PittsDriver

Video Critiquing

32 posts in this topic

OK, Hans has inspired me to post up a video from a track day last Monday. This was my first track day since attending CSS Levels 1&2 camp at VIR in May and it was about 35 years before that that I had been on a track. Inconsistency is my middle name but I'm throwing this out there for some brutally honest feedback on anything you kind folks see that I could improve upon for my next track day.

 

This was in the novice group at Summit Point Main course on an S1000RR:

 

http://youtu.be/lX0pxXMDF5g?list=UU1QkXTbxY9px_OVg0BX8Hig

 

Wes

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Wesley;

I couldn't believe that green bike got around you at 10:35 or so and you didn't get him back. It looked like you reeled him in until those back markers held you up!

All kidding aside I thought you were pretty consistent and your throttle roll on seemed solid. Your lines will get tighter with more seat time but you maintained the same line on almost every lap. I bet they bumped you up by the end of that day.

Rainman

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Yeah, that looked pretty good to me. There are a series of apexes in the 'middle' of the track that you were always missing, so you probably need some new reference points there, but that looked better than novice group to me!

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Hard to criticize someone who is blowing by every other rider like they are standing still....

 

If you want "brutally honest" (i.e., nitpicking)....

 

1) that series of two corners at 1:15, you seem to be missing both apexes there every lap. If you see yourself doing it constantly, why not experiment with moving your turn in points, sighting the apex better, turning it harder, etc.?

 

2) I am not really seeing sharp "quick turns". This may be because of the tack layout to some extent - it seems to be mostly fast corners, which tend to require more gradual turn in.

 

3) The corner at the end of the long straight you do not seem to have figured out to the extent that you can make one single, clean steering motion. You seem to set your lean angle in multiple stages there. That corner seems to have poor visuals but when you get it sorted you should be able to clean it up quite a bit.

 

Nice riding! Having a zillion horsepower is great fun but also hides mistakes to some extent....when you get a corner wrong and lose momentum it doesn't matter much because you just twist the throttle and pass everyone anyway. It can make it harder to identify where you are weak.

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Wesley;

I couldn't believe that green bike got around you at 10:35 or so and you didn't get him back. It looked like you reeled him in until those back markers held you up!

All kidding aside I thought you were pretty consistent and your throttle roll on seemed solid. Your lines will get tighter with more seat time but you maintained the same line on almost every lap. I bet they bumped you up by the end of that day.

Rainman

 

Actually, Wes, that green guy had much better lines in the part of the track after he passed you. I would spend some time looking at his turn points and track position. That's why he kept making ground, I think. He was hitting his apexes pretty consistently.

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I really appreciate the candid feedback guys and yes, I was grinning ear to ear letting my S1000RR off the leash. There were two places that I felt I never sorted out:

 

- turn 3 (the first left hander) I never sorted out that apex and was nearly always wide there. I think it was a place that I set up to pass so often that I grooved the wide line but at speed and in the clear it had me at the right edge of the track too often

 

- coming out of the carousel (turns 6/7) I got better at clipping that apex but then wouldn't work the bike back into position for turns 8/9 into the short straight.

 

When I go back I'm going to be working on going slower to sort this out and then building my speed back up. That being the case, I'm wondering if I should stay in Novice for now or go ahead and ask to be bumped up to Intermediate. I will say that the closure rate a few times with back markers was attention getting.

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Great video. You are moving in the right direction for sure. Don't have anything new to add that's not been covered. Great downshifting.

 

Speaking of shifting. I'm not sure if you were looking to go faster on the straights but if you are try letting the bike scream a bit more and use the shift lights to make your upshifts rather than using the sound of the engine. There's an amazing amount of power at the top of the rev range.

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I'm wondering if I should stay in Novice for now or go ahead and ask to be bumped up to Intermediate. I will say that the closure rate a few times with back markers was attention getting.

IMHO, you should move up. The closure rate between you and the Novice Group was startling so I wasn't kidding when I mentioned that you probably got bumped up. The fact that you didn't makes me wonder what the control riders were looking at if they didn't see the difference.

