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Track Time


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I did my first track day yesterday in over 5 years. I rode Thunderhill Raceways 15 turn, 3 mile track. I was on my 04 R1 and for fun, I had slicks mounted on it…….slicks are the shits.

There were three groups…A,B,C….with each group getting 20 minute sessions. I rode in my usual  B group. 

First session…..I was petrified…..stiff as cardboard, could not relax, did not move my butt off, death grip on the bars…… list goes on.

Gave myself a good talking to before next session, made a change  in the gloves used and off I went for next session. 

My sound change, but the glove changed helped. The grips on the R1 are real spikey for grip and the gloves I was using let me feel the spikes and was annoying as hell. The gloves I ended up using was a old beat pair of gloves with thick leather in the palms.

In the second session, I started using the inside peg more to hold my body weight when leaned over, letting me get rid of the death drip on the bars. Funny how relaxing makes such a huge difference. R1 just seemed to start turning in all by itself.  The bike wants to lean was what I kept thinking….so let it and I did and it did. Second session went alot better.

Before I got the Tracer, liter bikes seem rather scarey to me just because well its a liter bike. After using riding the tracer I got used to that rush of power and torque and spinning the motor up, which was something I was not use to. The R1 was no longer scarey to me.

The third session was about spinning up that motor……being in the right gear at the right time. I had been watching racing on tv and noticed how they used gears and what gears and at what RPMs. I was quite surprised to see how far I could go without a gear change just by using the whole rpm range of the motor.

With improving my body movements and properly using the RPM range of the motor, the third session felt awesome. I actually felt like I knew what I was doing.

The fourth session…….was golden…it all starting to coming back. Things  just clicked. The feel of slicks is just mind boggling. Nothing like street tires. I went from thinking “damn Im going in to hot” in the first session to “ what the hell am I slowing down for” in the fourth session. The slicks just gripped.

The fifth and final session was the fastest. I was amazed how much speed I had picked my the end of the day. I was using everything in sync which makes for fast laps.

I still gots to lots to work on and good thing….in 2 weeks Ill be back there.

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Sounds like a great day!!

2015 FJ-09 / touring bags / oil plug mod / Evotech rad guard / SW Motech bash plate / VStream touring windshield / Seat Concepts:  Sport Touring / Vcyclenut ABS rings (speedo correction) / Cosmo RAM mount

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Wahoo lots of fun.  LOL my wife refuses to let me do a track day even though I've had some great sport bikes.  

I occasionally work as a corner worker at Barber when they are having trouble finding folks.  Motorcycle track days are fun as the session are not too long.  B group or intermediate is the scary one as they are faster than novices but sometimes don't know enough.  LOL one time I had fun watching some of the liter bike folks pull massive wheelies out of Charlotte's Web.  One fella was on a ZX10 and the fella at pit out was getting lots of prompts to show him where the setting was to turn the wheelie control on LOL.  We are not talking small [power wheelies but massive ones and the abrupt throttle changes that indicate the rider got in over their head.

I really enjoy watching everyone even the slow riders in novice as know they are out there having a blast.

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Thank you for being a turn worker. Without yall, there would be no track days.

It is comfort knowing there are turn workers watching out for those on the track. Yall have the second best seat at the track. The first best seat is on the track.

In my fourth session, I was feeling kinda speedy and going into one turn, a fast rider came to pass me and I just twisted hard on the gas….

He, I assume cause there are some fast females, got a little in front of me when I noticed it was a two up ride, so a just backed off to follow..

I got a great view of him leaving a dark stripe on the pavement as he used the rear brake to square off the corner by sliding the rear out.

I stayed as close as possible and when we got on the front straight….up came the front wheel. This is at close to 100mph. And it is a long straight.

Turn comes up, down came  the front and off they went…..I just could not hang.

Thats skill……

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That sounds like big fun! A two up ride can really open your eyes as to what's possible.

Back in about '96 I was doing a Reg Pridmore CLASS riding school at Road Atlanta. They were offering rides behind Jason Pridmore and I signed up. At the time, the CLASS instructors were using '96 VFR750s ( I was on a '95) with the exact same tires I was using. We did two laps. The first lap, I was sure I was going to die. We were passing everybody, leaning way farther and taking the turns much faster than I did previously.

By the second lap, I didn't want to stop. It was great. And the fact that we were on the same bike / tire combination that I had gave me a huge dose of confidence in what my bike was capable of. My riding improved immediately in the remaining sessions. It was a great experience. I did the CLASS session again the following year, but Jason's leg had a metal cage around it from a racing incident, so no rides.

But overall, those two laps drastically improved my riding. Still slow, but improved!



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One of the reasons I got a liter bike was to be able to catch up to those on smaller displacement blowing by me so I could follow them. Nothing like a 250 Ninja blowing by ya like you are standing still when you think you are on the fastest lap of your life.

Confidence…thats is one thing I really need to work on. Trust the tires…….Trust the suspension…


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