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Apollo

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Apollo last won the day on July 21 2019

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About Apollo

  • Rank
    Cornering Artist
  • Birthday 07/25/1987

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    Male
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    Southern California

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  • Have you attended a California Superbike School school?
    Repeat offender

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  1. Are crash repairs included for free? If repair costs were of no consequence: Honda RC-213V-S. Are motor rebuilds included for free? If so, a Honda NSR250 250GP bike.
  2. Sorry to hear about your crash. Things are always clearer in hindsight. Did you write down your concerns on the end of day questionnaire for the staff? You should definitely raise your concerns with them. I would like to offer my two cents as a random passerby, for what it's worth. Hindsight is always clearer though. If you're coming in too hot, screw the drill for that corner, you should always use the brakes rather than chance it. Ultimately, safety is the #1 priority. There is always the next corner to practice the no brakes drill. Just as an FYI for when you return, the 3/4 no brakes first session does not end at level 1. Although your peers might have said they all use the brakes, I can say that most riders I've seen while cornerworking do follow the no brakes drill for the most part. The issue isn't gear selection, but throttle application on the preceding straight. First session is slow. That being said, I have definitely overcooked a few corners and had to use the brakes.
  3. Another street 300 person here. I had a 300 for my street bike for 3 years, after two 600 supersports and before an 1100 Hypermotard and a 1200 Thruxton R. Compared to a bigger bike, the 300 does require more awareness of what gear you're in to ensure you don't bog if you need sudden acceleration. One will definitely shift a lot more than an S1000RR on the street that only needs first and second gear. That being said, I really enjoyed my 300 and never found it lacking at reasonable street speeds below 100mph. It does significantly better at freeway speeds than the old 250s. In terms of acceleration for real world street situations, I never ran into any issues of wanting more except for coming off a stop light next to a bigger bike. The light weight made it a cinch to move around. To be honest, I don't think the 300 lacks much in terms of usability. But I also prefer a short geared street bike so that I am engaged and rowing through the gearbox. Personally, a liter bike on the street was one of the most boring in-town/canyon scoots I've tried since second gear was already "significant trouble." The only reason I sold my 300 was to get a Hypermotard 1100, and I regretted that decision.
  4. Thanks for the update, Hotfoot. I was able to connect with Cobie through email and we've got our chat scheduled to discuss my history of crashing. Considering I'm just now getting around to re-painting the track bike, maybe this will keep the paint job clean for a little while longer. 🤣
  5. Thanks, Cobie! Edit: Tried to send you a message, but it said that you cannot receive messages. I sent an email to your superbike school email from a few years back. If there is a different email to reach you at to arrange a chat, please let me know. Thanks!
  6. I'm always open to more discussion and thoughts from another vantage point, especially as there's not much else we can do with motorcycles right now. However, I don't think that my crashes are tied to left versus right so much as they are feel and seat time issues. The issue of front end feel in different conditions has been an issue you and I have discussed. Feel-wise, there are the two ends of the spectrum, low grip and high grip. When the tires are cold or the ground is slick, there is the bowling ball feeling where the front feels light. In contrast, when the conditions are perfect, the front end bites/pushes into the asphalt and the front suspension "loads more." My continual issue, one I've tried to work on with dirt trail riding, socal supermoto, and cornerspin, is increasing pace without overstressing the front end. My entire history of track crashes and my self-assessments: 1 - Sears Point - right T4 - perfect weather - This was a long time ago, and my second time on track ever. It was a CSS school day. I came in hotter than ever before. I was knee down with neutral body position, on barely cracked maintenance throttle, and running wider than I expected. I made the mistake of added more lean angle. I remember hearing the footpeg start to grind as I tried to tighten the line. Then the rear let go first. In retrospection now with more riding experience, I would approach such a situation by trailing in the brakes until my lean angle, speed, and trajectory were what I wanted before releasing the brakes. Hook turn and letting the bike run all the way out to the rumble strips would be other steps. 