 

Rainman

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I'm wondering if I should stay in Novice for now or go ahead and ask to be bumped up to Intermediate. I will say that the closure rate a few times with back markers was attention getting.

IMHO, you should move up. The closure rate between you and the Novice Group was startling so I wasn't kidding when I mentioned that you probably got bumped up. The fact that you didn't makes me wonder what the control riders were looking at if they didn't see the difference.

 

Rainman

 

I originally signed up in intermediate but thought since it was my first time on this track on a bike and the first track session this year other than CSS camp in May, that I wanted to take it easy and ride 7-8/10ths. Honestly, I could have gone faster in the straights but was concerned about my closure rates. Talking to some of the advanced group guys, they were seeing high 150's on the main straight. I can see that happening if I kept it pinned and ice skated my way down into turn one but I wasn't trying to improve lap times as much as work at grooving my vision (2-step) and lines with good throttle control. Looking at the video I can see a few places were I added throttle and lean so clearly that's a place I need to back up and figure it out. One place I did that was in turn 2 which is kind of like a double apex turn with 1 where I never pick the bike up but just keep adding juice. It was a good place to pass so sometimes I would jump on the gas while leaning back in to turn 2 - not good.

 

I ran these sessions in race mode on the bike and one of the things that was a kick was how it would oscillate these little lofties accelerating hard down the straights. On the main straight even short shifting at 11-12K it had the front tire skimming the track for as long as I kept it pinned. I'm totally hooked now and I can't wait to get back to CSS camp levels 3/4 in the spring. My time spent at the 1/2 camp in the spring made a huge difference in my confidence at this, my first track day. Thank you CSS and Giddy up!

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I'm wondering if I should stay in Novice for now or go ahead and ask to be bumped up to Intermediate. I will say that the closure rate a few times with back markers was attention getting.

IMHO, you should move up. The closure rate between you and the Novice Group was startling so I wasn't kidding when I mentioned that you probably got bumped up. The fact that you didn't makes me wonder what the control riders were looking at if they didn't see the difference.

 

Rainman

 

 

From what I have seen in my trackday org you generally have to "work with" one of the control riders for them to be willing to go through the hassle of the paperwork in involved to get you a bump. Unless it's super obvious to everyone they tend to try and look away from extra work. They also tend to be wary of riders they have not seen before. When they see a new rider going fast sometimes they are expecting them to crash.

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S1000RR:

 

 

Wes

 

 

 

out of curiosity and a side question, the S100RR is on my hit list when I have the full amount in cash in a couple of years - I've read all the fantastic reviews and the cons - can you provide a brief input on your opinion on the bike? Would love to hear first hand feedback :lol:

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I'm wondering if I should stay in Novice for now or go ahead and ask to be bumped up to Intermediate. I will say that the closure rate a few times with back markers was attention getting.

IMHO, you should move up. The closure rate between you and the Novice Group was startling so I wasn't kidding when I mentioned that you probably got bumped up. The fact that you didn't makes me wonder what the control riders were looking at if they didn't see the difference.

 

Rainman

 

 

From what I have seen in my trackday org you generally have to "work with" one of the control riders for them to be willing to go through the hassle of the paperwork in involved to get you a bump. Unless it's super obvious to everyone they tend to try and look away from extra work. They also tend to be wary of riders they have not seen before. When they see a new rider going fast sometimes they are expecting them to crash.

 

 

So on the first track session I tootled around in the control rider's group for about half the session just familiarizing myself with the track, where they placed some cone markers, and riding out in areas off the line to see where there was extra room on the track (like the CSS left, right, middle drill). With about 5 minutes left in the session I finally decided to break out of that group and passed the control rider. He must have jumped on it pretty quick because he repassed me in what I thought was a pretty tight pass and asked me to follow him by tapping his tail. He upped the pace for about 3/4 of a lap and kept looking back at me right behind him and after that waved me by. I heard him ask the registrar between the first and second session and she said "he signed up in intermediate but swapped to novice because it was his first time on the track." After that, the control riders pretty much ignored me the rest of the day.

