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Thread: First Track Day Report (5/3 -5/4)

  1. #1
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    Default First Track Day Report (5/3 -5/4)

    To start, this was probably the most satisfying/fulfilling/outstanding weekend of my short motorcycling career. Not only in terms of riding but in terms of sharing the experience with a bunch of other people who are just as passionate (if not more) about the sport. The weekend didn't go exactly as planned but everything about it worked out great.

    The Prep:

    The FZR was in pieces about a week and a half ago and I'd been working like a madman to get it done. Long story short, I didn't clean the paint off of the rotor mount point on the front wheels after Darren powdercoated them so they pulsed during heavy braking and there wasn't enough time to get them cleaned up and put everything back together before Sunday. Ended up having to take the Z which I don't regret at all now that it's all said and done. Still would've been nice to have the FZR but it'll be ready for the next track day for sure.

    Learned my lesson about taking time to get ready. Waited until the morning of to finish packing and it was super stressful. Bike fell over trying to get it on to the double rail trailer which really pissed me off but thanks to some well placed crash bars from Twisted Throttle no damage was done other than to the bar end (which was getting replaced anyways) and obviously to the crash cage itself (more on that later). Track prepped the Z in about 30min the morning of before leaving for Thompson and it really wasn't that bad. Unplugged the fuses for turn signals/headlights, took the mirrors off, and hose clamped the oil filter (more of that later too).

    All in all, got to the track just fine. Had a hitch installed on the TSX the week before and it towed actually quite well with just the one bike on there. I think that there would've been some trouble with tongue weight with that particular trailer trying to tow both bikes so clearly everything ended up actually working out all right.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Kurtz View Post
    If the owner decided tomorrow that we'd change business models and start selling a product that would allow you to force bees to sting babies, I'd stay there as long as they kept compensating me the same way.
    Current Track Day to Crash Ratio: 10:3

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Kurtz View Post
    he's a social liability
    Quote Originally Posted by dynamite196 View Post
    Print this out and send it to the social security office as proof of a mental disability.

  3. #3
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    Arrival and Set Up:

    Got to the track and was really surprised to see that I wasn't the last one there. Showed up at ~9:15am due to some delays on departure and was a bit concerned I'd be the last one there or the garage had filled up. Definitely was not the case. Noel was helping Kurtz do some tire changes and took some time out of his busy morning to help me unload. Got my shit set up and then scooted off to inspection. The nice part about not bringing the FZR was that I wasn't nervous about tech so that was one less thing on my mind. Smutty checked out the Z which only took a few minutes but found I had pulled an engineer and safety wired the oil filter in the wrong direction... Made it through tech and had some time to clean up the Z, unpack my shit, and meet some fellow track riders (or soon to be).

    Day One:

    Riders meeting and the first time track riders meeting. Lots of knowledge and lots of friendly faces. The red group classes were great and hit on a lot of the basics of track-specific riding and how to be safe in and around the track. I ended up going to all of the classes both days and felt as though the instructors and control riders really cared about having you get the most out of your track day.

    Red group pace was very mixed at first. Lots of kids (even younger than me believe it or not ) on very power bikes (S1000RR, R1, etc). Made me a little nervous riding close to them but they were actually the most predictable since I assume they didn't want to bin their brand new $18k bikes . By the third session I had got to a pace I thought was quicker...however apparently with a little guidance from Tony I was made to see the light and realized my line was actually more fucked up than a soup sandwich. Although I had been passing (and sometimes lapping people) it didn't have anything to do with being a better rider or being faster but more so getting away with a sloppy line and sloppy riding form. Tony described it as "you look like you're fighting the bike". Rather than getting upset with me for not understanding the line, he took time out of his day to show me what I was doing wrong, how to do it right, and the tools to correct the mistakes. We would trade positions where first I would follow him and see how to do it correctly and then he'd follow me and coach me after the session on what I still needed to correct. Another control rider (Chris) was paired up with me later on to further refine and build on what Tony had showed me and by the end of the first day I was "back on the right track". Didn't make it out completely unscathed though. On the outlap of the third to last session when I was following Chris I slipped up big time. Throughout the day I had been very conscious of letting the tires come up to temp on the outlap and really getting good body position and looking through my turns. For some reason, when I was told I'd be following Chris, I really turned off my brain...front end washed out in turn 4 and in a shower of sparks and metal I sent the Z into the gravel. It was probably the most surprising crash I've ever had since I wasn't on the throttle, my entry speed was slower than it had been all day, and in my mind I thought we were at a slower pace. Unfortunately, all of those things that I had been doing in turn 4 that were making me relatively successful (read: not crashing) I neglected to do because I didn't take the turn seriously (trail braking, body position, etc). Luckily, very minimal damage to the bike thanks to some well placed crash cages (pics incoming). The bar end got a little scuff and the crash bars got a nice sanding but that was pretty much it. Corner worker helped me pick that big bitch up and I was tech'd and ready for the next session.

    I can't thank Tony and Chris enough for taking a personal interest in seeing me fix my mistakes and become a better track rider. In that first day I think I had learned more about riding (on and off included) than I could have in 2000 miles on the road. Dinner was fun and we had a couple of drinks, met some new people, and swapped stories about the day with what were complete strangers. Even though a lot of these people I had only just met, it seemed like we could go on talking about riding for hours (and we did!). Met up with Jon (JBAX) since he had come out the night before for the dinner and we talked about the first day and what it was like. Ended up going to bed around 10 because I was exhausted from the first day. Tried to stay up with Mike and Steph and Noel but couldn't hang with the "big boys" too long and ended up calling it an early(ish) night.




