Track School Advice

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by ganze, Jul 18, 2019.

  1. Big John Sny

    Big John Sny Long timer

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    I know someone that buys up cheap white work vans. They are definitely not cool, but are secure, covered, sometimes come with internal toolboxes, and can be had for next to nothing. I have seen several that are just over 10 years old going for 1000 or less. That is cheaper than I could buy a covered trailer for and doesn’t require a pickup to pull it.
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  2. AzB

    AzB Fattest thin man

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    For a bit more effort, you can get an ambulance. Better maintenance, generally heavy duty parts, and sometimes amazingly low miles. But you have to do the auction thing.

    But the bonus is lots of internal storage, and sometimes a cot.
    #42
  3. Big John Sny

    Big John Sny Long timer

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    since some of the tracks we have enduranced at are far enough away to sleep overnight, the cot makes the ambulance the winner. I just din't think you could pull one for under 1000$
    #43
  4. AzB

    AzB Fattest thin man

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    I know a guy that's had a couple of them and he's never paid more than $900. You might have to be patient though...
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  5. Pantah

    Pantah Jiggy Dog Fan from Scottsdale Supporter

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    1. You will become an infinitely better rider after just a couple track days, provided your school provides you with classroom sessions between follow-the-leader track sessions. These are led by your on track instructors. Usually groups of 5 where the instructor increases the pace every session. The afternoons are open track by experience level. Instructors will circulate with the group and offer tips and suggestions to various riders they watch. Both of my sons started racing after only two track days aboard a school bike. They raced rented school bike for their first racing season as 'Novices'. One school bike was a Kaw EX500 and the other was a Ducati 900SS. I am sure today the school bikes are along the lines of a Suzuki or Kawasaki 650. The second season they both raced their own bikes as 'Amateurs'. They bumped up to 'Expert' the 3rd season and had a lot of success. My point is that you will advance quite fast and you should buy the right equipment even if you never enter a race. That means a one piece leather suit with all the protective inserts, back protector, Held racing gloves and name brand race boots.
    2. You should eventually buy a spare set of wheels and mount proper DOT labeled racing tires. This after you have had enough track days to know you want make it a regular thing. Tires deteriorate on a race track quite quickly. Basically they lose grip every session once you are fast enough to use their capability. An expert club racer aboard a lightweight bike will use one set of tires every race weekend. A 600 club racer will use two sets per weekend. I would guess a track day rider probably wants a two or three sets of tires every season. You will know when you want new tires because you will notice the loss of grip.
    3. Smaller is better but I rode my Ducati 900SS without any particular issues. The big bikes are just harder to learn on because they are heavier and have more power. I took a racing class aboard my son's Aprilia 250 two stroke. It was feather light and had a nice power delivery. I found it much easier to go fast on than my 400lb Ducati. Ride what you have and after awhile you'll know far more about what type of machine you want to use on a race track. But as I said, smaller is better. That is why most aspiring racers start out on small lightweight motorcycles.

    Track days are a real gift for us motorcyclists. You learn things you can't do on the street even as a hooligan. You surely will become a rider capable of speed, but the best part is you really get to understand how to be safer.
    #45
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  6. Dtx915

    Dtx915 Been here awhile

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    Last one of this year coming up this weekend and its two days. Looks like rain Monday so I found a set rains this week with less than ten laps on them. Like some have pointed out having spare wheels is a good idea if you plan to do more than one in a year and I do about 6. My Q3+ have held up well this year and I did a full on rain day with them in the spring, they were Ok just watch your what your doing and be smooth. Think I learned more that day than any other and we ran 30 min sessions with guys on rains and those on streets.
    Next year we will add a 300-400cc bike to the mix, should have never sold the Duke 390. You can go all year on tires and brakes. They have 9 small bikes in the second fastest class with the RC390 as the number one choice then Ninja 300-400 and Yamaha R3 and most of the instructors have a small bike or a SV.
    . received_444208079520095.jpeg
    #46
  7. Dtx915

    Dtx915 Been here awhile

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    Noticed you guys talking about what to do at the track. Few years ago I was doing a off road series so it was rough camping and I found this 7x14 toy hauler for under 5k. Two bikes and a queen bed with toilet and heat at 2100# a half ton can drag it. Makes for a nice weekend for short money.
    IMG_20180902_065245909_HDR.jpg IMG_20170917_120753066.jpg
    #47
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  8. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    That bike probably has enough power to break loose the rear coming out of a corner, so you'll just have to be careful. You won't learn as fast on it as you would on a lighter bike, but such is life. One option is to rent a track bike from someone at the track. A ninja 400 would be a good choice. It would cost $300 or so, though, so may not be in the cards.

    I have done 3 track days, and don't think I'll ever be a fast track rider. I push as hard as I feel comfortable, which isn't enough to graduate to the faster classes. Because of this, I will probably get at least 6 track days out of my Diablo Rosso IIIs (DOT legal). I did learn a lot from the instructors about carrying speed through corners, body position, etc.

    I was able to find a $900 suit for $300. The guy threw in a pair of gauntlet style racing gloves too. I found a $120 pair of racing boots for $40. A friend of mine bought a brand new suit from Cycle Gear for $399.

    Definitely trailer the bike. You probably couldn't fit all the stuff in the Avalanche anyway. You'll want an easy up (for shade and a place to hang your suit between sessions), chair, cooler full of Gatorade/water, paddock stand, basic tools, etc. The list can be endless, but those are the basics.

