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What I learned at the track today

616 Views 10 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  SL_Don
Couldn't ask for nicer weather at Infineon today [thumbsup] I spent the day at Keith Code's CA Superbike School. Did level 4 and what that means is that I've completed all the lecture/classroom specific instructions and ride drills and now I get to work on whatever I want -- well, more like whatever I need in order to ride better [cheeky]

I went in with 3 goals: Fix my fear of downhill turns, improve braking, and learn to pass. Why these? Because I noticed on my twisty rides, I don't feel confident with downhill turns. Some braking remains a mystery to me and that just limits my riding. Finally, if I am going to let myself do a regular trackday, I think I should be decent at passing or handling traffic.

I got two coaches - one is a ride coach who observes me on the track, the other explains things to me and figures out my riding problems. So...my fear of downhill...why is that...because I have too much speed going into the turn...so slow down...I do that by braking...but I do that too late and that upsets the bike...and I freak when the bike is upset. To fix that...treat every turn the same...set up properly before turning the bike, turn bike, roll on throttle...and onto the next turn...judge entry speed as part of set up...brake before turning the bike if I have to...but light braking or trail off braking some distance before turning the bike so the suspension has time to settle for the turn. This is what I practiced on every turn especially on the downhill turns there.

Along the way, my ride coach noticed my bike would run wide sometimes. So we had to fix that. That's me hanging onto the bike too tight with my arms so the bike's front suspension can't do its thing so the bike drifted, drifted wide. Okay, with downhill fear and run wide fixed...ride coach noticed that I've max'ed out the lean on the bike. That's not good because that leaves me with no margin for when I need more lean. So we had to fix my body position. Hang off is the solution for me there. Right now, it's hard for me to hang off while keeping the same pace as before. It's another thing to do and to do it consistently. For the rest of the day, I practiced that.

Overall, I shaved off around 10-15 seconds. Lots of room for improvement...I won't be chasing the Tigre's tail any time soon ;D BTW, I rode the school's bike - that green Kawi 636. Sweet bike [thumbsup]
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awesome! I can't wait to see you and the belle in a few months. better yet, I can't wait to get back on the track myself.
Great news to hear... sounds like a very good day for you!
Good report, Ducky. 10-15 seconds is GREAT!! BTW, if you don't alreday have a laptimer and want to use one, you're more than welcome to borrow mine for trackdays.

You were maxin' out the lean on a 636? Eek!

Heh, heh--downhill turns. Turn 4's a bitch, eh? That turn has taken me longer to figure out than any other at Sears. I suck at it.
Good write up! Like Spidey said, that turn 4 is a real bear. If you get a chance to do a little diagram of your lines on that one I know I'd appreciate it. Both of my trackdays at Sears I fumbled my way through it, slidin' the rear and doing all sorts of nonsense...

You're gonna kick my a$$ at the track in December, but you're still going to be afraid of splitting lanes and riding on the bridge! We're doing a rain ride...that's right--you and me. We need to get you over this... [laugh] Nothing like sliding across rails and manhole covers only to screech your way to a stop on crosswalk paint to make you realize just how much the bike can wiggle without dumping you. ;)

Sounds like you're learning a lot... <*green with envy*>
For me, the key to Turn 4 is a LATE apex (when I get it right) Forget charging it, getting hard on the brakes, and then trying to turn. Brake earlier, hit your apex late, roll on earlier. It will make the turn more comfortable, will slow it down for you, and will make you faster. You're drive out of 4 is more important than making up time on the brakes going in.
Yeah, not to detract from Ducky's stuff here, but once or twice I got that turn right. The funny thing was, I got it right on a really rainy trackday. Not sure what I was doing, but I know I was going slower and hanging off a little more...and suddenly that turn kinda clicked for me. If I recall correctly it's banked just a bit around the corner and I'd aim for that part--it's almost out of sight as you're entering the turn. It seemed like the straightest line and I was just trying not to fall. I haven't been back since then, so I'm interested to see how I do this winter again.
Thanks Spidey for laptimer :) May hit you up.

Belle, you bet I am and will be afraid of splitting lanes, the bay bridge and the rain. Let me have some fear in my life...please don't make me fix these. I managed to get the bike's tail to wiggle today...isn't that enough? I didn't freak cuz I felt enough traction, whewww.

I can diagram...easier for me on paper...so next time I see you...

Spidey is right and what my coaches say a lot: the drive out is more important. Overall the time is faster if you have a good drive out, rather than charging & braking. I tested this today. I passed a couple of people at turn exit -- they had just buzzed by me before the turn in while I was setting up, I saw them brake hard (their suspension rocked back/forth), they turned in and I turned in a second after them and we had similar corner speed, then because I think my bike was more stable sooner I was able to roll on sooner and picked up speed and passed them on exit (I didn't just pass them - it was like the bike had turbo and took off). Today was the first time I was able to do this.
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Hey Ducky that's great to hear! I will PM you and set up a ride today.
Awww sounds like a great day at sears. I usually dont have that much trouble with 4, but i really don't like 2. Of course I've only been to Infineon twice so maybe next year ill start to hate 4 more when i get my speed up.

when your ready here is how to take 7 and 8

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