Training Wheel Hero
Join Date: Dec 2015
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
We were on Thunderhill West so I didn't get the cyclone. Still 2 different blind crest turns, just not as intense as the East side cyclone. And I was on the stock tires, which are now at the point of needing replacements. I'm thinking S20 Evo's or the new S21's for the dual compound as I commute quite a bit on the bike, and Q3's will likely get very flat much faster than I'd like.
I can genuinely say I learned more in 1 track day about my personal skills and the limits of my bike than any day I've had in the last year and a half of riding. Looking at my first session versus where I ended up at the end of the day is a night and day difference. I really can't wait to see how this improves my general street riding, and I definitely can't wait to get back out there and run on the track. I'll also be taking some cornering classes in April or May (or both!)
Anyways, I've got a breakdown of the day, some good learnings, and of course, pictures!
The 1st session of the day started to drizzle, and the track just started getting wet. Between that, the nerves, and not knowing the track at all, it was a very slow round. I was in Group D as I'd never been on a track before, so at the very least I wasn't holding anyone up. It was pretty clear on that round we were a bunch of first timers.
2nd and 3rd sessions the track got rain saturated, so the initial slickness and unpredictability was gone from the surface. The 2nd session kind of blew my mind with the fact that I could actually accelerate, brake, and turn the thing in the rain. The smoother the motions, and the more upright the bike was for acceleration and breaking, the better I was coming through turns. I started to push it a little more towards the end of the 2nd, and found my way to the front of the group pretty quickly. 3rd session was even better than the 2nd and it felt amazing. I probably should have moved up to C, but i had plenty of room to skip to the front without much issue and then had plenty of space to work at my own pace. Plus it got me some experience with wide safe passes, so that was good.
During lunch, I talked to the instructors about lines through some of the corners and they had some good tips on that and my body position. Went out for the start of the afternoon and they actually came out with us, and I got a few laps with the head instructor pacing me in a lead/follow to teach me some lines and really showed me I could be waaaaaaay quicker through many of the turns.
On the 2nd lap of the lead/follow, unfortunately I overcooked it coming through an off camber righthand turn after the front straight and ended up having the front tire slip and low sided the bike :( My gear did its job and just has a few scratches on the jacket, and I tore the knee open on the rain over pants. Leather pants came out completely unscathed, as did the helmet, and gloves and boots are just a little muddy. I don't even have any bruising or soreness from it. I basically did a baseball slide, and the bike landed on sliders and just slid right off the track until it stuck the right front clip-on in mud. The tail section had a decent chunk taken out of it, and there some scratching on the nose, but for the most part, it just got dirty and I need 1-2 new plastic pieces. And the even better news is that I had thrown on a set of cheap China fairings a while ago just in case..... didn't even bang up the expensive OEM plastics!
Walked it off the track, dug all the mud out of it, hosed it down, and managed to only miss one session while the weather and track cleared up. I got right back on for the last 2 sessions of the day, and got to do an even better lead/follow with the same instructor on a dry track and it felt downright amazing. Even though I did get a little overzealous and dumped it, I learned a ton and really improved my skill and confidence. I had a huge smile on my face the entire day, even in the rain and the mud, and have plenty of places where I can keep improving to make myself a better rider.
I also couldn't believe how friendly and helpful everyone was in the paddock. There was always someone willing to share a tool, towel, a dry spot to stand, or a hand to load and unload bikes. Especially after I crashed, plenty of people who saw it happen (because of course it was right in front of everyone) came over to check in on me and lend a hand, and that made me want to get back out there even morel A big thanks to the guy on the ZX6R who stopped to help me pick the bike up even though it cut into his track time!!!!