Topic: Trackdays, 2017  (Read 594 times)

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Offline DachshundUberAlles

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« on: March 04, 2017, 09:39:17 AM »
The 2017 Sportbike Track Time season opens next weekend. I am so ready to get back out there on Barber Motorsports Park. This year is going to be a whole new experience for me. First, I'm looking to do all ten events this year, up from the five I was able to get in during 2016. Second, I'll be riding in the Intermediate group rather than the Novice group. Third, I've acquired a dedicated track bike, a 2005 Suzuki GSXR750, that is so well "optioned" for the purpose that I should never need to do anything but regular maintenance and tire changes for years to come without ever reaching the point that my skills and abilities will become too much for the bike to be seen as "limiting" my endeavor.
While the season kicks off with a three day event, I'm only able to go Sunday and Monday, but am so looking forward to finally have a chance to ride this new motorcycle.
Anybody else going to this opening round, or any of the subsequent rounds?
There's no such thing as a "REAL RIDER!". If you have a motorcycle, you've done all you need to do.

Offline IceCold4x4

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« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2017, 11:47:46 AM »
I want to soo bad, hopefully with my new job I can afford track tires / leather suit and all the other stuff to go play.

Offline DachshundUberAlles

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« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2017, 05:05:25 PM »
Four of my five times last year were done on sport/tour tires and they were more than up for the task. I have new Bridgestone S21s mounted up on the Suzuki for the opening event.
There's no such thing as a "REAL RIDER!". If you have a motorcycle, you've done all you need to do.

Offline IceCold4x4

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« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2017, 06:18:54 PM »
Four of my five times last year were done on sport/tour tires and they were more than up for the task. I have new Bridgestone S21s mounted up on the Suzuki for the opening event.

my problem with that is i pretty much ride the bike daily and i'm already lucky to get 6k out of a rear PR4 i can't imagine how many miles a track day would take out of them. Thus a seperate set just to conserve what i ride on every day.

Offline DachshundUberAlles

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« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2017, 09:44:20 AM »
I was in the same situation last year. It didn't seem to take a whole lot out of them. Just keep a good eye on the pressures and resist the urge to lower them too much and overheat them. That's the biggest "harm" that will befall them out there.

I'm happy to see the weather forecast has turned in a favorable direction for me. There was slight rain chances for Sunday and Monday (the days I've booked) that has now been taken down, though it's still going to be a bit chilly. Thems the breaks for the March event, a bit unpredictable. Here it is Thursday and it's clear and a warm 70+ and it'll be 60 on Sunday. It could be worse, I could have booked Saturday with its full on rain forecast.
There's no such thing as a "REAL RIDER!". If you have a motorcycle, you've done all you need to do.

Offline DachshundUberAlles

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« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2017, 07:09:29 PM »
A nice start to the year. Sunday was chilly in the morning but wound up bright and reasonably warm. The first session at 9:00 was about 38 degrees and only four of us actually went out there. All that open space was good for me as the two pre lunch session were all about getting familiar to the Suzuki. Just the ergonomics were quite a departure, but as the day wore on, I began to appreciate the layout and how it contributed to the more focused task. The only real "hold back" that hung over the day were the "weeping" wet spots that dotted the track, two standing out particularly (Turns 1 and 5) and claimed at least one rider from every group in every session of the day.
After the "quiet time" break following the first two sessions and with my comfort level and confidence growing, the sessions started to get really fun. First off, what a difference 100 pounds of machine weight makes. The VFR weighs in at 465, the GSXR is just over 350. With nearly 40 more horsepower, it was a whole new adventure. By the end of that first day I was immensely pleased with the decision to get this bike, it was everything I had imagined it would be and at the end of the day I found myself saying aloud as I hopped off of it for the last time "WORTH EVERY PENNY!".

As far as those options I alluded to in the initial post:
Ohlins 25mm cartridge kit, springs, and extension caps (to raise front end height).
Ohlins TTX GP rear shock w/remote preload adjustment
Scotts steering dampner
Brembo front master cylinder
Galfer Superbike brake lines and wave rotors
R6 monobloc calipers
Sharkskinz body work
Vortex clip-ons, rearsets, 520 chain/sprocket conversion
Motion Pro REV2 throttle
Yoshimura exhaust and ECM program

Now for Monday. It was short (for me). When the rain was knocking on the door around 10:40, I loaded up and came on home having done only two sessions, but that second one was, by far, my most productive of the event in terms of upping the pace. I spent the majority of it glued to the tail of an instructor and was clicking off good laps at a quick pace and on the proper line. I am SO looking forward to the next two (April 15 and May 16) events with warmer and (hopefully) dryer weather so I can see a little more of what this bike has to offer up.
There's no such thing as a "REAL RIDER!". If you have a motorcycle, you've done all you need to do.