2 - Sears Point - left T3 - rain and standing water - Literal first lap, thought I could tip toe across a stream of water instead of going way off line for a slightly drier spot. Front tucked with barely any lean. 3 - VIR - right T12b (hogpen) - rain - I overtaxed the front. I was slowly pushing more and more each lap. I remember specifically tipping into T12b and immediately thinking "this is probably slightly too fast for the conditions." I tried to stay loose on the bars and just let the bike track on the line. I didn't feel warning signs from the tires, only in my mind. I was mainly focused on not upsetting the bike in the downhill turn, and it was just the most predictable front end tuck. In retrospect, I wonder if I should tried to stand the bike up and go onto the outer dirty part of the track while scrubbing speed. 4 - Buttonwillow - right T4 - perfect weather - This was all me and a focus issue. It was my first weekend at the track. I was riding a Ninja 300 and getting a bit frustrated with packs of bigger bikes with more straight line speed and slower cornering speed. This was pure stupidity. In a judgment call, I decided to make an outside pass. The plan was to carry more cornerspeed, run it out to the rumble strip, and hopefully beat the other rider to T5. I ended up a few inches wider than I should have, hit dirt on the outer edge of the rumble strip and lost the front as I still had a small amount of lean angle. 5 - Sears Point - right T3a - cold high 40F - I came off warmers early (Pirelli Superbike slicks) to link with a trackday coach to see their lines. We ended up sitting on the pre-grid for a while where my tires were cooling. As it was our first time riding together and due to the weather, the coach took it extra slow (let's ballpark 30 seconds a lap off hot pace) as we rode in traffic for 2 laps. Then, we slowly started moving the pace up, but we were still crawling. I was trying to mind my tires, and increasing the pace and load bit by bit to get them heating up rather than continue cooling. I thought I had a sizeable safety margin (probably still 15 seconds off hot pace, running a lot less lean angle) while leading when I came over the crest in 3A and the front tucked without any discernable warning over the crest. By crest in 3A, I mean the slight crest or transition from uphill to flattening out on corner entry as we make the run up from 3. So clearly, I did not have the safety margin I thought I had. 6 - Thunderhill - right T14 - mid 50F - Second practice session. I was taking it easy and going maybe 80% (ballpark 10 seconds off my ideal conditions lap time). I was almost at the apex and just released trail braking when the front let go. I didn't sense any warning slide or anything. I will say though, about 1/2 way to the apex from turn in point, I did think that I felt a bump but then it smoothed out before where I lost the front. Ended up taping the bodywork and racing 3 seconds off pace later that day. So that is my tale of woes. I'm felt front end and rear end slides before under ideal conditions on track, but those are the exception and not the rule. Mostly, I find myself on my side before I really figure out front end feel under less than ideal conditions. I've heard from fast racers that they feel the front end go light/shimmy as they increase lean in poor conditions, and that's when they know to stop increasing lean angle. But I'm definitely not there in terms of feel.
  7. I've always preferred right turns. I think part of it is a mental issue of having my upper body be closer to the throttle hand. To this day, when learning a new track and gradually increasing speed, I find that I usually increase speed to the point of touching down knee with right turns first. Then again, 5 of my 6 lifetime track crashes have been right turns though. 😅
  8. What kind of riding you do on the street will likely be the deciding factor for a street bike. Although I enjoyed having small bikes for street bikes, I definitely feel safer with a big bike to power away from dangerous situations. Also, I do not ride on the streets at a pace where a small bike versus a big bike makes a difference. Although I ride a 450 at the track, I have a 1200 Thruxton R for the street. That being said, if the street riding was all sub 70 mph city riding, I would go with a 450-700cc supermoto. But wheelies are illegal. The big bike versus small bike difference is more apparent at the track for me. You will learn to carry more cornerspeed on the small bike in order to keep up with bigger bikes. The new Ninja 400 is really the bike to beat in this category.
