Race day in the wet - Advice required

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by stooy, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. stooy

    stooy Been here awhile

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    G'day Everyone,

    I have organized to go to a track day at a local race track on Saturday, even though it is summer here we are forecast for 20-40mm of rain.

    I have raced this track in the dry and did quite well, while I have ridden swiftly on the road in the rain I have never really pushed the limits in the wet, I am looking for advice around tecniques and what to expect/look for.

    I ride a DRZ400SM with Avon Distanzia SM. In the dry I pace the slower super sport bikes (catch them in the corners loose them on the straights).

    My questions are as follows.

    How will I know when I am close to the limit? / What should I do if I get the bike sliding?

    Should I still be hanging off the bike with my knee down or should I be using a different body position?

    What a common mistake made in the wet when pushing?

    Anything else you think I should know?

    Advice would be much appreciated.


    Cheers

    Stewart
    #1
  2. Pantah

    Pantah Red Sox Nation

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    First, rain tires do a particularly good job with light and slow motorcycles. Second, nobody here can help until you have actually experienced racing in the rain. Lastly, fast racers are fast wet or dry, and they figure it out pretty much by themselves. You should give up motorcycle racing if you are going to the internet for tips. Sorry...

    :D
    #2
  3. DanAllen

    DanAllen ha-HAA

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    Dont change your riding style just go out there and race, you'll figure it out on the track.
    #3
  4. Bigger Al

    Bigger Al Still a stupid tire guy

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    Smooth, smooth, smooth. :D

    You'll do just fine. :thumb
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  5. stooy

    stooy Been here awhile

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    Thanks Guys,

    I have tyres suitable for rain so I am ok there.

    I am not surprised the overall theme is that I will learn by the seat of the pants. It has worked well for me so far on all terrains so far so why should this be any different.

    Pantah - I probably explained badly, it is a club ride day at the local track and I am not very experienced on the track. Last time I went (august) I actually found watching video's and reading articles on the internet very helpful, particularly in regard to body position.

    Thanks Again!
    #5
  6. Cactus Dave

    Cactus Dave Born to Argue

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    Ditto Bigger Al: smooth, smooth, smooth. Work up to the limits gradually and feel where they are braking, cornering and exiting on the gas. I'd focus on braking and exiting first as they are the easiest to recover and adapt as traction goes away. Generally, there's little chance of catching and correcting a slide when healed over mid corner in the rain. You might be lucky and catch it on your knee and save it, but . . . .

    One of my greatest racing spectating memories is of the 883 class at Road Atlanta in the early '90's. Pouring down rain. Everyone had clipons and was tippy toeing around the track. I was watching at Turn 3, the big left hand sweeper atop the esses (before they eliminated it and put in the current abortion). Ben Bostrom had removed his clipons and put on a handlebar. He'd come thru T3 WFO, fully crossed up, foot down and a huge rooster tail coming off the rear tire, both ends sliding as he "dirt tracked" his way around Road A. A great show and a great memory.

    You say you have "suitable tires" for the rain. Are they race rains, or something else? Race rains are amazing tires and you can achieve a lot more than you might suspect on them. If you have DOT's that have siping, or an aggressive tread, they are NOT race rains, and they will not have the traction of race rains. Race rains are also compound and construction, not just tread pattern. I've used soft compound dirt track tires and low pressures with some success in a pinch, but again, they ain't rains.

    I hate racing in the rain. To me it is a bit of an oxymoron, but then I don't live in the UK where it rains more than not. Good rain racers are, to me, amazing. Their balance, feel, control, and concentration are a wonderous combination. Good luck.
    #6
  7. stooy

    stooy Been here awhile

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    #7
  8. crofrog

    crofrog Long timer

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    Riding it and racing it are too very different things.

    Hmm, you just know... I can't put words to the feeling. You should do nothing or perhaps a bit less of whatever it was you where doing, but the difference between a bit less and highside can be hard to define too.

    Eg. If the bike is starting to slide coming out of the corner, just hold the throttle steady and stand the bike up a bit.

    OTHO, If the front is starting to tuck give it a bit of gas to relieve the pressure on the front.

    I've ridden my DRZ both knee down and foot out. Foot out will be a bit easier to flat track and save a low side specially in the rain.

