My first track day

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by sas, Feb 7, 2010.

  1. sas

    sas Thumper Girl

    Joined:
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    I've been wanting to get this posted for a while now. Better late than never!

    I got exactly what I wanted for my birthday last year, my first track day.

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    BMW Motorcycles sponsored the instructional track day at Grattan Raceway in southwestern Michigan. And they put on a really fine event.

    The week leading up to the long awaited day, (my birthday is in March and this was in June) I was a bit nervous. Ohno and I had decided I should switch to a bike that I wasn't as familiar with as my '97 BMW f650 due to a tendency of popping out of first gear on me. I was going to ride our vintage '83 Kawasaki 550 GPz.

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    Check it out! A girl who rode in my group was on a red '97 funduro, my bike to a tee, without the gear issues. Ironic huh? Had I known I would have secretly swapped her out. :patch

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    The participants were divided into three classes, two novice groups and advanced/intermediate.
    Slow ...

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    Fast …

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    I think not having advanced and intermediate groups separate, was their one mistake. But my husband, Ohno, did have the pleasure of being passed by Nate Kern several times over.

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    Ohno was on his big baby, a KTM 950 Adventure.

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    It looked so out of place with the sport bikes.

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    The 1st novice group was for experienced n00bs and the second was for total track n00bs. Being it was my first track day, I chose to be in the slowest n00b group.

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    The novice 1 group was left to their own, with spotter instructors on the track to help if they asked. The novice 2 group was divided into groups of five assigned to an instructor who ran drills with us. They broke us in gently, starting with a get-acquainted putz around the track.

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    The nice, slow, go-around helped me get used to some of the off-camber turns, the bump on the back sweeper and the patchwork asphalt that visually just threw you.

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    I thought I would get the jitters again, but the instructors were so competent that I never felt over my head. It was just one big grin day.

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    After we'd ride, we attended instructional gatherings and where we were talked through our upcoming drills. The first and most impressive to me was riding the bike in one gear, 2nd or 3rd depending on your bike, and working through the turns using only throttle control. No brakes, no changing gears.

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    During the next few sessions we worked on lines, braking and gearing. Here my instructor, Dennis Baker, was signaling to me where to throttle on.

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    Ohno, off camber cornering.

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    By the end of the day I got to cut loose and run it as fast as I could, within my sorely limited ability.

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    I think I can take him!

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    Yeah Baby!

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    Wait, I'm not supposed to pass, oops.:thwak

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    I blew a couple of turn-ins because I was riding "too hot" said my instructor, Dennis Baker. Maybe it was the color-coordinated leathers? :dunno :lol2

    It was a big day with lot of new information and I'm not a "total" track n00b anymore. Next step ....

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    Best of all my birthday is coming up again, and there is a Reg Pridmore event in South Haven, Michigan, this June! Hint. Hint. :augie

    <hint, hint=""></hint,>
    #1
  2. Lee Gunn

    Lee Gunn Long timer

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    Magic story - looks like heaps of fun - and you look great. Seems like it was heaps of fun


    I could cry seeing that fantastic GPZ550 - wish I still had mine - what a hot bike.

    Good work girl

    :sweeti
    #2
  3. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Nice!! :clap Thanks for sharing the fun and the sun! :thumb
    #3
  4. bobw

    bobw Harden the phuck up

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    Lookin Good! Do what you can :evil to get to ride the Reg Pridmore CLASS. He and the crew are fantastic teachers and run a very safe and enjoyable school. I've taken it a couple times and will go again.
    #4
  5. Ohno

    Ohno moto-pirate

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    Lee,

    The first bike I bought new was a GPz 550. A couple of years ago we found one in parts across the state and bought it. It took about a month to get it running but it felt exactly the same as the day I bought my first one.

    They are sweet little bikes. Will probably get handed off to my son once he gets to that point.

    Ohno

    [I could cry seeing that fantastic GPZ550 - wish I still had mine - what a hot bike.

    Good work girl

    :sweeti[/quote]
    #5
  6. AirDrive

    AirDrive Been here awhile

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    WOW! Way to have a good time! Sure beats gettin' flowers for your Birthday, don't it!

    Oh, and a LATE HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Or early, if you'd rather.
    #6
  7. Lee Gunn

    Lee Gunn Long timer

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    [/quote]

    Hey Ohno - yes they are fantastic bikes - loved that bike - rode mine for 17 years and it never missed a beat - sold it when bub was three months old - and I certainly regret that - would love to go for a ride on another - just for the nostelgia of it all
    #7
  8. Ohno

    Ohno moto-pirate

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    The next time you're in town she is all yours. :wink:

    Hey Ohno - yes they are fantastic bikes - loved that bike - rode mine for 17 years and it never missed a beat - sold it when bub was three months old - and I certainly regret that - would love to go for a ride on another - just for the nostelgia of it all[/quote]
    #8
  9. DJ Baker

    DJ Baker n00b

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    Nice write up. :thumb Glad you enjoyed yourself.
    #9
  10. RobbieO

    RobbieO Muskokatard

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    Great write up!!!!:clap

    I know exactly how he feels:D Those sport bikes hate it when a 450 motocross bike passes them:lol3
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    #10
  11. hmmngwy

    hmmngwy Been here awhile

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    Local BMW club Sport Touring School a couple of years ago. I wasn't terribly fast but I was having a blast.

    If I missed my line and ended up in the dirt, I couldn't really tell much difference, and the speed was the same...

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    #11
  12. Moooz

    Moooz Been here awhile

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    Very cool, nice photos, your bike reminded me how much fun my old 1990 ZR550 was.
    #12
  13. GreeKKTiNoS

    GreeKKTiNoS Been here awhile

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    :clap:clap:clap:clap

    fantastic bike also !
    #13
  14. the darth peach

    the darth peach eats crackers in bed

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    Nice!!
    Track days are so much fun!
    #14
  15. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

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    Great thread. You've moved me one step closer to doing my first track day! I've been riding for 4 years and haven't done one yet. I ride twisties at a spirited pace every weekend and have read a bunch of books on sport riding and have hugely improved my technique but a track day is the one thing I keep getting nervous about. I'd ride my little Ninja 250, not the VFR for a track day.

    Here are my lame excuses:

    -No trailer so I'd have to ride the bike to and from the track. If I crash, I'm stranded-ish. Sandia motorsports speedway is a good distance outside ABQ.

    -I think they make you remove your mirrors and that really freaks me out. I understand you are supposed to use the whole track to get a good line, but I get really paranoid that I'll be minding my own business and dive into a corner only to ram into some guy I had no idea was about to pass me. I feel like I'd be looking over my shoulder before every corner!


    I'd definitely sign up for the ultra n00b class if/when I do it.
    #15
  16. the darth peach

    the darth peach eats crackers in bed

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    :D
    #16