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Discussion Starter #3
Knightslugger said:
have fun bro!
I said I needed luck man... long story short, I crashed in the second to last session. I'm just fine, bike is about as good as it can be considering the circumstances.

More later, I need beer.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
First Day Story

A little wordy, but here's my first day story from my blog:


So, I had a great first full track day. I prepped the night before, loading a full set of tools, rear stand, lunch, drinks, snacks and other supplies up for the morning. Stacy and I woke early, and we dropped my car off at the track at about 6:30 AM, after which Stacy brought me back to the apartment to gear up and take my bike. I put on my new (used) set of race leathers, and off I went.

I got there just after 7:00 AM, and there were already a handful of people there prepping their bikes. Everyone seemed to be concentrating on getting ready, so I wasted no time in doing so myself. I pulled headlight and signal fuses, removed my mirrors, and began to diligently tape over all glass and plastic with a fresh roll of fashionably blue painter’s tape. Before I knew it, the bike was ready, and registration began at about 8:00 am. I registered, got my paperwork, and a couple of minutes later, rolled my bike up for tech inspection.

I was a little worried about my tires, as they had a little over 5000 miles on them, and were a little scrubbed up from the Taste of Racing the previous weekend - no problems though, I sailed right through inspection, had my bike stickered, and got back to my pit (car trunk). There was a short rider’s meeting at 8:30, where they covered all rules and procedures. Just before 9:00, all riders were invited for a slow couple of laps just to look over the track conditions, which I did.

The day started with the A (advanced) group going out at 9:00 am, followed by the B (intermediate) group at 9:20, and the C (beginner) group at 9:40. This pattern was intended to repeat until 5:00 pm, with an hour break for lunch. The C group was invited (almost required) to attend 20-minute classroom sessions each our, starting with a recap of rules, procedures and safety info for the first hour.

My first session out was relatively slow, as it was cold, the track was damp in places, and the track surface was cold as well. There was minimal passing, and the entire group did a pretty slow pace overall.

After a break and another classroom session, our group gridded up for our next session, only to watch as two instructors were sent down the track to investigate the possibility of oil on the track. Sure enough, there was, so our group was told to return to the pits as cleanup was done.

Almost an hour later, we were again called out for a single 25 minute session, to be our last before lunch. There was a standing yellow flag in turn 1 due to the oil, meaning no passing, and to take it easy in general. This second sesion went much like the first, a little slow, as we really didn’t get the chance to warm up after our extended break.

At lunchtime, there was a drawing for a bunch of prizes, with the grand prize being a season pass to CTT’s events ($2000+), and a consolation prize of a $99 off coupon being given to everyone who didn’t win anything. Well, I have a coupon.

After lunch, we got another session through. A little faster now, as the track was warm and dry, and I found myself not getting passed at all for the first time in the day - that felt good. I began to make my first few passes here.

Another break, during which we were told during our classroom session that we’d be doing a ‘4th gear no brakes’ drill. Basically, get into 4th gear for the entire track, don’t downshift, and only brake if you’re heading into somebody or really get scared. This sounded like it would be no fun at all, but it turned out to be a great exercise. Evidently, eliminating the attention needed to shift and brake allows you to simply focus on getting the bike setup for each turn in regards to speed and position, and also has the side effect of eliminating the ‘upsetting’ inputs of a novice. Basically, you’re along for the ride, and the bike’s going to go where you tell it - and it does, much faster than you were before.

So, onto the next session. I’d made many passes during the previous drill, and was really beginning to have fun - and not getting passed at all. So, I gridded up at the front line, proceeded to take the lead, and did so for what I believe was 3 laps, getting faster each lap. I was having a great time, and was faster and smoother than I’d ever been….

And then came turn 9. Turn 9 is the final turn before you head back out on the straightaway, and I’d been trying to get a faster exit speed here to set myself up for good speed down the straightaway. I had dragged boot toe/peg on the previous lap, so I knew I was really leaning, and on the last lap, I… had the front tire skid out.

Halfway through the ensuing slide, I came to realize that yes, I was in the middle of a crash, and that yes, my beloved bike was skidding away from me (what a sound!). As soon as I realized what was going on, two odd things happened - first, I looked at my gloves (I was on my back) and remarked to myself that yes, they were still on, which was good. Second, I began to wonder why I was only sliding, and hadn’t tumbled or roll. As soon as I thought this, my right side caught, and I was flopped onto my belly for the remainder of the slide. That answered that.

