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VIC My first race weekend

Discussion in 'Racing, Motorsports, and Track Days' started by Hondamick, Mar 4, 2016.

  1. Thought Id write this as a bit of a download and anyone thats thinking of going racing may get something from it.

    I been doing ride days mostly at Broadford (about 4 a year for the last 5 years) before moving back to Queensland 9 months ago.
    Over these years I have mostly rode my old trusty 94 Fireblade, though briefly owned a ZX10 and an Aprilia RSV1000 Mielle and recently replaced my old trusty Fireblade for a CBR600rr.

    Never having really ridden road bikes before 5 years ago (I rode dirtys when I was younger) I was happy to gain speed and eventually be up the pointy end of the "blue group" (medium fast) at the Champions ride days.

    Last November I visit Morgan Park for there last ride day of the year. It had all the great aspects of Champions ride days but felt to me like there was better organisation. The day started on time and the riders briefing didn't drag on for 3 hours like a Champions day and even better was timing. First session out everyones fastest lap times were collated and everyone was allocated there group for the day. I was very impressed and followed my times every session. I was getting some tuition from a racer who was very helpful teaching me lines and sorting out some of my most obvious bad riding habits. By the end of the day I had done a 1.32 sec lap (put in perspective Anthony West 3rd session out did a 1.18). It seemed a very friendly environment, and my coach suggested that i should giver there "clubman" racing class a go. The Motorcycle Sportsman of Queensland Club (what a mouthful) run a beginners class for the rookies and slower riders to help riders gain confidence, speed and racecraft.

    Preparing my bike felt like a big thing. As I was meticulous (didnt want the scrutineers to knock me back) I took my time. Many things had to be done arnt required on a track day. Lock wiring the bike sucked... I gave up drilling holes in my front caliper bolts and spent $100 on ebay to get predrilled ones, likewise I spent way too much time fiberglassing and carbon fibering engine case protection (only to be given some GB race ones a week out from the race). also was lucky enough that someone made me a aluminium shark fin (chain protection)

    The paperwork to race was pretty straight forward to get involved.
    First I joined the local Motorcycle sportsman club ($65).
    Then decided to go all in and get a year MA senior licence which cost $300 as opposed to paying for the day licences that I usually got.
    Lucky the Club has an incentive for first time racers that you do the track day on Friday and they give you, your first race weekend free (I think its like a drug, first taste is free). Otherwise from now on for me its like everyone else and think it cost about $330 (ouch).
    As you can see between bike preperation and MA/entry fees it starts to add up......

    I put a "new" set of second hand race takeoffs tyres on my bike and I rocked up for Fridays practice.

    First session I must have been going OK as I just scraped into the cut off for the fast group.
    This did me a world of good as the following 5 sessions of the day i had every man and his dog passing me, which seemed to drag my pace along nicely. I ended up doing a PB of 1.27 which was a whole 5 seconds quicker than my time last year.
    Camped in the tent Friday night at the track. I awoke amused at 3 am as my tent had disassembled itself in the wind (mental note putting up a tent in the dark after a big days riding not recommended)

    Saturday we got 2 qualifying sessions and my first race. I was disappointed with my qualifying as I was a whole second off my PB from the day before. It was good enough for 3rd on the grid which I was happy with.
    Sat afternoon, Race 1, I was nervous as a Guinea Pig when Richard Gere walks int a pet shop. Lights went out, it was a blur. Was up to second place, choked, ran wide, ended up 4th. I was so happy and filled with excitement. Expectantly when I saw my lap times were consistently into the 1.27s

    Sunday we got 3 races. Just as frantic as the first one. I was just as nervous and determine to get a good start and jumped the start in Sundays first race (finished 3rd but demoted to 6th for jumping). The next race i lost my mojo a little and had a lonely 3rd place. The last race was the best with a good battle with another 600 and best of all 3 laps in a row of 1.25s (7 seconds quicker than i had done last year and 2 seconds quicker than my Friday practice).

    It was everything that a track day is but more intense.
    More fun, more nerves, more cost involved and funny enough my riding seemed to improve overnight....

    The people were great and I was so happy that everyone seems to go out of there way to help each other. I think that everyone understands how much time, effort and money it takes to make the event and if someone is in need seemingly plenty of people are there to offer a hand.

    If you have done a good share of track days and are circulating in the "blue group" with confidence than its something that I would highly recommend.
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  2. Excellent write up Mick. Have to say the thought has crossed my mind a fair bit recently. Cheers.
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  3. How bout a team owner. I'd be happy to ride for you if you pay the expenses......
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  4. I appreciate your kind and considerate offer jonnyM. But isn't that a bit like letting your best mate shag your new supermodel girlfriend after you've just kitted her out in stockings and fcuk me boots?
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  5. Well........If you can't satisfy her you may as well keep it in the family.......:eek::p
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  6. ............................. it'd make for a great family album :sneaky:
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  7. Hahahaa. Thats gold. Either way I'd expect the pictures to be shared openly on the forum.
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  8. Nice write up Mick.

