Portimao Trackday right up - 600RR.net
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-17-2009, 02:09 PM Thread Starter
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Portimao Trackday right up, videos and photos

Now I know that I haven't been contributing much to this forum recently but though I should share my account of my 3 day stint at Portimao. I know we are not living in an enviable economic climate so leisure activities have to suffer. BUT if you are a biking enthusiast and can afford only one annual biking experience, European trackdays are the way forward.

Now for me this is probably the most anticipated European track day. I have only done Almeria and Cartagena in the past year, but they are considered national circuits. Autodormo Algarve on the other hand is the newest, most challenging and innovative circuits within Europe and after seeing the WSB, I knew it was only a matter of time before I get to experience it.

It was a far fetched fantasy but thanks to my riding buddy, Jon, and him trying to get one over me, I took the bait and got it booked, less than 2 months ago. Can’t let him have all that fun by himself.

We stayed at Portimao itself, beautiful sea side resort in the Algarve, an hours drive form Faro. The 3 star Luar hotel was literally a stone’s throw from the glorious sandy beach. There was a walkway behind the hotel that borders the coast and takes you into the heart of the city centre with all it’s bars, restaurants and night life. Everything you needed was on your doorstep.

I loved the location so much that I tired to look for a weekend trip for the misses when I got back. Loads of couples came in early with partners and made the most of the everlasting summer rays.

The weather was HOT being in an arid/desert environment. Not only was hydration important, but the intense midday sun made everyone clambering for shade. We had one person that suffered a sun stroke by the second day. Even I with my darker chocolate mocha skin almost succumbed to the heat by the third day.

At the track
We arrived at the track early to collect our gear and bikes. I was surprised to see more than 90 riders booked on the day. Usually with European trackdays you only have 40 odd riders, especially when it’s an open pit lane. The format was different; they ran 3 groups ‘novice, inters and fast’ for 3 sessions, 20min each then open pit after lunch. Because the track is so big, it was never over crowded.

Because it was a new track, I booked myself into the novice group, Jon booked into the fast group. We both usually ride in the fast group mid pack, but I wanted to take all the time in the world before launching myself at it, besides most people there were experienced track day riders.

We had our briefing in the air conditioned briefing room, overlooking the track café and swimming pool. Was not sure if it was a water feature or a swimming pool. We later found out it was a cooling off pool. Yes, this track was made to impress.

Another different twist was the sighting laps. We were to drive our HIRE cars around the track for 3 sighting laps! I think it was Focused Events way of promoting their car trackdays. I was excited since I’ve never driven a car on track. Jon drove, I meditated.

The first lap of Portimao
People have different ways of preparing for a new track, Jon hogged his Xbox360 for endless evenings trying to get to grips with the layout. I am rubbish with game consoles, so watching Youtube footage was my only experience of Portimao until that minute.

The first thing you take in is the vastness of the track, as wide as Silverstone GP. You would expect that from a track that just hosted Le Mans few weeks ago. The next thing is the undulations, steep climbs and sharp drops with blind corners and late apexes featuring almost everywhere.

In the car, we were in awe.
I am proud to say that I cut my teeth riding tracks in the UK. I climbed the mountain at Cadwell Park, grazed my knee at Brands Paddock Hill, launched my bike at Donny’s Craner Curves and red lined my bike at Silverstone’s Hanger straight. But nothing prepared us for this.

People described it as a roller coaster to us. I love roller coasters, but it’s different when you are riding your own bike, 2000 miles from home. The excitement that captivated my every waking moment was soon replaced by apprehension and fear. I started to question this whole biking bravado. My balls shrunk and managed to climb back to the pits of my stomach, I was an infant again.

Group 1 was out first. Jon was sniggering at me in the pit lane like I was caught with my pants down. I didn't care. For me, this was preservation. Such is the respect this track commands.

First session, stuck to 2 gears, no brakes and started learning my way about. Right, right, hard right, steep climb left, hard left, etc etc. I should have been a rally co driver.

Second session, it all suddenly gelled in. The track is not easy but it flows, once you get the hang of it, that’s it. It doesn’t have nasty surprises especially with the tarmac being so smooth and grippy. Don’t have to worry about surface changes, bumps or pot holes.

I then got into the business of trying to connect the dots and experimenting.
I transformed, grinning again like the cat that got the cream. I was euphoric.
I bumped myself up to the fast group.

