Jump to content

Drawing Lines


tweek
 Share

Recommended Posts

Broke elbow no track

Physical therapy sucks

Lines are on my mind

 

During one of the level 4 class room sessions with Mr. Code the topic of the lines I was chasing came up. He seemed a bit peeved that I was not making use of the tape markers he and his crew had laid out on the track. He asked something along the lines of “Do you think we don’t know where to put them?” Clearly that is not the case. I think I don’t understand clearly why they are there.

 

Having read TOW2 many many times and watched plenty of racing it is pretty clear that there are several ‘good’ lines through any track. If there was only one line then there wouldn’t be much passing in turns. You wouldn’t see Bayliss going around the outside of Troy Courser. Or the dog fight between Stoner and Rossi at Laguna. They’d be tucked in single file going through the turns and trying to drag race down the straights.

 

So why are those markers there? It isn’t just for the n00bs obviously. If that were the case Mr. Code wouldn’t have asked the question and responded to me in the fashion he did. So what gives? Is there really only one good line or is there something else going on?

 

Sorry for the Haiku. Been a month sense my last track day and I’m just now ready for another. But I’m still waiting until late August before I go back. Better safe than sorry.

 

See if I can start up another insane thread. I asked one stupid question while trying to figure out how to get my knee down and it goes to 9 pages. Insane I tell you. ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having read TOW2 many many times and watched plenty of racing it is pretty clear that there are several ‘good’ lines through any track. If there was only one line then there wouldn’t be much passing in turns. You wouldn’t see Bayliss going around the outside of Troy Courser. Or the dog fight between Stoner and Rossi at Laguna. They’d be tucked in single file going through the turns and trying to drag race down the straights.

 

I will offer an opinion: If you remove your question from the context of racing and assume that the track is only open to one rider, then there is a preferred line. The line's placement would be affected by the size and type of bike. say 125cc v. a liter bike; or a sportbike v. motard; or a chopper v. a cruiser but all things being equal, there is a place that will allow you to corner a bike using the least amount of energy in the shortest amount of time. That said, racing changes everything. To your point of the SBK and MotoGP races last weekend I would suggest that Rossi v. Stoner supports the preferred line theory. Rossi controlled the race from the front because he blocked Stoner off the preferred line at every turn. When Stoner used his half second speed advantage to overtake Rossi on the front straight, Rossi would out brake him going into T-5 and T-8A (and did it more then once) to retake the lead each time. Stoner couldn't find another line around him and finally went off when he tried to force the issue going into T11.

 

The SBK races would support your point because there were multiple off line passes in both races but your basic question gets compromised because you use racing as the basis of posing it. In qualifying, where racers are trying to find the most efficient and quickest way around the track, you will read about points leaders complaining of back markers being on the race line holding them back which strongly supports the preferred line theory.

 

But bringing this back to the context of the School - where they have collectively enjoyed thousands of laps more than their students, I would think they do know where the line would be.

 

...but what do I know?

 

Kevin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Andy mentioned this when i did my level 1 and said that the preferred line would equate to the fastest line or qualifying line as he put it, but he stated quite rightly that if you stuck to that in racing all the time someone would stick it inside and block you on the preferred line. So as racing shows there are many lines and another rider can easily stop you taking the fastest one if they are on the piece of track you want to use but are going slower.

 

If any of that makes sense! ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to agree with Kevin , take a race situation where 2 racers in 1st and 2nd have a good lead over the racer in 3rd then they both start a battle for 1st place, in most cases the racer in 3rd starts lapping faster than the 2 battling for 1st (Nicky Hayden lap 3 Laguna Seca when Rossi and Stoner were battling out for 1st) this shows that the racer in 3rd has a clear track and can ride his best line, in another way that can make a race seem a bit boring is when the guy in first gets a clear track and both the guys in 2nd and 3rd begin to battle for 2nd and let the leader gap them ( note only boring when the camera is always on the leader!).

 

So as Kevin says, the guys at the school will know the best way around the track, I would definately trust them on that!

 

I know how surprised I was when I came out to do my 2nd session in level 1 as to how wrong the line I was taking was, I started riding the lines that the guys had marked out for us and I instantly felt like I had so much more space and could feel I was lapping faster without much more effort!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Tweek! Welcome back!

 

I'm glad to hear you are healing well and looking to start more trou... erm... another thread.

 

Kevin, Ricky and Bobby said it all really well... but I'm still gonna boil it down to one line and add 2 cents: :lol:

 

 

There is a difference between the fast line and the winning line.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess I'm still not tracking this because while the points appear to make sense reality doesnt quite follow.