 

I'm guessing that unless I asked, they were happy with me romping around in novice figuring I'd move up when I was ready. But since this was my first track day in decades, I'll just ask - should I have handled any of that differently? I'm sincerely asking because I want to be a safe AND fast rider on the track.

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I'm not sure of the rules of the org so I'm going to assume you were fine passing the CR. CR's deal with lots of different people of different skill sets and often get a bit nervous with people they don't know. They see way too many times what happens when people run out of skill. Lots of people hit the track with zero experience and lose their minds and crash. He just gave you a closer look and was comfortable with you and let you move on. If he had been uncomfortable with your riding he would have not waved you by and spent more time coaching. It sounds like you have a decent org. I have been to orgs that have 3 full sessions of no passing follow the leader before they even consider setting you loose in Novice even if they already know you and know you are safe.

 

I think you handled it correctly. Move when you are ready and don't rush things. Quite honestly I would stick around in Novice for a bit. This accomplishes a few goals. The most useful is being able to get practice reading other riders intentions when the speeds are lower and there's a little less risk involved for passing. The second is it allows you to ride at your pace. Novice is a bit slower and if you wanted to loaf around a little to practice drills you could comfortably do that without any worry of being in the way. If you want to go faster you get passing practice. It also is pretty awesome for making you feel good that you are the fastest bike on the track for a while beyond the feel good it builds confidence. Intermediate has a mix of riders that are from Novice pace to Intermediate pace to people trying to get in Advanced in my org and likely is the same in your org.

 

There's an old saying about going slow to go fast. Doing that allows you to fix little issues that become big issues as you ramp up the speed. Do whatever makes you the most comfortable. Being comfortable allows you to have a better time and to get more out of the riding.

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Looked like some fun, conservative and courteous riding to me. :)

 

To nitpick things..

 

First thing… GET OUT of novice. You can always bump down to N for a few sessions at the end of the day to focus on a drill as needed or to just loaf around. The intermediate group is not race paces......

You're running into enough traffic to affect your overall pace around the track.

You're holding yourself back (closing speed concerns). I ride a 250 in the Advanced groups, closing speeds are sometimes an issue but mostly only to fresh A group riders. How do the vet A group riders handle such differences in closing speeds?

Traffic is causing funky things in your riding (more on that below).

 

Overall;

Be more black and white, either on the gas or on the brakes. Try to remove as much engine braking as possible. I am gunna assume this was due to traffic for the most part.

And lines.. but you know that already.

 

Your work on visual skills…

They should include your braking markers, turn in points and exit points. Your lines will tighten up all by themselves once you hone these in more.

A WIDEVIEW is especially important when in the mix of traffic.

Don’t visually linger on the rider in front of you when in traffic or come upon a slower rider. Look through them to your marker and hit it. Again, a WIDEVIEW will aid you in finding a way around while staying on target.

Don’t let the rider in front of you leak their riding into yours. This is a product of visually focusing on them too long. It shows up in your video as a hesitation to get back to the throttle when you should or to pass and mid-corner line adjustments (lean + throttle)

Plan your passes ahead of time. When you see that you are closing in on a rider ahead, plan an alternate line to get around in an upcoming corner or two. How will this help?

 

Are most of these visual skills or other skills?

 

I don't like to just point out areas of improvement when offering up a critique on a video. There should be a balance of positive aspects as well. I really, really liked how courteous your riding was to others. That attention to keeping everyone safe despite any skill/speed differences really goes a long way to keep everyone’s day a fun one. I also liked your level of patience. And… your riding was good too. :) I enjoyed the vid, thanks for posting.

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I really, really liked how courteous your riding was to others. That attention to keeping everyone safe despite any skill/speed differences really goes a long way to keep everyone’s day a fun one. I also liked your level of patience. And… your riding was good too. :) I enjoyed the vid, thanks for posting.