Third Session, I started going for it and pushing harder. The harder I pushed, the more it made sense. I began to find a rhythm. There weren’t many people to follow, with the exception of a handful of riders, everyone out there was learning the track and finding their own way about.

There was only 1 really tricky corner that we all resigned to calling the ‘shitty right’. After driving hard on 4th/5th gear climbing up a blind steep left hander, you arrive to a flat featureless brow and then the track turns right but then doubles back on itself. You have to brake hard and then stay out wide and pick your turning point to clip the apex.

Videos from the day.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFL915IpwPY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1T66Vbqo2k

You can see from the video footage that there is considerable room for improvement hitting the apexes and having more consistent lines. Jon overall had better lines but I think I manage to pick up the bike quicker.

We wrapped up the days on track with bottles of Sagres and Superbock at the hotel bar interspersed with never ending tales of late outbraking manoeuvres and leaps of faith. We felt that we conquered the track, not ridden it. It never fails to impress me how you meet people from all walks of life on trackdays and the relationship that you can cultivate. The track brought us together and in our quest to over come it, we shared the common goal, something alien to everyone outside the circle.

Glass is always half full...unless it's my pint.
www.mojoracing.co.uk

Last edited by mook; 11-17-2009 at 02:15 PM.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-17-2009, 02:14 PM Thread Starter
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Notice the two tier car park





View from hotel

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-17-2009, 04:39 PM
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Wow, I'm definitely jealous. I wish we had world class facilities like that over here. Nice vids.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-17-2009, 07:07 PM
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Sounds awesome man. How much does it cost to do track days there? I would love to do some track riding during my backpacking trip next year.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-17-2009, 07:29 PM
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awesome videos!

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-18-2009, 01:50 AM
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Congrats on riding one of my all-time favorite tracks!!!
Yeah, that "shitty right" is fun trying to pick a braking and turn-in point. I crashed 2 corners after that when my throttle stuck open. Luckily you didn't have to get introduced, but usually the corner workers are the Parklagar Algarve World SuperSport team members. So if you ever break anything there on your 600RR, they'll hook you up! Super nice dudes!

Were you able to hold full throttle coming out of the final corner onto the straight? I always wussed out a bit.

Who did you do your track day with?!?!?! Only 40 people?!?!?! That would have been awesome! Track all to yourself! I'll check out the vids later (blocked at work). Really glad someone else was able to make it out to the circuit, it really has to be the best circuit in the world!

Here's the report from when I went:
https://www.600rr.net/vb/showthread.php?t=131315

Do you have a good website you use over there in the UK that lists all the trackdays for the year? I'd really like to hit a circuit over there before I leave Europe.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-19-2009, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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Great vids you got there Rich.
If you ever fancy coming across to UK, here is the site you can use:
http://www.trackdays.co.uk/calendar/bikes/

This is the company I use:
http://www.focusedevents.com/index.asp

We are already booked for Almeria this Dec, Portimao and Valencia in April, and Le Mans in Aug. There's a chance we might be doing Monza as well.

Keep us posted and we might bump into each other, whether in UK or Europe.

Mook

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-20-2009, 03:56 AM
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Thanks for the links! I'm thinking I'll be in the UK for a trackday at Brands Hatch in the Feb-Mar time frame. I'll keep ya posted. Would love to have some guided laps!
Sorry to hijack the thread a bit further but... How strict are the db limits at the Brands Hatch trackdays?

BTW, I checked out your vids yesterday! Way cool! Good job with the picture in picture. Looks like you were coming to grips with the circuit quickly. From the clips I watched you were running near the 2min flat mark! Great job!

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-20-2009, 05:25 AM
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amazing read and great vids, you are living the life my friend. This is my new aspiration for when i have the coin to travel and vacation. Thanks for sharing this.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-20-2009, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocketjockey View Post
Thanks for the links! I'm thinking I'll be in the UK for a trackday at Brands Hatch in the Feb-Mar time frame....
I'll tell you now not to bother.

Weather will be pretty poor any time before April/May, besides, Brands GP is only open a few times in the year. Don't confuse that with the indie circuit which is only 1 mile long.

Noise wise, Brand's limit is 105db. 600RR is ok with baffle. We put them on for noise test, then take them out again.

Gives us a shout. You're more more than welcome to crash at mine, less than an hour away from Brands.

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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-20-2009, 10:33 AM
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