 

Before jumping deeper in let me explain my reason for roominating on this topic. Before (ie lean angle) I was chiefly concerned about just maintaining control of the bike. I had not yet leaned a bike far enough to touch my knee down and had noticed that while I was leaned way over other riders with less lean angle were passing me. Now I am able to get to the edge of the bike's grip (and have discovered how careful you need to be when you get there). So the next thing really is where do you go? Great you can lean your bike over so far that you elbow actually touches! yeah! so what? It doesnt really matter if you can't make use of these new found ablities.

 

So now that I can carry more speed through the corners (because I can make more use of the bike's abilities) how do I get even better lap times? I think the answer is figuring out things like reference points and lines.

 

Going back to where I started and chunking it down a bit, lets break it in two. On one hand deal with the context of racing. On the other deal with the context of time trials.

 

In the case of time trials (one bike on the track at a time like WSBK super pole) the rider can use whatever line he choses. If each bike had a GPS tracking unit on it and you collected all of their data I wonder what you would see? Would you see one line through the whole track, would it be thick or thin? Or would you see something like brownian motion? What if you had a lot of different classes participating and you had all their data (125cc, 250cc, 600s, liter bikes, motards and a few hells angles for good measure). What would you see?

 

In the case of time trials I'm will to bet that in the hands of expert riders across all the classes you would actually end up with either concentric lines based on some factor (likely weight) or a fairly thin line followed by all the bikes. Thin line would probably be similar to the mechanical line (outside, inside, outside) you would draw on a map of the track. there would probably be a few variances to account for things line dips, tar snakes, gravelly spots, etc, but overall it would be like the mechanical line.

 

But when you line up a bunch of competitive blokes on their bikes things change. During time trials I bet you don't see too many bikes sliding sideways on the exit of a turn or being backed in to a turn. How do the qualifing times compare to the race times? If a race can absolutely be controlled from the front then why doesnt the guy on pole usually win from the very beginning? If all you need to do in order to win is get on the fast line and go fast then the guy in pole position should be able to win every time. I don't think that happens. We can throw in the fact that we're humans and fallable, but that pretty much does away with there being only one line. The physics might say "this is the line, there shall be no other", but then along comes man and screws it up. He enters the turn 3ft outside the leader but does his turn faster so that he ends up inside the leader on exit. However, physics says "you have sinned against me and I shall smite thee!" and his rear tire begins to slide a tad. But our sinner is a whiley rider and paid attention during level 4 and lets the bike begin to stand up with out giving back any throttle. Our sinner now is the race leader and he did it by not staying on the fast line and briefly stepping over the edge (just to be photogenic).

 

Ignoring my lame sense of homur - is this even possible at a race pace? Personally I won't be givening it a try anytime soon. I make my money writing software not winning races. :(

 

So is there one and only one line? Or are there several?

 

Or Keith's book says "any line that allows your to apply good throttle control is a good line" - is this a round about way of saying - sorry dude - one line or what?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Further consideration brings up a few other things:

 

what are the mechanical line and fast line? Are they always the same or are there factors that influence them? For instance do 600cc bikes have a different fast line from liter bikes? Will a ZX10R have a different fast line compared to a CBR1000RR and GSXR1000?

 

The the mechanical line the same as the fast line?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Kevin answered all of these questions. But...

 

Yes, different size, weight and power all affect the preferred or fastest line for a given machine. The bigger the bike and the more powerful the motor, the "thicker" that line might be depending on riding style for overall speed. But, there will really be one line that is most efficient and puts the least amount of stress on the tires.

 

The smaller, lighter and less powerful the machine is, the more critical entry/corner speed becomes, hence, the less the line can be squared-off and the "thinner" the line will be. Watch a 125 race sometime. Unless there is a battle for position, all the bikes will run a single line that is literally about three inches wide.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I concur with a lot of the above comments re Bike and lines. When I had my ZX12R on track at our tight bumpy circuit I was forced to use different lines than on my 600 simply because the weight, size, HP of the 12R dictated trying to run lines like those of the 600 would put me on my ear! I certainly am always amazed at the speed and lines a 250 GP bike can carry on the same track, ones I cannot on the 600. Interestingly on our track, lap times are all very similar on different types of bikes but how they get them is very different. Our overall number one plate holder has been beating 1000's with a 636 against sometimes very stiff competition. Our track does reward skill and cornerspeed more than horsepower though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey sleepr,

 

What track is it you ride on up there in Winnipeg?