    Day Two:

    Was much better than day one. With a full day of track riding under my belt I felt a lot more comfortable with the whole atmosphere and a lot less nervous in general about the whole thing. With guidance from Tony and Chris, I continued to work on my line and eventually by the end of the day got to a pretty comfortable "zone". All of the skittishness about passing people went away and before I knew it, it was nothing to pass other riders safely and predictably. The grid was much much much smaller in red group (think less than half) the second day so that probably had a bit to do with feeling more confident around other riders.

    The biggest highlights from the day was following Tony while he rode 2-up and watching Ken ride. Trying to follow Tony even 2-up was a lost cause and when I asked him about it he said: "Yeah, I ride much faster with my wife on the back". It truly is amazing seeing just how good of riders these guys are and watching Ken book it around the track was something else. Coming out of the bowl he blew by me and into turn 9 and 10 like I was standing still...pretty sure my jaw dropped out of the bottom of my helmet. John and I had garage spots next to each other and got to shoot the shit between sessions after the classroom time was over. Had a good time hanging out with him and talking about noob stuff I'm sure made some of the other more advanced riders nearby roll their eyes .

    Finished the day up well without any more crashing and touched bases with Tony to see if I was back on track (no pun intended). Was really surprised he recommended that for my next day at Thompson I sign up for yellow because I really hadn't even thought about bumping up yet, especially after only one weekend. Packing up went well and it wasn't until the drive home that I realized just how mentally and physically exhausted I was from the last two days. Got 26mpg in the TSX on the way home (not bad, right?) and put the girl back in the garage.




    Take Aways, Reflection:

    Very pleased on how the weekend turned out. I feel as though I've improved as a rider more in the last two days then I have in the last two years. There's such a wealth of knowledge and experience there at the track and everyone is so willing to help you out or answer your questions. Honestly, I thought the whole experience was going to be a lot more douchey than it actually was and was very pleasantly surprised to find out it was indeed the exact opposite. My only wish is that I would've come out there a little bit less informed so that I could've had the information spoon fed to me. This was a classic example of where conceptual knowledge far exceed skill/ability and it manifested itself in poor form and specifically in having a jacked up line that needed to be corrected. After Tony and Chris got me squared away I felt much better about everything and so much less pressure to go out there and ham it around the track. By the end, I was much faster when I relaxed versus when I felt the need to pass everyone in front of me.

    The biggest thing I'm noticing now is that (maybe due to fatigue) things just aren't "the same". Now that I've got a taste of that sort of rush I'm thinking everything else is just going to seem that much more bland. Can't wait to get back out there and I'd love to try it out on my other bike just to see how much of what I've learned can be transferred to a different scoot or a different track. Should be a blast at Palmer! (if I can swing it)
    Last edited by downshift; 05-05-2015 at 07:01 AM.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Kurtz View Post
    If the owner decided tomorrow that we'd change business models and start selling a product that would allow you to force bees to sting babies, I'd stay there as long as they kept compensating me the same way.
    Current Track Day to Crash Ratio: 10:3

  4. #4
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    How did you drop the bike getting on the trailer?
    I.... nm...
    Just bring it back when you're done.
    Glad you got your first weekend out of the way.
    LRRS NOV #409


  5. #5
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    Awesome dude. Sounds like you learned a lot, had fun, and are hooked. That's basically the trackday trifecta right there.

  6. #6
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    Awesome man. It's really hard not to love doing this, and Tony's group is very friendly and helpful. Sorry I did not properly introduce myself. I was the tall guy trying to get my gabby friend to stop talking as you were freezing and trying to go to bed Sunday night. Good to hear you enjoyed it and were able to make progress through the two days.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ct1200 View Post
    How did you drop the bike getting on the trailer?
    I.... nm...
    Just bring it back when you're done.
    Glad you got your first weekend out of the way.
    Did I not say I needed help because it weighs 500 lbs and I have no experience loading bikes on single-rail trailers?? So, I did it myself and this is what happened.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Kurtz View Post
    If the owner decided tomorrow that we'd change business models and start selling a product that would allow you to force bees to sting babies, I'd stay there as long as they kept compensating me the same way.
    Current Track Day to Crash Ratio: 10:3

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Kurtz View Post
    Awesome dude. Sounds like you learned a lot, had fun, and are hooked. That's basically the trackday trifecta right there.
    theres a reason we call them crack days. The more I do, the more I want to do.
    -Gabe, is a racist.

    Matt 9/19/10

  9. #9
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    Glad you had a good experience - Tony is awesome, as are the rest of the staff, and he runs a great track day.

    I'm hoping to swing Palmer at the end of the month but not sure about my way up and back. Riding the 2 hours up, and 2 hours back makes for a long day.
    Matt V. 9/19/10

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by downshift View Post
    The biggest thing I'm noticing now is that (maybe due to fatigue) things just aren't "the same". Now that I've got a taste of that sort of rush I'm thinking everything else is just going to seem that much more bland.
    Sounds like you've got a nasty track hangover. Be forewarned, street riding will never be the same again.

    I did a lap around the pits looking for your FZR on Saturday, was disappointed not to see it. I realize now from reading your post that I was almost right next to you in the garages, on a silver SV (started the day with bodywork, took it off half way through). I didn't introduce myself, but I was checking out your nifty crash cage thing at the end of the day.

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