    Not approaching the limits gradually.

    Do everything a more gradually than you do in the dry. If you find the limit of tire traction by being just a bit over it you can start to learn, if you find yourself allot over it because you bit off too much at one time you are either going to have the correct learned reaction or you're going to slide down the pavement.

    That being said, a ride down the road in leathers isn't bad so don't let that be a deterrent from pushing your comfort zone.
    #8
  9. stooy

    stooy Been here awhile

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    Thanks crofrog,

    I hadn't thought about riding foot out, I do it on dirt so its probably worth a shot here.

    The tips on saving from a slide are great also.

    Cheers
    #9
  10. Homey

    Homey Been here awhile

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    I love racing in the rain, it's a hoot! I just don't like getting cold so make sure you have the appropriate riding gear. You won't have any fun and you'll go slow if your fingers and toes are wet and cold.

    I've never been a big fan of putting my foot on the ground, even off road (where I've caught it on things). It just seems like a recipe for a broken ankle. If you're comfortable with it then it's problably not an issue either way. If the bike steps out, it'll step out. Having good smooth throttle control is more important than whether you have your foot down or not.

    You also want to make sure you stay on the racing line. That is where the water will (generally) have less pooling and you'll have better grip. If you get off the line you'll have to deal with debris and oils leaching out of the pavement.
    #10
  11. urbanXJ

    urbanXJ Long timer

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    I have never wanted to get on the track so bad as when I was corner working in the rain, and only TWO riders on the 2.4 mile track.

    They had it all to themselves.
    #11
  12. LebanonRider

    LebanonRider Adventurer

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    Being smooth is your friend in the rain -- both on the gas and on the brakes. A couple of other big issues no one has mentioned yet: Visibility and Fogging. Riding in falling rain in the roost of a rider in front of you can cloud your vision -- usually at the worst of times. The other item you'll need to deal with in the rain is the tendency to fog your visor. You might want to make sure you have your nose guard or some duck tape installed and that your visor will stay open in the 'one-click' open position at high speeds. Stay smooth and good luck.,
    #12
  13. Al Goodwin

    Al Goodwin Long timer

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    Soften up all your suspension settings...you need to "FEEL" more of what's going on.

    Light, LIGHT touch...be SMOOOOTH......smooth on the gas, smooth on throttle/brakes/throttle transitions...

    Don't fight the bike, let it do what it wants to...it'll move around more, DON'T FIGHT IT...

    Body positioning? Whatever feels comfortable.

    I raced for 11 years. several rain race'practice sessions.... Just relax and ride...:freaky
    #13
  14. stooy

    stooy Been here awhile

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    Thanks Guys,

    The DRZ is pretty soft anyway so I think that will be fine.

    I use a fogcity insert which has not failed me yet.

    I will have to post so pics up after the weekend.

    Thanks again!
    #14
  15. Bigger Al

    Bigger Al Still a stupid tire guy

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    The Fog City insert is good enough for the street, but might not do the job at the track. I always have worked up quite a sweat when racing, even in temps down into the 30's-F.

    This little gadget would be the hot setup for me if I were to go out in the wet:

    http://www.respro.com/products/racing/road-racing/foggy_mask/

    I've used one on the street for a couple of years,a nd it's simply fantastic. In fact, I plan to use it tomorrow on the morning commute, and the forecast is for snow. :eek1
    #15
  16. ibafran

    ibafran villagidiot

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    I usually figure a wet track provides about half the traction of when it is dry. The track has to be especially abrasive to hold well in the wet. Because of that, some corners may have amazing traction and others may have amazingly little. Your track may have a well known 'rain line' for some corners if not all the way around? Enjoy your wet track day. It will teach you a whole lot about being smooth which transfers nicely to a sliding bike in the dry. If you find yourself riding with any body tenseness, slow down or give it up for the day. Nothing is to be learned in the wet if one is tense. That's all I got. Others have done a great job posting to topic.
    #16
  17. stooy

    stooy Been here awhile

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    G'day Guys,

    The track day went really well. I only did one session in the wet before it dried up and it was fine, I was surprised how fast I could go without any sort of loss of traction.

    Thanks heaps for the advice.

    Cheers

    Stewart
    #17