  9. VIR's staff are fantastic. Hopefully, May works out for you guys and everyone can start getting back to some sense of normal. 1) Most of the time, you can get into the paddock after 5PM or 6PM the day before. There may be a delay if there is a major professional event the day before. 2) I have not done this before, but like Cianciotta said, I would check in early. I would probably contact Whitney at the office beforehand and see if she can check in with JJ. Otherwise, try to catch him in the paddock early (ideally, the day before when they are setting up or asap in the morning). The mechanics have a lot of set up work in the morning, and you'll also need time to remount your rims before the day begins.
  10. I think you're getting hung up on the "2 second" window. I don't think of trail braking as a defined time period. As you said, the issue is about loading the front suspension to not upset the bike. And as Hotfoot said, each corner brings about its own unique features, which will affect trail braking and when you transition to the throttle. All things the same (body position, etc), for a given lean angle, what happens to your turn radius when you decrease speed or increase speed? Does your turn radius decrease if you only decrease speed and change nothing else? For example, if you turned in and hit your desired lean angle at 70mph, what would happen to your turn radius if you used maintenance throttle to hold your speed at 70mph and what would happen if you continued to slow down below 70? Even if your rate of lean is what you want, trail braking is yet another component that dictates your turn radius and affects your line. For high speed, large radius corners, I will have a longer time and lighter pressure trail brake than I would with a slow, tight radius corner where I will have a higher brake pressure but shorter period of time trailing the brakes. In terms of traction, your tire has 100% of available traction for a given situation and you're trading that 100% between cornering and braking. The more you're asking of the tire for cornering, the less % you can demand of it in braking. Personally, trail braking didn't begin to click until I was riding at an upper intermediate group trackday pace. Initially, I would just lightly trail on the brakes on the run down to the apex to avoid 1) coasting and 2) adding throttle while increasing lean angle. This helped me increase my corner entry speed as I would work on increasing my entry speed so that I didn't feel like I was overslowing by trailing in. Also, I would always have the safety net of the trail braking to scrub speed if I came in slightly faster than I was comfortable with. Eventually, when I would overcook an entry (relative to my abilities), the trail braking started to click as I used more braking force and would feel the bike tighten its line as the speed decreased.
  11. I try. That's about all I can answer with. I think riding in the dirt is extremely useful for learning to feel how the bike moves around. It has showed me what the rear stepping out feels like and to feel how the rear comes around when you're on the gas. To an extent, it has helped with my front end feel, as you will feel front end slides. The biggest benefit is that you can crash without a hefty repair bill. Basically, you can push past the limit, pick up the bike, dust yourself off, and continue learning. If you're in the US, you have a number of instruction options including Rich Oliver's Mystery School, Cornerspin, and SoCal Supermoto. In all honesty, as a not-fast rider, riding in the dirt has helped me quite a bit but it isn't a total panacea. I definitely have not gotten past the ride "wheels-in-line" phase on the track bike. And I still need a lot of work on learning to feel feedback from the front end in terms of how far I can push in non-optimal conditions. Almost all of my track crashes have been tucking the front end in cold/wet conditions. And as Cobie and Tim can attest to, it took me a while on the slide bike to even get it barely moving. I attribute this more to a mental block in my head--about the heavier and more expensive to repair track bike--than anything else though. But in summation, yes, I highly recommend riding in the dirt.