 

r

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess I'm still not tracking this because while the points appear to make sense reality doesnt quite follow.

 

[snip]

 

So now that I can carry more speed through the corners (because I can make more use of the bike's abilities) how do I get even better lap times? I think the answer is figuring out things like reference points and lines.

That's a pretty big subject wrapped in a rather small question, yet, in a nutshell, it boils down to a pretty simple answer.

 

More gas. Less brakes.

 

As for the finer points... buy the books/DVD's, study, study, study and practice, practice, practice.

 

Going back to where I started and chunking it down a bit, lets break it in two. On one hand deal with the context of racing. On the other deal with the context of time trials.

 

In the case of time trials (one bike on the track at a time like WSBK super pole) the rider can use whatever line he choses. If each bike had a GPS tracking unit on it and you collected all of their data I wonder what you would see? Would you see one line through the whole track, would it be thick or thin? Or would you see something like brownian motion? What if you had a lot of different classes participating and you had all their data (125cc, 250cc, 600s, liter bikes, motards and a few hells angles for good measure). What would you see?

You'd see a different preferred line in each class.

 

In the case of time trials I'm will to bet that in the hands of expert riders across all the classes you would actually end up with either concentric lines based on some factor (likely weight) or a fairly thin line followed by all the bikes. Thin line would probably be similar to the mechanical line (outside, inside, outside) you would draw on a map of the track. there would probably be a few variances to account for things line dips, tar snakes, gravelly spots, etc, but overall it would be like the mechanical line.

 

But when you line up a bunch of competitive blokes on their bikes things change. During time trials I bet you don't see too many bikes sliding sideways on the exit of a turn or being backed in to a turn.

True enough.

 

How do the qualifing times compare to the race times?

Typically, qualifying is conducted on special tires that give super-grip for a few laps before they are cooked. So, typically, qualifying times will be faster than race times; but, assuming a different tire is used for the race, the heat of the competition can drive the race pace down to the qualifying time and even surpass it. So, in this case, perhaps being all alone on the track isn't as important as simply having a clear track ahead of you. ;)

 

ETA: Not everyone gets on well with qualifying tires, like reportedly Toseland. And some riders, in the AMA for instance, don't bother using them at all either for economic reasons or merely to minimize the distraction of yet another set up to worry about. At the end of the day, they may only lose a few spots on the grid and have a more realistic idea of how their set up compares and more practice time on their race set up!

 

If a race can absolutely be controlled from the front then why doesnt the guy on pole usually win from the very beginning? If all you need to do in order to win is get on the fast line and go fast then the guy in pole position should be able to win every time. I don't think that happens.

Well, the pole winner does typically end up at or near the front. But, there are many factors involved between qualifying and the race. First, the qualifying session(s) are typically 1-2 days before the race, giving each team/rider time to improve the machine setting or learn the track better. Also, the difference between the first several riders is typcially less than one second. In fact, it's not unusual for the first 3-4 rows to be within one second of each other, that is pole and 12th place separated by less than one second. The difference between pole and 5th place on the grid may be less than three tenths of a second... you could cover them with a blanket in the blink of an eye! So, there just really isn't that much advantage to overcome in the first place.

 

And then, once everyone is together, all sorts of things like holeshots and braking and drafting and passing and blocking and tires and the heat of the moment, ie. RACING come into play.

 

Finally, that single hot lap for qualifying represents a level of riding that usuallly cannot realistically be maintained for an entire race either by the rider or the machine for various reasons including tire compound, tire wear, fuel load and the rider's physical/mental conditioning. More than anything, the heat of competition drives everyone's laptimes down. At best, the grid is a loose indicator of potential. There's nothing like another bike next to you (or in front) to cause the throttle hand to twist a bit harder!

 

Having said all of that, if the gap between the pole sitter and the next rider is big enough, say a half a second or more, like Casey and Rossi last week, it is not unusual for the pole sitter to jump off the line and lead the race unchallenged from "flag to flag" as the saying goes. I have seen it many times in my years at the track. And, in fact, that is what most everyone expected Casey to do last week. Ah, but then there's that little thing called racing again, and a guy like Rossi can qualify on the 3rd or 4th row and still win the race. I've watched him do it more than once this year.

