Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

P.I Rainy Day (pics added)

Discussion in 'Racing, Motorsports, and Track Days' started by raven, Sep 24, 2008.

  1. This is just my experience from a recent Honda Ride Day.

    Seasoned P.I regulars can move on if you like, as this post is mainly aimed at those who have'nt done many ride days or those thinking about their first, or maybe their first rain event. (always possible).

    Firstly...if you have not yet done a ride day...what the hell are you waiting for! :shock: :LOL:

    So I arrived with trusty pit crew (pinx NR) in tow and all set up to take some pics of me tootling around the track.
    Wheel the bike onto Pit lane and do a bit of mental preparation and get focused on what I want to accomplish for the day.
    At the sign in, I ask..."Am I in the fast group or the medium group"?, to which I am told - "there won't be too many people passing you in that group, so there is no need to worry about bikes coming up on you unexpectedly"...WTF! :shock: :shock: ...I wanted to know because "I" did'nt want to be coming up on "others" unexpectedly scaring the beejeeses out of them, and wanted to make sure they did'nt have me with the numpties!! :shock: ...
    I guess they looked at me and figured I was gonna be choofing around the track like the Puffing-Billy! - bastards!

    Anyhoo!...Mine's the first group out, and I'm using the first few laps just to get settled in...reaqaint myself with P.I. and see how I feel on the bike etc..On the third lap I figured it was time and got stuck into it, and spent the last 3 laps testing corners to see what gear/rev combos seem to work the best, and sorting out what to expect with grip levels etc, since this was the first time on the Blade.

    The session ended and I came in off the track, quite a bit adrenalized from the first spirited run around P.I on the Blade.
    Was reasonably proud that I had managed to get the tyres pretty balled- up, and I had'nt gotten too serious yet. :)

    My next session cycles up, and off we go again...a reasonably paced warm up lap, and then back into it trying a few other corner gear/rev combo's, until finally I think I may have things sorted.

    I forgot to mention that it is WINDY as hell, and I'm getting blown off line and pushed all over the place...making some of the corners very exciting indeed.
    Down the main straight and I shut it down a little earlier just as I hit 255k, dropped the bike into 5th and trail brake gently into turn one at 180K's...but there's bit of a problem...there's a 30-40knot gusting tail wind, which turns into a quartering cross wind just before the apex and the bike literally get's blown wide of the line and I have to lean the bike over some more to compensate. I'm a little too hot, for what I was ready for this first time through at reasonable pace and tyres yet untested at these higher speeds, so my eyes were probably dinner plate sized.
    Up thorugh Southern Loop, with a straight crosswind there and hard on the gas down through the kink to Honda into a screaming headwind, that nearly pulled my arms off the clip-ons!

    The rest of the lap was equally exciting except for turn 12 where the crosswind was helping to lay the bike over, and I could easily get a good run onto the straight by keeping the gas on and standing the bike up into the wind...First time through at "my" pace, I was 165K, and I reckoned in the third session I should be a reasobale amount quicker, since I was getting a good feeling there, but I needed to build up to that...
    Second hot lap was much of the same except that midturn through Siberia, I was leaned over into the wind at about 90k's when the wind died momentarily and I had to snap the throttle open a bit to prevent from falling over - upset my rythmn...grrr!
    Hayshed was a bastard...I don't like that stretch of the track, and I could'nt get into it properly due to the wind gusts.
    Time was up and I headed in again.

    Oh...I forgot to mention that I had to overtake all but 2 of my group in the 5 laps we had, and I think I lapped one bike! :shock: Most of them were'nt expecting me so I had to sweep past wide and briskly so as not to affect their lines. (using the term loosely).

    Now the fun bit...by the time my next session arrives, it's raining!..completely wet track, and I had only just worked my way up to some decent speed in the dry, and was ready to get serious this session....eurgh!

    Obviously...a change of plan took place...I needed to switch to a more conservative mindset, and adjust everything to the now very wet conditions....and out I went not have a clue what to expect of PI, having never ridden it in the rain...

    First thing I notice...it's ALOT more slippery than I would have imagined...I was rather gingerly doing my laps and still found that I was literally on the edge of tyre grip nearly everywhere...the last half of Southern Loop felt like an ice skating rink with the front then back getting very squirmy out of there without much power at all (relatively speaking).
    But braking into Honda felt solid, as did the corner itself provided you did'nt gas it too hard getting out of there....Siberia with the wind, had the front go on me a few times mid-corner, and then when I got on the gas climbing out, the rear spun up in a short shift to 4th and got a little wriggle on me just as I was pitching into the little left kink at the top of the rise, so I snicked fifth to settle things down, and roled through Hayshed witha steady throttle...WOW!....Hayshed was veeeeery dicey...I felt the front and rear go and just talked the Blade through there...Lukey heights...actually was fairly good, although I was running conservatively through there, and all was ok from there back onto the straight again.

    I did a few more laps, slipping and sliding my way around and really testing my wet weather skills....and then I made a mistake...approaching Hayshed, which felt bad under the bike all day, I must have carried a little more speed than I had previously. I set up for it nicely, got a bit of a lean on, and was just sweeping through the turn when the front-end just stopped gripping....The bike slid a little for 20 ft or so, regripped and that then kicked the rear out a little. My new line after all that, was not going to get me through the turn, and any more lean would see my slidding, so I made a clear decision to stand the bike up, wash off whatever speed I could before I went off the track, and hopefully control the bike as the speed came down gradually...First instinct had me visioning the front washing out as soon as I hit the grass and me face planting...but then I though nah...ride the bike, keep it straight up and down, don't brake and let the bike go where it wants to.
    As it turned out, I missed hitting the beach by about a foot, managing to stay on the grassy strip between it and the track....gently arced the bike slightly right to avoid the tyrp barrier, and popped back out onto the inside edge of the track just at the start of Lucky Heights. (well inside the line of other riders)...I rode back to the pits...bike was perfectly ok, and I pondered my good fortune. Whew!