  12. Thanks, Jaybird. I appreciate the thoughtful reply. I think my issue/question is different from the baseline ergonomics. My handlebar setup does follow the usual recommendations, and the angle and reach are fine. And my issue is not necessarily braking comfort. I do agree that Dylan's wrist angle video is relevant to my issue. Part of why I "overgrip" is to get that flat wrist angle when I am at full throttle. If I merely screwdriver with my hand set rotation wise where it is during braking, I end up rotating past flat wrist as I reach the limit of "screwdriver ability" before full throttle. This is on a stock throttle R6, so no quick turn throttle. The brake lever is adjusted as far as it will go without hitting the front stay. Now, maybe a quick turn throttle is a bandaid, but I feel like there is potentially more to this issue as there are many faster riders without quick turn throttles From what I can see on onboarding footage from Scott Redding and other riders, they are similarly "overgripping" when they transition to the gas after they release the brakes. That is, they are also gripping with their hand rotated forward more than when braking. With this method, I can get a good wrist angle and body position while on the throttle. But, the issue is that due to the overgrip, when rolling off the throttle, the hand would roll past the braking position to fully close the throttle. So far, I have been partially letting the throttle slide in my hand to get both the throttle fully closed and my hand rotated to the braking position. So I guess my questions are more: Is anyone "overgripping" on transitioning back to the throttle after brakes? Or are my eyes playing tricks on me when watching MotoGP riders transition? And if overgripping, what technique are riders using to let the throttle fully close while getting the hand to the braking position? Because the throttle has to rotate more between close and full than the hand between braking and overgrip full.
  13. Thread revival here. So I have recently been running into a mental conundrum with the screwdriver hand, so I thought to bring it back to the forum. Admittedly, it has been quite a while since I did the level with screwdriver hand and I have not brought it up in L4 yet. My issue concerns when regripping or how resetting the hand for braking works. So the concept of holding the bar like a screwdriver on the inside bar seems clear from a fundamentals perspective. However, in application, I find that the only way I can really set my hand in the screwdriver position is to "overgrip," which is to say that I roll my inside hand forward over the bar more than a straight hold. If I try to just switch to a screwdriver hand at the same position on the bar as a straight hold, I feel like I bind up and am restricted by my wrist movement from getting the hook turn drop. From watching on-boards of Scott Redding, this overgrip seems to be what he is doing also. Left handers aren't an issue. In right handers, this works fine on corner exits as I can get to full throttle while keeping my wrist in the middle of its range of motion. My issue is in braking for the next corner after being at wide open throttle. With the overgrip, if I just roll off while having 100% grip on the throttle, I would end up with the throttle still applied when my hand rotates forward to the "braking position." It would seem that there is some degree of releasing the throttle slightly so that it slips and rotates more than the throttle hand rotates. So far, I have been experimenting with this where I am 100% grip rolling off for the first 3/4th of the roll off and then letting the throttle slide inside my grip before 100% gripping again to fully close. I can't quite make out what Scott Redding is doing from his youtube videos, and there doesn't seem to be much posting on this. How are you all doing this?
  14. One thing to try may be remind yourself mid-corner to relax the outside hand on the external handlebar. Maybe something as simple as opening your hand slightly more than your normal grip. This can be a reminder to not push, or at least it will draw attention to your outside hand and make you recognize when you are pushing.
  15. Yep, I'm a repeat level 4 offender. I recall the pick-up drill and we did the slide bike last year at Streets regarding pick-up and throttle. However, all of the front end tucks in cold/damp conditions have been corner entry, pre-apex, off trail braking already, either no throttle or just barely cracked (not even at maintenance throttle yet) rather than a corner exit issue. By crest in 3A, I mean the slight crest or transition from uphill to flattening out on corner entry as we make the run up from 3. I do know from photos that I'm still not dropping my upper body enough for hook-turn, and am kind of riding Colin Edwards head high (photos below for reference of my current positioning mid-corner). This issue of getting a lower and off to the side body position has been something I have been trying to work on, to help out the tires a bit more. However, in the case of the front end tucks, I'm right around where I would be implementing the hook-turn drop anyways when I lost the front so I'm not even sure that would have helped. At least so far in my mind, it seems to be a calibration issue between my perception of how much flex the front tire is giving and how much I can actually increase my entry speeds lap over lap when warming up a cold tire? Maybe not? At the same time, I was probably mentally pushing in places and times I shouldn't (esp after sitting on pregrid) because I see the front runner expert club racers are able to turn faster laps in the same track conditions. Thanks, Allard P.S. All this just suddenly brought back a flashback to some time pre-2010 with the school at Sonoma when Karel Abraham passed three of us setting up for the chicane 3/4 no brakes and a coach lowsided on entry right in front of us while trying to stay on his tail.
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