 

We can throw in the fact that we're humans and fallable, but that pretty much does away with there being only one line. The physics might say "this is the line, there shall be no other", but then along comes man and screws it up. He enters the turn 3ft outside the leader but does his turn faster so that he ends up inside the leader on exit. However, physics says "you have sinned against me and I shall smite thee!" and his rear tire begins to slide a tad. But our sinner is a whiley rider and paid attention during level 4 and lets the bike begin to stand up with out giving back any throttle. Our sinner now is the race leader and he did it by not staying on the fast line and briefly stepping over the edge (just to be photogenic).

While the average street squid might be 3 ft off the line from lap to lap, a good rider has the ability to be inch perfect from lap to lap. The best riders can literally put their bikes within about 3 inches of their line lap after lap after lap. Most importantly, they have a plan, a line in mind. And they KNOW where that line is even when they can't see it because other bikes/riders are blocking the view.

 

As for your "sinner", if I follow your train of thought, being faster or off-line in one part of the corner to get past another rider forcing a slower exit, but blocking the rider just passed is what's commonly known as a block-pass racing technique. And though the sinner may be in front, the lap will be slower and anyone behind will catch up. So it's risky business. All of these considerations are part of racing... and were outlined above. You really should re-read Kevin's post carefully and think about it. He covered all of this pretty well.

 

So is there one and only one line? Or are there several?

 

Or Keith's book says "any line that allows your to apply good throttle control is a good line" - is this a round about way of saying - sorry dude - one line or what?

Again... you need to be really clear about the context. Keith is not necessarily talking about the fastest line. He is talking about a good line. Generally speaking, a good line has nothing to do with speed per se. It has to do with control. So, again, there is a difference between a good line, the fastest line, and a winning line. The one you choose depends on you, your bike and what your goal is.

 

racer

Link to comment
Share on other sites

link to our club website here http://www.mrasuperbike.ca

 

and google page here click here!

 

Brainerd International Raceway is about a 6 hr drive south of us.

 

google the "Gimli Glider" if you want a very interesting aviation story, plane was just retired.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Racer. Apperciate the patience while I work through this.

 

I can imagine for some readers looking at this going "what's his deal, its so obvious it shouldnt even bare any thought". And perhaps they are right. I don't race. I go out an play at it on trackdays. Late this year I plan to get my CMRA race license and find a nice beater EX250 to flog around. Then maybe I'll have a better idea of what I'm talking about.

 

'good line' vs. 'fast line' is a good distinction. I just assumed that the good line was the fast line.

 

So I guess it comes down to what am I going to do on the 22nd? Easy - ask one of the nice gentlemen in a blue jerzy to give me a tour and actually pay attention this time. Start working on picking reference points and then consistently putting my front tire through them.

 

Too bad this thread didn't stir the pot as well as the other one....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will offer an opinion: If you remove your question from the context of racing and assume that the track is only open to one rider, then there is a preferred line. The line's placement would be affected by the size and type of bike. say 125cc v. a liter bike; or a sportbike v. motard; or a chopper v. a cruiser but all things being equal, there is a place that will allow you to corner a bike using the least amount of energy in the shortest amount of time. That said, racing changes everything. To your point of the SBK and MotoGP races last weekend I would suggest that Rossi v. Stoner supports the preferred line theory. Rossi controlled the race from the front because he blocked Stoner off the preferred line at every turn. When Stoner used his half second speed advantage to overtake Rossi on the front straight, Rossi would out brake him going into T-5 and T-8A (and did it more then once) to retake the lead each time. Stoner couldn't find another line around him and finally went off when he tried to force the issue going into T11.

 

The SBK races would support your point because there were multiple off line passes in both races but your basic question gets compromised because you use racing as the basis of posing it. In qualifying, where racers are trying to find the most efficient and quickest way around the track, you will read about points leaders complaining of back markers being on the race line holding them back which strongly supports the preferred line theory.

 

But bringing this back to the context of the School - where they have collectively enjoyed thousands of laps more than their students, I would think they do know where the line would be.

 

...but what do I know?

 

Kevin

 

I think you guys know plenty and that I'm just being really slow getting a clue. Looking for that Zen thing. "Grasshopper, there is no line. Now be the line".

 

I've got a few more weeks to think about this and I already have a plan. Unless there is a good reason to change it, I'll go with it. So I'll switch sides and play "there is one line" for a bit and see how that works.

 

And thanks Kevin. Between you and Racer CSS has a pretty darn good help desk.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

'good line' vs. 'fast line' is a good distinction. I just assumed that the good line was the fast line.

 

Perhaps a better distinction would be between a good line and the best line. And, like Kevin alluded, while different lines can be just as fast, one of them will be the most efficient, so to speak.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

google the "Gimli Glider" if you want a very interesting aviation story, plane was just retired.