As soon as I stopped, I jumped right up and made angry gestures towards my bike. A second later, I realized I was in the middle of the track, and that it seemed like a good idea to run over towards the side of the track where my bike was resting, almost against the wall. A couple of guys came running out to help get my bike off and check on me, where they were strangely greeted by me smiling. They remarked that if I was smiling, I must be OK. I was.

So, people came over and consoled me, saying the bike wasn’t bad at all. In regards to why the tire went out, several people remarked that it was odd that the front went first - upon hearing that I was running my stock tires, they all said that was it, and that it was time for track tires for me. Sigh.
 
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At least you're fine!

Sucks to hear you went down, but it's better your bike got busted than hearing you have road rash, a broken collarbone, fractured wrists, etc....!

I'd love to hit up a track day next year. I know a couple guys who race amatuer/pro, and am going to tag along next spring to check out what they do. Who knows, maybe I'll even invest in some track equipment and take the EX out for a couple low-speed laps!
 

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Big T's storyreads to me like, "why you should never do a track day" At least not on a street bike. (5000 Miles on a set of tires, makes them only good for starting bonfires)
After 14 years of racing and dealing with Idiot "Experts", I can't imagine being on a race track with a bunch of Newbees.
The whole Idea seems like something Bike dealers thought up to Hype new bike sales. Or maybe the local emergencyRoom was having a slow day.

Before anyone jumps all over me let me explain. With modern bikes being what they are, suddenly finding yourself with out any restrictions is just way over the top. The differences between fast street riding and track riding (racing speeds) is way too much for the newbee to absorb in one or two track sessions. Maybe if you were to restrict all but say 250 cc bikes....

OK Flame away.
FOG
 

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FOG, part of me says you're right which is why I can't flame you, but a big part of me disagrees.

Here's a quick run-down of my trackday history... I did my firste trackday through Tony's Trackdays just 3 months after I got my first bike back in '03... I only had about 3000 miles under my belt. Since then I've only missed one of his events & after I started racing he gave me the opportunity to come and guest instruct a small handfull of times.... so i've seen things from both sides of the fense, both as a newbie and as an instructor.

I can say w/o hesitation, that I have no problem riding next to most people in the beginner group. Even on a bad crash day the ambulances rarely leave the track w/ an extra passenger... and this is at "Notoruiously dangerous Loudon"... the track that was BAAAANED by the AMA cuz it kills riders ::)

Now I absolutely agree that there's a fair share of participants who were lured there by the dealership hype & wanna find out what their brand new Honda Hyabusa R1 ZX140,000 can really do... but those guys are QUICKLY taken care of by the cornerworkers who are in constant radio contact w/ one another & the many instructors who circulate around the track the whole day to both discipline those that need it and instruct those who have a desire to learn.

In the two and a half full years of doing Tony's Trackdays, I've only seen about 5 or 6 really TOTALED bikes and maybe 5 people go to the hospital and they were all non life threatening injuries... simple broken bones, mild concussions etc.

Bottom line here: Trackdays (at least the ones run by Tony) are hardly unrestricted and I'm absolutely convinced that the risk we take during those trackdays are GREATLY outweighed by the rewards reaped by pushing your limits on the track under instructor/cornerworker supervision and the rules imposed by the trackday organizer, as opposed to the streets.
 

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I knew there would be those who would take exception to my remarks, especially those who are heavily involved. (can't see the realities too well).
I maintain that letting a bunch of newbies out on a race track no mater how well supervised is a recipe for disaster. The Tech alone is, as it must be , is very liberal, and just tire alone is a joke. Even a modern 600 is capable of blowing away is tires. and anything but the best race rubber is the joke.

Oh well yada yada, supper calls.

FOG
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well... here goes, no flames intended :)

I am inexperienced, and know it. I always have a lot to learn. I'm 32, and have survived car-wrecks, friend's OD'ing, and had friends killed 'subway surfing'. I'm not fragile, let me have it.

I didn't buy the CBR to get me to work. I bought it because I've worked hard, had some $$$ to spend, and have felt, and decided, that motorcycling is something I wish to pursue. I commute to work in a VW Jetta, and am by any other means, a successful IT professional driving a VW Jetta to work on any other day. I could've, and should've bought a dedicated track bike, but in order to do so, we'd need to analyze components and situations far beyond the realm of this forum. Psychologists and financial advisers need not apply.