Offline DachshundUberAlles

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« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2017, 06:23:53 PM »
Tomorrow, tomorrow, it's trackday tomorrow. Beautiful forecast and I've had familiarization time with the Suzuki and I am SO ready to put a bit more OOMPH to my effort. Everything's loaded for an early departure. Since it's only a one day at Barber (with a one day at Tally Sunday), this will be my first experience dealing with a full crowd at registration and tech.
There's no such thing as a "REAL RIDER!". If you have a motorcycle, you've done all you need to do.

Offline springer

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« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2017, 10:15:37 AM »
Tomorrow, tomorrow, it's trackday tomorrow. Beautiful forecast and I've had familiarization time with the Suzuki and I am SO ready to put a bit more OOMPH to my effort. Everything's loaded for an early departure. Since it's only a one day at Barber (with a one day at Tally Sunday), this will be my first experience dealing with a full crowd at registration and tech.
Have fun and give it hell!  ;)

Offline DachshundUberAlles

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« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2017, 05:29:49 PM »
Wonderful day. Great weather and a great turnout. Had some quality time following some instructors and getting more comfortable turning in, the wear pattern on the front tire showing me the change I was making. Also getting more willing to brake more aggressively. The most noticeable "upgrade" (if that's really the right descriptive) I made was around the fourth session when I decided to make passing moves a bit sooner than I had been. I've tried to be a "polite" as possible, sometimes at the expense of allowing riders I know full well are holding me up, but not wanting to seem too "aggressive" out there. I'm getting a real feel for my abilities out there, seeing people I know full well I'll never have a hope of sticking close to, but knowing that I definitely belong in this next level.
The only "downside" to the day, and I say this jokingly, was that being on Nichol's tail was a bad luck place for me. It was the "red flag" kiss of death. The first time (session 4, I think) I got in there and was very happy that I was going to have the opportunity to chase her around and during that (approximately) lap and a half, I was clicking off the best cornering I had been up to that point and then, the red flag comes out and ends the session. The next time, session 6, she passes me just before 10-11 leading onto the back strait and I say "All Right!", thinking I'm going to get a more extended "lesson" and wouldn't you know it, RED FLAG for a bike in the gravel on the exit of turn 2. The crash truck gets it and the rider (unhurt, good to see) and they send us back out and maybe two laps later, bike in the gravel trap out of 16 and the second red flag of the session.
The temperature was up pretty good by then anyways and I had already been giving serious consideration to not doing the seventh (final) session and seeing that second rider out (happily, unhurt as well) had me saying "That's not going to be you" so I got out of my gear the moment I rolled back into the pits, loaded everything up, and rolled on out yet again a TRACKDAY WINNER with my unscathed motorcycle.
On a side note, I had a really good time riding the GROM out and about during the end of my third session/12-1 lunch break time. It was a good way to keep cool and allowed me to do a little neighborhood exploration in the area surrounding the race facility.
The countdown clock is now ticking towards Saturday, May 13 and the next track day adventure.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2017, 05:35:54 PM by DachshundUberAlles »
There's no such thing as a "REAL RIDER!". If you have a motorcycle, you've done all you need to do.

Offline DachshundUberAlles

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« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2017, 07:31:04 PM »
All loaded up and ready to go to tomorrow's event. I see the forecast has been modified from all day sunny to now include a chance of a shower up through the noon hour. Early to bed for that early rise wake up.
There's no such thing as a "REAL RIDER!". If you have a motorcycle, you've done all you need to do.

