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First Track Day Thoughts...

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Miraz, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. I did a stay upright course on the little corporate circuit at EC about 8 months ago, but did my first proper track day yesterday on the Blackbird yesterday.

    The day didn't start well - cold and wet.....I kept telling myself the forecast was for improving weather through the day as I rode through cold morning fog on the way to EC.

    Signed on, got the bike signed off, taped up mirrors, dropped tyre pressures, pulled the luggage off the back and went along to the safety briefing....lots of first timers in the slow group, so the NooB program was well attended.

    First couple of sessions were wet and slippery, which wasn't entirely a bad thing as it kept the initial speeds down and allowed for some time to get used to the track. At the end of the second session I realised that I was riding just as I would on the road, and was being a lot more conservative than necessary.

    I spend a little bit of time having SW racing have a look at the suspension setup, as I hadn't had any professional input since I'd changed the springs, forks and shock. They concluded it was still much too soft, wound on a bunch of pre-load front and back, and reset the dampers to match.

    Session 3 was cut short, someone had an off at turn 11 on the first or second lap, so we only got 2-3 or decent laps in. The circuit was still wet in places and I could feel the rear starting to break loose under power in a few places, but I started to relax and enjoy myself a bit more.

    I'd started to believe that I'd got my head around the power of this bike on the road, but it really didn't take much time on the track to realise that I'd been kidding myself and I'm a long way from ready to explore the top end potential of this machine.

    I had decided that somewhere around 200 was a reasonable maximum speed to do down the main straight, and was comfortable that i was allowing a decent opportunity for any lower powered bikes that I'd been holding up on the rest of the circuit could get past - there was one lap where I'd been held up behind a 600 for several corners which I was determined to pass in order to find some clear track for the next lap. I tailed him through T10, T11 and T12 in 3rd, watched him pin the throttle and choose a line down the straight....then opened up and just hung on whilst the world went backwards, change to 4th, change to 5th, glance at speedo 270 and climbing, off the throttle onto the brakes, squealing noises, SR starts to kick in....start to fixate straight ahead, missing turn in point....snap out of it, roll into turn 1 and hang on. Decide to go back to working on corners, will save blasting down the straights for the future...

    Spent the last couple of sessions grinning insanely, working on trying to get the right lines working through the rest of the circuit and getting corner speeds up, especially T3, T5 and T9.

    The day really reinforced to me that I spend more time and effort on improving my cornering and braking technique, and that I need to have more faith in the bike to do the right thing on a good surface.

    I'm booked in to do the CSS Level 1 course next month, will go from there....
    • Like Like x 3
  2. Thank you. LOL. Love it. Good write up. And a very typical set of reactions. And good self advice. Get the corners and the bike control right - then worry about opening the taps all the way. Good to see you enjoyed it. Massive fun, eh?

    I'm so jealous. No $ = no trackdays. Cristmas in Bris means there don't seem to be many. Sportsmen appear to have cancelled basically everything for next year - don't know what that's all about ...
  3. i dunno if this is what you're talking about but QR is being resurfaced as we speak. so it will be quiet there.

    good to hear about the first track day mate, i remember my first time....
  4. It IS? ... christmas has come a little oily this year :demon:(y):dance:
  5. Yeah, good write up, and yes, fairly typical reactions on the first track day experience.
    But that's a good thing.

    ie...you are already more focused on cornering, and that's a very positive step, since that is THE place where things usually go wrong.

    But you do need to start running the big budgee harder....it can handle it, if you've got the tyres to match.
  6. Yup - I'm definately the limiting factor here, tyres are currently Michelin Pilot Power 2CT which are ok, but nothing special. The bike has a *lot* more to give...

    I'm a big, tubby middle aged bloke weighing around 130kg, on the road I can get away with being pretty static on the bike, it's lazy but comfortable. Once the track way dried out, it was obvious that I needed to get off my butt and move around the bike a lot more than I have done in the past. This was starting to come together by the end of the day, the difference in stability and drive out of the corners when you get it right is very satisfying.

    I also have a tendency to overbrake, braking too early and washing off more speed than necessary....it's safer than under braking, but I spent a lot of time in the turns thinking I should be 20-30km/h faster here...or coming off the brakes and realising that I've got a way to go until I need to turn in.
  7. Yep, all very typical. And you find when you do start moving around a lot, it changes everything. The bike doesn't behave the same way. It throws all your lines off and you actually have to slow down and get it all sorted out and consistent and repeatable, then start upping the pace again.

    Speed doesn't come from higher levels of adrenalin, or higher levels of effort - it comes from greater control and precision. In a given corner, you can put the bike over a matchbox at 80, but when you come to do it at 100, you'd be lucky to get within a metre of your aiming point. You've got to practice at 100 until you're back to being accurate to within about 150mm, before you try it at 110. If you're missing your points, don't go any faster until you have the bike passing over the spot you selected.
  8. Thanks for the write up, I found it really interesting to hear from the perspective of a first time. I have been trying to muster the courage to try a track day myself... maybe not quite there at the moment though :)
  9. Woot!!


    Good form, mate.

    He'll run harder if you want...



  10. ahh those were the days, you could spend the whole day working on technique and having a ball. Great shot mate
  11. nice write up!

    ive been wanting to get to a track day for a while now... was gonna do the one at broady on the 27th... but i now have 3 things on the 26th night... a gig, a bucks party and a 21st. guessing i wont be up to riding on the sunday :)

    thanks for the write up, good to see what i might be getting myself into!
  12. Turn 1 will tighten any ones belly. @ any track lol.
    How was your neck when you stuck your head up?
    Think Champions has a Lakeside day coming up. I like Lakeside.
    QR will only paste more cheap muck over the bumps lol. It always ends up a mess three months later.
    I am really hoping this motoring center comes through out Kin Kin way. How good to take your road and dirt bike to the one place for the weekend. Even your car.
    Mmm what a place to get a job :)
  13. from QR facebook page.

  14. youve got the same helmet as me :)
  15. @Fybre - think about doing a training day on the track, rather than going for an open track day - the Stay Upright Full day advanced course (don't bother with the half day one that I did) or CSS are both run at Eastern Creek and will give you a more managed introduction to riding on a circuit.

    @Raven - thanks, I did manage to get the pegs down in T2 (Left Hand) and T9 (Right Hand) later in the day, but I suspect that was due to poor body position rather than speed.

    @bretto61 - Didn't notice any significant pressure on my neck at any point, suspect my attention was elsewhere :) The new screen on the BigBird is pretty good, it punches a big hole in the air with minimal turbulence
  16. yeah, you need a full arsk cheek off the seat, to the Bird from grounding out to early. And if you remove the feelers the outside edge of the centrestand will start dragging. Go in hard on the brakes (trail braking), and the front lower side of the fairing will get marked up. :)

    @Bamm Bamm...
    Indeed the good ol' days mate. We kept our teeth sharp up there. Umm still do, a bit, but gotta be clever about it. And pIss right off, at the first signs of invasion.
    Fekking pain in the bloody arsk, mate....bastards!
  17. I've effectively doubled the spring rates on the suspension, if my maths is right you will need to be doing something spectacular in order to ground the fairing out now....not saying it can't be done, but it might make the evening news if you try :)

    The only negative part of the day is the cam chain tensioner let go on the way home, so it's sounding like a box of spanners....hopefully I'll have a new one on Monday so that I can head south for a few days in the Vic Alps before the snowy ride weekend.
  18. doubled the spring rates??? you sure?
  19. Yup - 90% at the front, around 60% at the rear...