    I'm on the cusp of the fast group for both Champs and Phillip Island and plan on racing at the end of the year going full time next year.
    Nice to have a little insight.

    Oh and Champions are useless at running a track day imo. But I don't think it is the guys on the day that is the cause, it's head office constantly overbooking thus having too many riders on track at once.
    That's the issue at Broadford at least.
  9. #9 jonnymac, Mar 30, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 4, 2016
    Broadford is so small is the problem. Short track and not wide.

    It's still hard to get good lap times in fast group when on a 600. You almost need 3 clean laps without a thou in the way

    Didn't like my tongue in cheek joke Stu GrantStu Grant ?
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  10. Just do it! :) Great fun and no where near as intimidating as you might imagine.
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  11. I'm hoping to start doing a couple track days in the near future, so I'm wondering where everyone picked there track bikes. Were they purchased as road bikes and then kitted up for the track, or is there somewhere specific where track bikes are listed for sale (other than Bikesales, which has very few track bikes).
  12. Track junkies on Facebook. Better to have one with money spent on it by others unless money is no problem then you can know history on it too and do it yourself.
  13. Yeah I made my own race bike out of my road ZX. While I learned heaps (a lot of it what not to do!) it was ultimately a lot more expensive then had I purchased an already set up track bike.
    As Jonny said Track Junkie Sales on FB is currently your best bet for finding something.
  14. Or search 'track bike' on ebay - there's always a dozen or so on there. At least you can keep track on prices.

    Formula xtreme is another the classifieds are on Haggle.
  15. #15 Hondamick, Apr 4, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 4, 2016
    + 1 on Track Junkies Facebook. Plenty of cheap bikes. Don't have to spend too much. I sold a mint 94 Fireblade that was track going with good rubber on for $2000. The R6 in my avatar cost $2200. Dont spend too much on the bike, spend the $ on track days and dont get to bigger bike. You will learn heaps quicker on a 600 or smaller.

    Just finished up round 2 on the weekend.
    Managed to get in 2 champions ride days between the first round and this one to try to cement some things I learnt.

    I was practically given a beat up CBR600rr 07 with some crash damage some months ago. Some fiberglass and a few Bunnings rattle cans and she was good to go for the weekend. I decided to do Friday track day to test it and I figured it had better speed potential than my original CBR600rr that I rode first meeting.

    Made the decision to step up to the proper F2 class (600 class) this weekend.
    The field was moving a lot quicker than in the Clubman/beginners class I rode the first time but I hooked into it and Saturday qualifying I qualified 10th out of 16. Come race time and the people behind me seemed to withdraw or not start.

    First 2 races were a comedy of errors, and I felt I was reaching the limit of the rear tyre. I was convinced it was the rear suspension as the new bike has a harder aftermarket spring. After race 2 I almost highside twice, so much so that I cracked the front faring and screen of the bike with my helmet.
    After returning to the pits after the race I decided to change wheels with my original bike (which was also a second hand race take off). Race 3 was sooo much better, scrubbing another second of my time and able to keep up with a pack that were moving at a reasonable clip.

    Attached are a couple of pics.
    The 2 from the rear are stills that I have taken from the video. It shows the moment of a big front end loose (caused by me cutting the turn a little too much and having my foot peg and boot strike the curb and lift the bike off the ground) ,I ended up elbow and hip hitting the curb and grass. Somehow the front bit again and I stayed with the bike. Between that and the 2 very near high sides I cant be accused of not trying.
    Managed a PB time of 1.23.3 The fastest A graders are doing 1.18 so Im 5 seconds off super fast stuff but feeling that my riding has improved out of sight in 2 meetings.

    If your reading this I assume your a rider with at least a fleeting interest in riding in a spirited manner. I highly recommend doing some track days. if your already a track day frequent rider and go OK then I recommend heading to a local club meeting for a look. The nerves and excitemtn factor are way more, however funny enough from the 2 meetings I have been there seems to be less crashes in the racing... Go figure..

    Have fun, ride safe


    Attached Files:

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  16. I looked at the photos before reading the text and thought 'sh!t, that guy's getting down super low around corners' :ROFLMAO:
  17. Id like to be more savy on the computer and be able to cut the bust bits of video out. A 30 second clip of the best bits would be a fun watch.
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  18. Good write up Mick, sounds like you are having a ball :woot:

    I managed to do the 'racing thing' a few years back using my road going Suzuki SV650S (for one season of the Vic Twin Sprints championship).

    It cost me a bloody fortune but was a quite an experience. The biggest thing I learnt was that you are better off buying a second-hand track bike than modifying your brand new road bike for the tack. This is because when you are using your brand road bike the fear of dropping it slows you down!

  19. try downloading the free gopro studio app. It's very easy and intuative to cut a video and splice together a new sequence
  20. Nice report buddy.

    Racing is definitely something else...