Offline DachshundUberAlles

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« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2017, 11:16:51 AM »
Forgot to post up about the 6/5 event, I guess because rain ended it early for me. The first two sessions went OK, but rain came about 10 minutes into "quiet time" (11-12 on Sunday). It was just a small bit that looked like it wouldn't still be wet come noon, but another at 11:45 made sure that the track was completely wet, with standing water in several locations. Since I run Bridgestone S21 street tires, they'd probably be able to deal with the conditions and that the only way for me to truly evaluate my feelings about riding a wet track was to suck it up and roll on out there, I did. I did a total of three laps, at a brutally slow crawling pace. I shouldn't have stayed out there that long, and was looking over my shoulder quite a bit so I could get out of the way of anyone who actually had some decent pace going on. I was amazed that I wasn't caught. I guess there weren't any people with real rain tires on in my group.
My next thought was to allow the track some drying time, even if it meant skipping a couple of sessions. Unfortunately, a much stronger system was forming up on the radar and the load up and leave decision was made. It's a bummer to abandon the event with so little riding time done, but I am happier to eat the $235 daily purchase price than to risk the repair expenses of a tumble under conditions that are not suited to "zippy" paced riding.
There's no such thing as a "REAL RIDER!". If you have a motorcycle, you've done all you need to do.

Offline DachshundUberAlles

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« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2017, 12:59:18 PM »
Now for July 16:

For such a cloudy and threatening looking sky in the early hours, Sunday broke into a partly cloudy and dry day. The heat was on the brutal side, but spending every non-riding moment in the media center A/C made it bearable enough. My chain had a tight spot in it that necessitated a replacement so before this event, a new Vortex 16/45 520 set and DID chain and since the rear wheel was coming off, the tires were replaced also. There was a very good turnout and I felt good with my riding. In session 4 I got to practice "avoidance". After coming in early to avoid a rather large grouping ahead of me, I got back out behind a couple of guys moving at a pretty good pace. Unfortunately, the session would be ended when we got to turn 7. A guy came around me just before the turn but was in way too hot, ran wide into the grass and fell. Both he and the bike re-entered the track. I couldn't veer left because I would have run over him so I had to keep to the right while braking to keep from running over the bike that was sliding across the track. Luckily it ran out of momentum before the edge of the track and left enough rumble strip room for the guy behind me to squeeze by on my right.
Session 5 afforded me the opportunity to exercise some patience and stalk the guy ahead of me a few laps and then put on a good pass in turn 5. Shortly afterwards, the fuel light came on. I pondered it for a couple of laps before I decided to come in with a bit more than five minutes left in the session.
Session 6 would be the final one for me and it really came together. I got in with three other guys who were moving at a really good clip, one that required me to up my own pace, not out of my comfort zone, but just enough for me to feel a progression. I was able to not only stick with them and we were able to work our way through riders we encountered, but to make up any ground that might open up if I didn't get through as quickly. There were two laps through the 15-16 transition that were the smoothest and most precise I had ever been able to pull off. I hope I have that stored in for the future and can move on to getting a handle another part of the track.
It has been quite an interesting learning process and I believe I am beginning to understand it better. Initially, I was trying to absorb the whole thing, spending down time studying the tack map and then trying to implement the entire thing during every session. That's just too much to process. Patience is definitely the key to understanding. Not only with track familiarity, but with how I deal with those other riders who might be just a hair off my pace, but still enough to make the pass interesting. There was a time when I couldn't stand being behind someone I knew I had the better pace on, but now I'm willing to put forth a little time to observe what's going on, (study them, if you will), see where I'd be able to most effectively get by, waiting for that moment, and then decisively moving on it.
I don't know if I'm going to try the August event as the heat really took a lot out of me, but I have already booked September 4 and 18 (the 18th being the day after the MotoAmerica event).
There's no such thing as a "REAL RIDER!". If you have a motorcycle, you've done all you need to do.

Offline DachshundUberAlles

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« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2017, 04:19:31 PM »
Saturday August 12:

