When Sir Isaac Newton formulated his Laws of Motion in 1687, force, his second law defined that the acceleration of an object depends on the mass of the object and the amount of force applied. Belassi’s Burrasca has a dry weight of only 350kgs and is powered by a 1.6 litre, turbocharged, 3-cylinder engine that produces a whopping 320hp. That equates to 914hp per tonne. To put those numbers into context, Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (The Mountain in Game of Thrones) can deadlift 500kgs; 320bhp is the max power output of the latest VW Golf R and as for power to weight, the Bugatti Chiron can only muster 741hp per tonne. In fact, using the automobile as a performance benchmark, Burrasca’s 914hp per tonne puts it squarely in the hypercar territory inhabited exclusively by Koenigsegg. And here I am on the balcony of the Bulgari Yacht Club, waiting for my turn to test ride the fastest luxury personal watercraft in existence.
Supping on a cappuccino while the guys from Ocean 360 (Belassi’s UAE partner) warm up the Burrasca down in the marina, a flick through the brochure is a little bit unnerving. The Belassi’s press images feature a fully kitted-out pro rider – gloves, helmet, the works. There’s even a Belassi-logo’d helmet on the table in front of me which is making the wait a little unnerving. I’ve ridden some cheeky aqua bikes before, but nothing weighing so little while putting out so much power and I’d be lying if a little part of my brain isn’t telling me to make a dash for the door. There’s nothing to fear though, as it turns out the Burrasca is a supremely safe, forgiving and manageable machine. Yes, really.
Essentially this is a turbocharged engine with a seat and handlebars.
Starting the Belassi is straightforward. You just plug in the kill cord, then it’s a case of applying half brake with your left hand (full squeeze is reverse thrust) and pressing the start button. The 3-cylinder engine roars into life, and sound coming out of the four exhaust tips is more supercar than a traditional sports bike. It’s deeper sound, more melodical thanks to its three cylinders, but still very angry. A careful squeeze of the throttle lever and the big PWC lazily pulls away from the pontoon. Low-speed manoeuvrability is just a case of pointing the handlebars where you want to go and giving it a dab of throttle. Considering the amount of power on tap, it’s perfectly safe at marina speeds, and it doesn’t ‘bob’ about like a lot of other PWCs, it feels low, safe and stable.
Once past the Bulgari marina’s channel marker its time to point the Burrasca at El Shorouq Beach and bring on the revs – nothing crazy for starters, just quick pinches of the throttle. It’s choppy out, with another three PWCs in the vicinity cutting things up a fair bit. With no clear water I cut the wake of one of the other aqua bikes and get rewarded with a face full of salt water. This proper drenching brings on a fit of laughter and that’s it, fully soaked I decide to go for it. Or at least try.
The art of manufacturing: Craftsmanship is an artform to Belassi’s engineers, hence why every Burrasca is assembled by man, not machine, in 100 working-hours.
Essentially this is a turbocharged engine with a seat and handlebars. Belassi used carbon fibre where possible (but not everywhere as this would actually make it too stiff) and the result is literally instant acceleration. There’s no lag from the turbo, just pure power and it becomes a battle of bravery: how much throttle can you give it before you bottle it, which in my case, was not a lot. I spend the ride concentrating on both the horizon and the other three PWCs in the bay. I have no idea how quick I’m going, but I’m sure it’s nowhere near Burrasca’s limit, not even close. This is backed up by the Ocean 360 crew, as for the entire test period, only one rider managed a full-throttle burst up to top speed. Not surprisingly, he owned a number of modern superbikes.
|Fuel capacity:||60 ltr|
The Belassi Burrasca is a work of art – not only in its carbon detailing and supreme hydrodynamic design but in the way it allows you to experience obscene performance in surefooted safety. A sub-4-second 0-60mph time says it all. This is a genuine marine hypercraft. No other production aquabike comes close.