Anyhow, I know how dangerous riding a bike is. Really. I have, without doubt, read and viewed as much safety related information as any of you have.

My CBR was not intended to get me from point A to B. When I started riding motorcycles, I was a skinny, introverted and depressed individual who didn't know his place in life. Today, I am a hell of a guy, who loves the act of living - and currently, the opportunity to take something like the CBR out on a track, regardless of my skill, has served as one of the most uplifting moments of my life.

I'm entirely acceptable of the results of my first track day. Since then, I've not been able to come near to the joy that I felt on my previous days of track riding on the street- basically, I'm scared to hell of ever recreating what I did on the track on the road. I've heightened my awareness as to how quickly my riding situation can change, and am very sure that I don't want to test things. I had a great outcome on my first crash, solely because I was in the right place. Had I been anywhere on the street, a tree or worse would've crossed my path - not something I desire.

I would've crashed a 250, no question about it. I've taken a path that is above and beyond probably 4 out of 5 new riders today - don't disparage me because I'm not afraid to admit it, please!

And.. FOG, the first question I had for tech that day was whether or not my tires were up to snuff or not - they replied yes, and the fiancee would have rather seen dollars put toward the wedding that new tires. Since, I've been told that my incident was me or the tires, and honestly, it was me - had I had a fresh set of PP's on the bike, probably wouldn't have happened, but... next day, I'll have the new PP's, and have learned a lot.

BTW, the new dynamic spellcheck rocks!
 
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Alright, so if I want to take my bike to the track this coming year, what should I be doing to prepare myself and my bike for the experience so I don't die?
 

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And.. FOG, the first question I had for tech that day was whether or not my tires were up to snuff or not - they replied yes, and the fiancee would have rather seen dollars put toward the wedding that new tires. Since, I've been told that my incident was me or the tires, and honestly, it was me - had I had a fresh set of PP's on the bike, probably wouldn't have happened, but... next day, I'll have the new PP's, and have learned a lot

This is kinda why I'm a little down on track days. Because your not making a commitment to it (Like going racing) you tend to slough off a lot of stuff as "not worth it for just a one day thing. This might be little stuff like safety wire of major like tires. Even brand new racer replicas are not track worthy without considerable prepping. Simple stuff like correct spring and sag rates can make even race winning bike Eveil SOBs if they are off enough.
Guy's setting out to go racing on the other hand usually seek the advise and counsel of someone with experience, Go to a race school, and don't waste the tire money on stupid **** like food and Mortgages. and have the understanding that you will crash and you might get hurt.
I comend Big T's acceptance of his crash as something to be expected. Unfortunately the promoters of track days tend to gloss over the fact that that's inevitable.

FOG
 
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Maybe I'll just buy this bike http://www.gtamotorcycle.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=65371 :)

Well, I plan to take in a racing school, I'd buy the proper rubber/wire the bike, etc, and I know a couple people who race who I plan to shadow to mentor. I'm curious if anybody has other big tips that aren't too common, and other things to consider when getting into this.
 

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Well a good tip would be: If there's a girl with white and black plates, don't try to follow her, You can't.
FOG
 

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Royson said:
Maybe I'll just buy this bike http://www.gtamotorcycle.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=65371 :)

Well, I plan to take in a racing school, I'd buy the proper rubber/wire the bike, etc, and I know a couple people who race who I plan to shadow to mentor. I'm curious if anybody has other big tips that aren't too common, and other things to consider when getting into this.
I can't see the pics, but if it is a ex500 with a honda f2 front end, fzr swingarm and a tzr250 tail. I used to own that. Traded it to Kneedragger for his stock ex500 racebike so I could race in production twins.
Great guy! and was a fun bike to race
 

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FOG, I agree w/ alot of what you're saying.... I've only attended Tony's Trackday events and Cornerspeed events but I wouldn't say all or even most trackday organizations give you a slap on the ass & say "GO GET EM!" w/o saying anything to you about the negative possibilities.

Both organizations hold extensive rider meetings at the begining of the day and cover the "downside" of pushing things on the track to give people a reality check. Granted, some ignore the warnings, but there are rules in place, that if followed, don't give you much opportunity to put anyone but yourself in harms way.

Here's the rules for the ADVANCED group at Tony's trackdays. http://tonystrackdays.com/bluerules.cfm

Feel free to check out the site for more info ;D
 
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