I'm a bit behind for posting up, but things have been busy. The rain held off, leaving only the HEAT to contend with, and it was something to be contended with indeed. Intermediate group had 44 riders signed up and nearly half of them were first timers to Barber. This made for a hectic first session. After the riders meeting, I got with the lead Intermediate instructor to request a base line evaluation for possible Advance group option availability next year. I know I have a way to go before I can run safely there, but I wanted to know how much work I would need to do and what I was going to need to concentrate on in the events I have left in 2017 if I want to get the (A) group option opened up for next year. He told me that we could do this in the 4th session, which follows the lunch break. An advantage running in (I) group is because we are first out on track, I would get the maximum amount of rest time leading up to this, 40 minutes of (A) and (N) group session in addition to the full hour of lunch break.
When the time came, he had me line up behind him and told me that he would send the 12 or so other riders in our sub group by and then send me, giving him the opportunity to see how I was able to work my way through them. The bulk of them went through leading into turn 5 and the rest exiting, with him giving me the "GO" approaching turn seven. I was able to make my way through well enough within roughly two laps and proceeded to put in as close to an (A) group worthy pace as I could muster. Catching up to another small grouping, I had some "hesitation" moments where I wanted to go through, but felt like there was no way I could maintain that "six feet" cushion that is the (I) group rule and I'd pull the brake and wait. At the end of the session, I was really tired and breathing hard. I sat up in the media center A/C just breathing heavy. That was a moment of pure clarity for me, I knew beyond all doubt that I am a LONG way from being ready for (A) group. Finally emerging after cooling down enough, he gave me his verdict. The first thing I have to work on is body positioning. He said that in his eyes, I am riding "almost straight up" and relying far too much on bike lean angle instead of lessening it by leaning off more. He told me to study my US129 photos and compare myself to others. Doing so Tuesday when they were put up shows me just how much I need to work on this. The difference between what you think you're doing and what you are actually doing really is. The second thing he said, and gave it a much higher level of importance in terms of moving up, was that I showed too much hesitation on some of the passes. He stressed that once the decision to pass has been made, don't ever back out of it. He said that if I did that in the (A) group, anyone following behind would run right up the back of me because they would be expecting me to complete the pass.
Remember how tired I said I was after this? I had ridden harder than I had ever ridden at one of these track days, giving it every bit of physical effort that I had and even with that, I was way short of running what is needed to safely be in (A) group. Not only that, but it took so much out of me that my day was finished. If I can't go beyond a single twenty minute session right now, with a full one hour and forty minutes rest, I've got some serious conditioning work to do in order to be able to safely move up. Perhaps better body positioning will mean I don't have to work so hard, but I think it's going to take more than just positioning.
Sitting up in the media center, gasping for breath in the aftermath of that evaluation session, I knew beyond all doubt that (A) group was farther away from me that I had originally believed. You can't be spent for the entire day having ridden only twenty minutes, but there was no denying that is exactly what was staring me in the face. I can easily work on the technique aspects that are required for moving up and now that I know what they're looking for out of  me, I'll place maximum consideration on full committal passing with less worry about the shrinking gap to the rider being passed, but the conditioning is something that is going to take the Winter off time to come around.
There's no such thing as a "REAL RIDER!". If you have a motorcycle, you've done all you need to do.

Offline KrisCook

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« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2017, 08:57:43 AM »
You brought up a point that I ran into when I did my one and only trackday ever, on Labor Day weekend 2015.  I just KNEW I was leaning waaaaay off, seriously maybe even close to dragging a knee or my helmet or whatever.  It was hard to hear that I was sitting up straight, maybe 1/2" off center, but certainly not hanging off the bike. 

It's not like I had any illusions about being a good rider, but dang, I'd been trying so hard! 

I've watched Nicole (ColeX2) go from being a new rider to being a seasoned track pro in the past three years, and watching how she works at it has also been an eye opener for me.  You have to fight for those skills.  Good for you, sticking with it! 

PS That bike's still for sale.  The price has gone up because Rodney's given it a workover, new tires and all.  Suzuki GS500F, 2007 model, minus the plastics and plus a standard round headlight.  Cafe racer style! 


me hanging off my bike   
I have drank shit that was cooked in radiators.  -- Slede

Offline DachshundUberAlles

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« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2017, 07:53:30 AM »
September 4:

Not really a whole lot to say about this one. My head was never really in it due to my Mother passing on August 28 and having to tend to all the legal and financial things that go along with it. I had hoped being out there would help me clear out, but I just couldn't focus on it. I was having trouble holding the proper line, could barely keep a consistent braking mark or turn in point, had a couple of front end slips and one massive slide through the carousel that I somehow managed to escape. After session 4 I considered dropping to (N) group because there were only about 10 people there and thought it would be better in terms of "just riding around", but decided that attitude wasn't a particularly safe one, so I loaded up and came on home.
The weather was the best of the entire year, with the whole three days being sunny and not near so hot and humid. I hope the 18th (the Monday following the MotoAmerica weekend) is as nice.
There's no such thing as a "REAL RIDER!". If you have a motorcycle, you've done all you need to do.