Harvey: Oh yes, I've been fidgeting with brake lever position ( I have an adjustable one) for the entire session. I was told to use one finger at the beginning, as it reduces the chance of a death grip and a nose dive. At the end when I got more comfortable with it, I reverted to two fingers, how I usually brake on the street.
The somewhat tricky part is to squeeze the lever, while still operating the throttle, be that closing or opening it, depending on a situation. while my throttle arm is either stretched out in a left hand turn, or tucked in in the right hand turn. But I think I worked enough of a muscle memory to do it smoothly. Just need to reinforce it now.
As for braking and not closing the throttle, what I found was that for these type of turns, throttle needed to stay open somewhat. Front brake has a lot of gripping force, so it still slows the bike down quite a bit. However when I was closing throttle almost to an idle, and then opened it up after the turn for the straight, there was a very pronounced surge and a kick. At the end it was much smoother to keep RPMs up a bit, and after the turn, let go of the brakes and the bike would just spring forward. The result however was me boiling rear liquid and front going soft, after 3-4 runs, so 15-20 laps of figure 8 course.
I definitely need more practice to smooth things out and maintain proper throttle opening so I'm not burning through pads and liquid at such a rate.
And yes, you are absolutely right, it is mostly in the braking where you loose or gain time. Basically if you look at any motogymkhana course, it consists of pretty much the same turn, that we do in figure 8. Just at different intervals from one another. So a skill of braking into a quick turn from any speed, is the key to a good time. One second you are hauling ass in a straight or a sweeping turn, and the next you need to slow down almost to a standstill to go around a couple of cones. So that transition into a tight turn from speed, is extremely important.
As for the stance, it is a little bit weird at first. I constantly have to check my posture, as I tend to slack back into a more upright and relaxed position. But it works. I have regular bent bars on my bike, but I did have to put risers on it, as the bars were almost hitting my tank at a full lock. It is much easier now, as I don't bang my hands into the tank.
Rain practice is actually on my mind. Hehehe. But only once I'm smooth and confident with this whole front brake malarkey in the dry.
New toy is on a wish list for now. I'm invested in my Triumph for now. For my skill level, it will do for the rest of the season. I have risers and sliders on it, its a bit banged up, so I'm not worried about dropping it, and I'm thinking of changing rear sprocket for some low end oomph. I'll start looking for a sumo in the spring. For now just researching whats out there.
I honestly don't really like the look of sumos, I would rather go with a light sports bike, maybe CBR or ninja, but one big appeal of sumos to me, is that they are designed to be crashed and dropped right from the start. As well as pretty good ergonomics for gymkhana and great turning radius, with good lock to lock. So its function over style for me.