    I also agree about getting your suspension professionally adjusted. When I brought my bike to the track, I thought it was dialed in. A suspension tuner offered a one time adjustment for a small cost (I think it was $20-$40) or all day adjustments for double that. I did the one time, and the difference was night and day. You may want to do a few sessions first to give them something to go off of.

    Don't be afraid to sit out a session if it's 100+ degrees and you feel fatigue is affecting performance.

    Above all, have fun!
    #48
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  9. Dtx915

    Dtx915 Been here awhile

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    First time on rains today, friggin awesome. IMG_20190902_152530578.jpg IMG_20190902_152413557.jpg
    #49
  10. ganze

    ganze lone biker of the apocalypse

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    A friend and I are renting a trailer from uhaul and heading out there sat evening. Thoroughly checked the bike this weekend, ran through the last dregs of a tank of two week old gas and got the suspension sorted out to my liking. Finishing up Twist of the Wrist 2 this week, which has been a good book for me to read. The whole book has been helpful in pointing out my panic responses and how the impact my riding. The most helpful point so far being the point to choose an appropriate line and make only one turning action per turn instead of wiggling and wobbling around turning early and correcting, upsetting the bike. I went for a three hour shakedown/tuning ride Sunday and felt better than ever on the road, trusting the back tire and acceleration more as part of the steering process.

    I lined up all the small stuff I need for the day and am ready to disconnect the tail lights, tape everything up, load the bike and go this weekend.

    I'm really looking forward to it and am a little nervous if I am being honest: not sure if I am nervous about pushing limits or looking dumb, probably both. it's probably just healthy 49 year old (I will turn 49 on the track this coming Sunday) wisdom that has me committed to riding within my limits and keeping the rubber side down. But I really would like to feel confident while reducing my chicken strips...

    Will I meet any of you in Cresson this weekend?
    #50
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  11. C/1/509

    C/1/509 Now with more sarcasm

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    Excellent! Have fun and be safe.
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  12. ZiaThunder

    ZiaThunder Go big or go home

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    I would recommend Sport Riding Techniques: How To Develop Real World Skills for Speed, Safety, and Confidence on the Street and Track over the twist of the wrist books.
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  13. C/1/509

    C/1/509 Now with more sarcasm

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    How was it? Pics?
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  14. ganze

    ganze lone biker of the apocalypse

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    It was fantastic. I have been trying to narrow my thoughts down but it was pretty amazing start to finish. I have never ridden at 7-9/10ths before so it was a nice challenge. I was a mid pack with my pace after I figured out what felt right. I only used all the horsepower of the FZ a few laps before I figured out that I just didn't feel comfortable going that fast yet. It was a fairly short track with only one section where you could really open it up and get to 115 or 120 or so if you went all out on a fast bike. Then you had to brake hard into into a downhill, slightly off camber set of left turns. That was just too fast for my sensibilities this weekend. I focused on riding the whole track, body position and getting all the way leaned over in turns, trying to hold corner speed. The last session I got passed by a guy on a Panigale and as he rode off, I realized that he didn't look that fast in the turns. So I kicked it up just to see if I could keep up and I was pleased to be able to pull right back to him and could have passed him had I chosen to. His corner speeds were lower but he was wringing it out when he could. After a few laps, I backed off again to my happy pace and finished the day with a huge smile.

    I learned some important things. 1) Don't skimp by using one trailer for two big bikes. 2.) Get there earlier. 3) I Learned a metric ton of stuff to make the day more comfortable in the pits and staging area. 4) Met some great people, most of whom weren't too ego driven and were happy to chat, laugh, offer and listen to input. 5) Riding the whole track is much faster but it's also much less stressful and feels safer than not riding the whole track. 6) I learned tons about the mechanics of riding at speed, too much for a single bullet point. 7) I am working on plans for the next track day, as well as how I am going to go about finding a track specific bike: something smaller and less powerful: something I don't need everyday as transportation.

    Thanks for all the input

    Attached Files:

    #54
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  15. Dtx915

    Dtx915 Been here awhile

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    If this is your thing you begin to work on one thing at a time. The whole thing is overwhelming the first time out.
    My goal this year was to break 130 and I did that the second day of my weekend. Then back it up every time out. I also tried rain tires, that's like cheating.
    One of our regular guys did a one on one with a coach, knocked off 15 seconds a lap. That's next year for me. Enjoy your new skills and get ready for the next one.
    #55
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  16. C/1/509

    C/1/509 Now with more sarcasm

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    Sounds great. Was their regular photographer there? If so you should be able to find some pictures of the two of you shortly. Good on you!
    #56
  17. ganze

    ganze lone biker of the apocalypse

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    ridesmart best pic.jpg There was a photographer there, I bought one pic: lots of room for improvement but worth keeping for posterity.
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  18. C/1/509

    C/1/509 Now with more sarcasm

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    Nice
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  19. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Souped-Up Weasel

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    Almost draggin' a toe!
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  20. Roadracer_Al

    Roadracer_Al louder, louder, louder!

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    I will give you a hearty recommendation for reading the Lee Parks book "Total Control", specifically the parts about body position. I think that could be your next focal point for the upcoming track day.

    Full disclosure: I think it's a very useful book, but I'm biased... Lee is a client, and I designed and illustrated the second edition of the book. I was also an instructor for his Advanced Riding Clinic for many years.
    #60
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