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You absolutely HAVE to do this...!!

Discussion in 'Racing, Motorsports, and Track Days' started by jlgumby, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. Had to share this.

    Day was perfect, forecast was for 29Deg and fine, that would put the coast at what..... 25 - 26? Bike was prepped and ready for a ride on a trailer.

    I think you know where I'm going with this. Yes, experienced my first time on a track yesterday, and it happened to be on one of the finest tracks in the world. Yep, track days at Phillip Island are better than a great day out. Better than sex. Just.

    We'd planned for a 6:00am start which turned out to be a tad late with us cursing the 60kph roadwork zones on the way down, but nothing would spoil this day. Had a bit of trouble sleeping the night before, nothing to do with old pillows nor over passionate partner, just the thought of truly having the chance to put the girl through her paces and see what she'll do.

    For those who've never had the cheek bursting pleasure, the day starts with registration which is really the statement that if you kill yourself, you chose to, and scrutineering of the ride to ensure you've removed the spokey dokeys so they don't fly off down the main straight and tap an innocent bystander on the forehead.

    The day is arranged into a series of sessions for four distinct groups, slow, slow/med, fast/med and fast. And let me tell you, the guys in the two fast groups are FAST..... well most of them, of course you get those whose self expectation far exceeded reality. But as superbikes are on next week, testing was in process so fast was very fast.

    I went with a mate and although I'd never been, he felt I should start in med/slow. This proved to be the group for me, some of the guys in this group were also very fast. My mate has been riding for years and has over ten track days under his belt and agreed that this was a particularly fast med/slow group. Think people got spooked by the race guys.

    The sessions are run consecutively, each group immediately after another and let me tell you, it's the fasted 15 minutes of your life, in many ways.

    My first run out was daunting, I did a few reccie laps to pick lines and warm up the 'stones and the track just felt long. PI is a great rider's track as it's scary and very very fast. Well was for me. And it seems very wide.

    Didn't push too hard on the first run, had 6 more to go for that. It's tough the first time as you have no idea of braking points, word out of advise, empty the bladder before you start pushing, or you'll do it inadvertantly. But it's outrageously fun. Thought it was fun first time on the road, that was nothing next to this.

    By the fourth session, I was seeing 260kph down the main straight with a 165kph entry speed to turn one. That's probably mighty dozey by race guy standards but that was plenty fast for this new rider, did I mention going to the dunny before hand?

    I can't begin to describe the wind buffeting you get when you hit the anchors for turn one at 160 and instinctively sit up a bit. You feel like your head is going to be cleanly ripped from your torso. It's that savage.

    This is a tough track I think, many on the day had trouble with Honda corner which was a very tight right hander which some say is a first gear corner with an entry off the Southern Loop at some 190kph. Braking effect is awesome and it takes a while to get used to how quickly it the 750 knocks off speed.

    Have to say, the bike was flawless in everyway and punches so hard for its capacity, two bikes would pull away from me on the main straight after entering at the same speed. One would gradually get away, and this was a late model eye and ear pearcing green ZX10, and the other was a Duc. Yeah, a Duc, but it was the daddy.. The Desmo.. That thing roared and went like a rocket, couldn't touch it. Never expected to either.

    All in all, amazing day and great way to see how far the partner will go, my tyres are shagged after being almost new and I learned that I was braking too late and tipping in under brakes as a result as I was seriously working the fronts. Must sort that.

    If you've ever considered it but thought otherwise, can I recommend this experience. You're still unlikely to take the bike anywhere its limits, I know I didn't, but you get an appreciation of how high those limits are and how capable she is. And the amount you will learn about head and body position, weight distribution, bike position, throttle and brake control etc.. etc..

    Don't think, do it, fantastic day out and just an entire lesson and a real giggle all wrapped up in one.
  2. great write up, just like being there. It's truly amazing what these bikes we ride really are capable of though isn't it, but to those guys that never take em to the track what a waste :(
  3. I wonder if this is the real reason for most people having dark coloured leathers.
    Urined stained leather wouldn't be overly sexy... unless you have a golden shower, biker, leather fetish.... Not that theres anything wrong with that :p
  4. I'm hoping to go on a track day at PI...if I manage to get myself a better bike. The Across wouldn't be overly fun down the straights...but would still be awesome on the corners :D

    phong =P~
  5. Wheres a good organised day to do this in sydney?

    Once I get my bike back next week its going to be like a new ride.

    Nice write up.
  6. Go do a ride day at Broadford instead. You will learn more and it is a track better suited to the Across.
  7. Wow nice post. I could feel the excitement, made my hands sweaty!

    One day i will no doubt about it.
  8. I have done a track day there ;), was awesome and definitely got rid of the chicken strips and new tyre dimples.

    Hopefully I can get a new bike this weekend...then I can test it out at Broadford and Pi :D

    phong =P~
  9. Yeah funny bout the chicken strips, when you haven't done a track, you're wondering what it would take to touch the road with 'that' part of the tyre.

    Different story at the track, six sessions of 15 mins and my near new tyres are toast. Well the sides of them anyway. They're not just worn, they're absolutely ripped and it looks like I just drove through 20m of hot coal and the tyres have melted and balled up. So after the second session, instead of wondering if I'd use the curvature of the rubber, I found myself concentrating very hard on getting myself off the bike and keeping the thing as upright as I could to hold corner speed and not run out of tyre. There were guys cornering faster than me and not using all of the tyre. I knew I had to alter body pos. The resident tyre and suspension guy thinks I was a bit hard on the run out of corners which was helping to really chew the tyres coming off max lean. It's amazing how on the track you become so comfortable with the bike at silly angles. But it's because you know the contours, you know the temp, you know the surface and you know how clean it is. It's ace.

    And it's not to be done on the road, this I know.
  10. Good write up !!
    Have not had the pleasure of a track day YET.
  11. Yeah it is a waste, but I'm not rich enough to spend another 15 odd K if the worst happens. The sooner this country catches up with the rest of the world and starts offering Track Day Insurance the better.
  12. Awsome write up, felt like being there. Definatly gives inspiration to get down there!
  13. ah i remember my first track day, was a hoot! i'll be at PI in 2 weeks, can't wait!!

    just a quick off topic Q... what tyres were you running?
  14. Sheppo.

    Was running on the stock Bridgie Battlax BT016Rs. Strange thing about the day was that I wore the fronts alot more than the rears, sides of the fronts are down to the markers already after the day, the rears are way off. Think maybe I need the suspension tweaked a touch, didn't feel like it was pushing mid corner though.

    Here's a pic of my once just run in rear after popping my track day cherrie.
  15. interesting, i'll be fitting BT016's to my R1 after i toast my super corsa's at PI in 2 weeks :LOL:
  16. Gumby,great story and a day you will never forget.
    My first day on a track 35 years ago, i am sure was no different to yours. Heart racing and a few other parts of the body very tight, but a day you will never forget.
  17. How long is it since you did some laps, Diggler?
  18. About 10 years ago did a thing at Assen,Centennary celebratrion?? I think
  19. Do you ever get the urge to get out there again?
  20. I have nothing but admiration for people who risk life and limb, not to mention a $15k investment, on the track, professionally, or at a track day. Top write up, mate!!