Join Date: Aug 2005
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Well, Here's the update. I got to CMP for the track day on Saturday & started with the fresh set of Pilot Powers. Got them scrubbed in the first session & started giviner in the second session. They felt okay, but once I started pushing it, they were all over the place. They were slipping in a bunch of the turns & wound up stepping out on me in each of the double apexes of turn 4/5, then in 6 & finally at the last right hander coming onto the start/finish straight. To say that I was unhappy with this would be a tremendous understatement. During the next couple of sessions I tried alternating between staying in second gear for these corners & trying to be lighter on the throttle & coming into them in third so that the rpms were down to keep them from spinning/stepping out on me. Neither was very satisfying. I would either be nervous about being in second or pissed that I couldn't get a good drive in third. My solution was kind of a compromise between the two. On the corners that I was really nervous about stepping out, I would come in to them in third & as soon as the bike was close to upright I would bang it down into second to get the rpms up then shift quickly to third & so on. It seemed to work pretty well but I was definitely NOT happy with the Pilot Powers.
As a reference to my pace; NESBA stages in two lanes. The left lane is the faster one & the closer to the front you stage, the faster you're supposed to be. I ride in the Intermediate Group & I would stage in the left lane about 8 bikes back. This put me at the back of the first group to get on the track. This is where I like to be because I like having to chase bikes down. In each session, I would chase everyone down until I was behind the group control rider. He would spot me & pick up the pace. I would ride on his ass for a few laps, then he would wave me by to shadow & watch me for the rest of the session. I'd never see any of the guys I passed & would catch up & lap some of the slower traffic. At the end of the sessions, I'd stop & talk to the control rider looking for input. He was very pleased with my form, lines etc & said that at this point, I can either be the fast guy in Intermediate or the slow guy in the Advanced Class. At this point, my bike isn't set up for the advanced class, so I'm opting to get a little more experience in the "I" class first.
Anyways, at the lunch break, I talked to a bunch of people about tires & decided to have a set of Dunlop slicks mounted between sessions in the afternoon. Please understand that I don't think I'm a Hero & a lot of guys are going a lot faster than me on DOT race tires. My biggest reason for going with the slicks was because everyone was telling me that I'll get a lot more life out of them than with the DOT's. I'm not a rich man & my wife was starting to add up the costs of these track days & wasn't too happy with the bill for tires. My wife & I also made a deal that weekend. If I agreed to take my bike off the street completely, then she would fully support my new addiction. I took about a nanosecond to decide. So, for $270, I got the Dunlop slicks mounted & balanced (Great price- thanks NESBA)
The next session I took it easy for a few laps to get them scrubbed in (I was warned that they take longer to heat up & will initially feel pretty slippery). Once I started picking up the pace, I was absolutely astounded at how much better they gripped than the Pilot Powers. I was getting hauled over at ever greater lean angles & was running through the turns several MPH faster. The biggest surprise came in the turn 4/5 double appex that was giving me fits earlier. I had so much confidence in these new tires, that I was getting thru these turns at a high enough RPM in Third that I was getting the same drive out of the corners as I was in second earlier in the day when I was risking having the rear step out on me at any moment. All I can say is WOW!
The bummer came when I got off the track after that session & my wife told me it was time to start packing up. I had lost all track of time & was convinced in my head that I had at least one more session before the end of the day. :-(
I am thrilled with the slicks & can't wait to run them at VIR next month. We're going to go for Sunday & Monday. Sunday will be the Patriot course & MOnday is the full course. I CAN'T WAIT!!!
I've decided that after the VIR weekend, I'm probably done for the season & will sell my street bike. I'm going to be looking for a fully prepped race bike in the off season to buy so that I can start next season off right. I'm really interested in getting into racing but I'm going to have to wait & see about financing & support from my wife in that regard. At the very least, I will be running at least one track day weekend a month & will be doing 2 day events instead of the Saturday only's I've done this year. I am hooked really badly & can't get enough of the track. I still can't believe that I didn't even hesitate to give up street riding in exchange for full support doing track days...
Anyways, thanks for listening everyone.
Have a great day,