USD with magnesium lowers. These jewels are clamped in place by a massive Graves adjustable billet triple tree. The front brakes are the GP spec Brembo Endurance series with Titanium pucks. They are connected to the Brembo radial master clylinder via quick disconnect aircraft style dry brake stainless steel lines. The rear is suspended by a factory Ohlins one off shock that was originally designed for Formula-one Ferrari. I just had it refreshed and the technicians at Ohlins are asking me how I got my hands on it, as they have never seen one released from their facility. Anyway the refreshed it and grudgingly sent it back to me. The frame is really just a R7 factory unit with extreme bracing over the top third of it from the headstock to the mid spar. The rest is all YEC FACTORY kit stuff. Swingers, quick change spindles etc. All from the 8 hr of Suzuka YEC R7.
When we finally get to the motor things really get interesting. The Graves Boys built a true mental giant. Yes the R1 based 1078cc, 41 mm Kehein field, carbon ram airbox making honking horsepower. Over 195 at the rear wheel. But this isn’t a light switch ride thats ready to flick you into orbit the minute you twist the throttle. Far from it. Its just a wick smooth progression of power that starts down low and just keeps going on forever. Its a power that is not present in today’s “electronic” bikes. The carburation is absolutely spot on. No hick ups...just pull,pull,pull,pull. It takes a expert rider to truly ring this things neck but it is extremely forgiving. I actually put my 76 years old son on this bike at a recent track day and it converted him from a Moto-X worshipper to “Holy shit Dad that thing is amazing.” Anyway there were a bunch of article about this particular bike in SportRider and Road Racing World back in the day. I’ll share a copy here. Enjoy the photos and contact me if you have real interest.
Stock # 55