 

I noticed this too. Agree 1000%.

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Challenge question for everyone: How is PittsDriver's patience shown in the video? Hint: It is NOT while on the brakes or brake related.

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csmith12, I really appreciate that you (and everyone else) took the time to look at the video and give me that much constructive feedback. Everything you mentioned resonates with me and gives me some good things to think about on my next day out.

 

Just for reference, the rules in novice were no passing in the corners and all passes had to be with 6' of clearance. We were welcome to pass the control riders anytime we wanted with the knowledge that if they wanted us to follow them that they'd just repass, point, and tap their tail. From what I saw, the control riders spent a lot of time with the slower riders having them follow them on lines and helping open up the back logs that might form from time to time.

 

I tried to treat every rider in front of me like he owned the track in front of us and looked for places where he'd given up a line before I'd seize it. They harped on this a lot in the rider briefing that I'm responsible for the safety of the rider in front of me and if everyone does that we won't be swapping paint. Someone did point out to me that there's a point at about 8:20 in the video where another rider and I on the afternuner split around a back marker that probably had him thinking WTF!?! :-) I think that was fine and he was holding the middle line so that we could go around either way.

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Challenge question for everyone: How is PittsDriver's patience shown in the video? Hint: It is NOT while on the brakes or brake related.

 

I saw several places on the video where he could have easily gotten by by predicting the riders line. He hung back a bit and let them make the first move rather than predicting and potentially guessing wrong. He also slowed his speed and left a reasonable amount of room.

 

I honestly wish more people were that courteous on the track. I think it's the sign of a superior rider myself.

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S1000RR:

 

 

Wes

 

 

 

out of curiosity and a side question, the S100RR is on my hit list when I have the full amount in cash in a couple of years - I've read all the fantastic reviews and the cons - can you provide a brief input on your opinion on the bike? Would love to hear first hand feedback :lol:

 

 

 

I'm not sure I can add anything to what the press has already said about this bike. I'll confirm that it's very easy to ride hard and has a really stunning amount of power on tap. Go to CSS and see for yourself. They've got a whole fleet of them for you to use.

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Agreed, go up to Intermediate next time. I presume that you're allowed to pass in the corners as well in the Intermediate group?

 

As for the 150 down the main straight, I believe I saw you clock 143, so that should be easily within reach.

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It always freaks me out when I get off the bike and realize I just went 140 on that tiny thing. But when you're on it, it doesn't seem all that crazy :-)

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It always freaks me out when I get off the bike and realize I just went 140 on that tiny thing. But when you're on it, it doesn't seem all that crazy :-)

 

Perhaps I'm bent but when I look at the datalogger afterwards it makes me cackle with delight. :)

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I've done about 140 on my bike (calculated based on gearing and rpm, not reading speedo), and personally, even while on the bike it seems totally mad to me. Don't enjoy it at all. But if you are going to record lap times then there is hardly any point if you don't pin it all the way down the straight....so I hold it WOT...but honestly I prefer slower tracks. Sitting on 400 lbs of metal getting pushed through the atmosphere at over 100 mph just seems a tad unnatural...

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Sitting on 400 lbs of metal getting pushed through the atmosphere at over 100 mph just seems a tad unnatural...

 

That's actually what I love about it. One of the biggest joys for me in learning is taking something completely alien and making it suddenly work for me.

 

I had a lot of apprehension towards high speeds for the longest time so I know exactly where you are coming from. I used to wish for tracks with short or non existent straights. Once I faced that apprehension triple digit speeds are like crack and I just want to go faster. I found myself pushing for faster and faster speeds. People must have thought I was crazy heading back and forth between my bike with a USB drive each session and cackling with delight looking at the data.

 

Fastest I have been so far is 154 on the straight at Roebling off of the GPS in my datalogger. I'm going to slowly improve on that figure. There's a lot more speed available on that straight with my S1000RR that I'm just not using yet. Like corners it's an internal battle with your own mind. I love that.

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