As a lifelong student of aviation, that is a freaking fantastic story. I can't understand why I never heard about it before. That is the only example I know of a jumbo jet or any commercial jetliner executing an unpowered glide/landing.

 

A minor fire in the nose area was soon put out by racers and course workers armed with fire extinguishers.

And don't forget to give a big thumbs up for our local cornerworkers on your cool down lap folks!

 

Coincidentally, the mechanics sent out to Gimli from Winnipeg Airport were left stranded when their van ran out of fuel...

ROFLMAO

 

 

Thanks for that, sleepr. You made my day.

 

 

Speaking of slips, I should post some youtube links of my favorite 747 cross wind landings from Hong Kong... make your hair stand on end!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry to hijack the thread but the town of Gimli just had a ceremony honoring the pilots and the pilots finally got to meet the boys who were cycling on the runway when the plane came down. I've always found it interesting how just a small but BIG math error (calculating the fuel load) could affect so many people.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Happy landings...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And just for fun...

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODUqJCVL0K4&NR=1

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So here's my question from this topic. I had a similar experience at a trackday a few months back. The cones were laid out for TP, Apex, exit and there were perhaps 2 TP cones that I thought should be deeper. Why not, I could hold throttle longer, turn and still make the corner, right? Later in the day, I decided to "try" the established line and I found that it wasn't the upcoming corner that worked better (I thought it was worse and so goofy) but it made the upcoming SECTION easier.

 

So based on Tweek's original question and my experience, it is just an "experience is best teacher" thing with knowing where you want to put your line?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So here's my question from this topic. I had a similar experience at a trackday a few months back. The cones were laid out for TP, Apex, exit and there were perhaps 2 TP cones that I thought should be deeper. Why not, I could hold throttle longer, turn and still make the corner, right? Later in the day, I decided to "try" the established line and I found that it wasn't the upcoming corner that worked better (I thought it was worse and so goofy) but it made the upcoming SECTION easier.

 

So based on Tweek's original question and my experience, it is just an "experience is best teacher" thing with knowing where you want to put your line?

 

To really comment on that, might need a little more info: was it a section with multiple turns, did you go slower through there, or less in control? In other words, what is the "section" exactly, and what was easier?

 

Best,

Cobie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The section is a downhill series of esses ending with a flat hairpin right. By being easier I meant it felt like it flowed better than the line I had been using. It's at Summit Point, Shanendoah Circuit in West Virginia.

 

The part that I had to change was not going in so deep into the uphill right. At the crest, is a left, which then starts the ess section.

 

It felt like it was less energy, I didn't have to get as hard on the brakes at the top of the crest.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The section is a downhill series of esses ending with a flat hairpin right. By being easier I meant it felt like it flowed better than the line I had been using. It's at Summit Point, Shanendoah Circuit in West Virginia.

 

The part that I had to change was not going in so deep into the uphill right. At the crest, is a left, which then starts the ess section.

 

It felt like it was less energy, I didn't have to get as hard on the brakes at the top of the crest.

 

OK, not familiar with that, but there was something in your previous e-mail that I hadn't really answered. One way to look at a section is to take section lap times. A major tool for chekcing ones progress is lap times. The track can be borken down into different sections, and for reference you could also time others on similar bikes. Sometimes it's not obvious that giving up a little in one area will make another better. I don't recall exactly where Keith has this in the books (anyone?) but he talks about how you make time in the fast corners, so that's another point to consider with how to dissect a section.

 

Let us know what you do, and if this works.

 

Cobie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I saw somewhere that Keith says to make up time in the fast sections and just get through the slow ones.

Unfortunately, at my level my club doesn't allow lap timers. I have to get bumped for that (soon I hope).

 

You say you're not familiar...and I didn't make it any easier describing it in reverse either (my bad).

 

You've answered more questions than I've had the vocabulary to ask. I've been a lurker on this board for awhile, mostly reading Keith's articles. I've only recently decided to register and post.

 

Keep up the good work-EVERYONE.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unfortunately, at my level my club doesn't allow lap timers. I have to get bumped for that (soon I hope).

 

I'm not sure what that means, but, if you mean on board laptimers where you have to set up a beam next to the track:

 

Get a stopwatch and have a friend or acqaintance time you.

 

Of course, you'll need to actually have a friend or acquaintances to do this....

 

What a perfect excuse to make some friends!

 

(I prefer female pit crew myself... :) )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...