    Next session...well lets just say...it was very challenging...raining pretty decently (had been for three hours on and off by now)...very slippery in the usual places, only now there were sheets of standing water on the straight...a bit of a river across MG, and I really was'nt liking Hayshed!!! :LOL:
    On lap 3 I came into turn 12 with a good wide entry, tight exit line so I got on the gas a little earlier, but gently does it, since I know a few NR members have seen their demise over the high spot onto the straight...I featherd just at that point and then got into it again...for my next big surprise...full thottle by now and pulling about 220k's half way down the straight, rain hard in my face, me down on the tank and the wind blustering, the bike hits the standing water and I aquaplane and fish tail my way under the walkover bridge staring at bass straight and wondering where the track has gone in all this haze.. :shock: :shock:

    I went around again, and this time I was ready for the straight...I picked a line clear of the standing water, but same thing...the rear fishtails and grips and then spins up several times as I barrel past the pits on the gas. When I spotted turn one through the rain and spray again, I got off the gas, coasted throught and crept home to the pits, flat strap knackered, freezing my arse off, and while I was really pissed off about the rain ruining my plans, it did give me a wealth of experience in wet weather handling which I can apply anywhere now.
    As it turned out...most other riders had packed it up...there were just a few of us out on the track running laps, by the time I was done...

    But I still have my dry weather techniques to work on!!!!....

    I guess I'll just have to go back then, eh!!!!. :wink:
  2. LOL... I was there with ya mate. Glad you kept it upright.

    So what's the blade like in motocross mode?? :grin:
  3. Glad to see you had a good time!

    I stopped doing HRCA days some time ago, mainly due to the lack of graded groups. They say mixing the groups up slows everyone down, but to me it was just plain dangerous. Coming up behind someone (legitimately) doing 100kmh less than you and not knowing where they might go next is not a good thing.

    I've ridden a few times in the rain at PI and it's not something I enjoyed at all. There's always some hardcore riders though who go out every session, regardless! I did have one day where it was cancelled, mainly because the wind was blowing gravel onto the circuit. :shock:
  4. Sounded like a challenging day John :shock:
    Great read ..
    BTW, are spectators permitted on these days? I'd be keen the next time you go :)
  5. wow, sounds like a fun day.....i have enough trouble plodding around there in the dry never mind the wet :oops:

    so where are the pics :grin:
  6. Track (ride) days are great.
    But I always rode to/from the track, which a lot of people didn’t think was very wise. I always felt far safer WFO on a track than out on some back road (maybe not so much WFO there :wink: ) .

    HRCA ride days you can run your bike as it is in street trim, but other mobs like Superbike school, require glass/lights removed/taped up. Riding your bike to/from the ‘event’ means some set-up time & maybe a backpack with stuff to sort yourself out before you roll through scrutineering.

    Insurance is never an issue for me, for I have not got any. I’ve always been surprised that insurance is a major deterrent for some riders participating in track days. I’ve always thought that injury is far more a cause for concern that bike damage. Bike parts are relatively cheap & easy to replace.

    For anyone with a sports biased bike it is a definite must.
  7. yes but in vic tac covers medical, i think if i was to crash i would rather do it on the road then the track :)
  8. True, but I had a massive stack on my MTB last year (which has no registation or 'insurence' etc), was carted to hosptial by ambulance - I'm an ambulance member -, spent 5 days in hosiptal, with 2x operations - and all of that was 'covered'.

    The TAC thing is insurence which will cover compensation claims for ongoing injuries - like being disabled etc.
  9. :shock: I can't think of many places on the road I would like to crash. Lots of hard things to hit. Crashing on the track is no biggie most of the time.

    The solution is to buy a track bike you can afford to crash. There is no fun in tip toeing around because you can't afford to throw it down the road.
  10. Yep my partner is now like that, and after seeing the expenses involved if something does go wrong i stand by my comment......

    yep i agree, the road sounds worse and probably is, but just because you come off at the track doesn't mean you will walk away from it, scotch free....motorcycles are dangerous, just saying one offers compulsory insurance personal insurance (in vic anyway) and the other is optional

    yep done that and have a blast on the thing too :wink:
  11. Here's a few pics comliments of Caroline who stood out in the rain all day in support of my little fang...certainly don't show my style off to be all that good, but what the heck..I had fun and learnt alot again. :)
    Pushing lean angles in the wet is'nt my cuppa tea. :oops:
    I agree with you about the Honda ride days...it suited me this time, and probably the next since I STILL have'nt got properly up to my full speed yet, Ceejay...but after that I'll do what you did and get with a ride day that does compatible grouping.

    Rob!...Motocross was fine. even though I was more or less in the lap of the Gods while I was doing it... :LOL: :LOL: :LOL:

    BTW...Caroline road the Blade down and back for me (She was damned good on it to!) :shock: :grin:

    I have small vid but nowhere to upload it..sorry... :roll:

    On the edge of grip out of turn 11 in the pooring rain...

    Pushing through Lukey Heights in my first session trying to get sorted.