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Reference Points


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I understand the importance of having and using reference points to determine location (for various purposes), but I never seem to have enough time to find good reference points. The Level II exercise was useful and instructive but not really practical conduct during a track day. One is not allowed to walk around on the track to really see it up close and personal and the couple of "sighting laps" at the beginning of each track day don't provide me enough time. I try to spot reference points during the first couple (tire warmup) laps each session but then must bring the speed up or risk interfering with other riders. Do I just need to keep trying and, once I've spent enough money and circled the track enough times, eventually I'll spot enough? The "rumble strips" are good but you need to practically be on top of them before you really see them clearly. The cones are good but they may or may not be placed exactly as they were the last time (by the last track day vendor). Skid marks come and go. Cracks are hard to spot from a distance. My nemesis is turn 9 at Big Willow. Any thoughts?

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I understand the importance of having and using reference points to determine location (for various purposes), but I never seem to have enough time to find good reference points. The Level II exercise was useful and instructive but not really practical conduct during a track day. One is not allowed to walk around on the track to really see it up close and personal and the couple of "sighting laps" at the beginning of each track day don't provide me enough time. I try to spot reference points during the first couple (tire warmup) laps each session but then must bring the speed up or risk interfering with other riders. Do I just need to keep trying and, once I've spent enough money and circled the track enough times, eventually I'll spot enough? The "rumble strips" are good but you need to practically be on top of them before you really see them clearly. The cones are good but they may or may not be placed exactly as they were the last time (by the last track day vendor). Skid marks come and go. Cracks are hard to spot from a distance. My nemesis is turn 9 at Big Willow. Any thoughts?

 

Um, you don't look very ordinary in that PICTURE! No wonder you have trouble finding reference points, your eyes are only six inches above the track! :P I sure wish I could get down that low.

 

I struggle with fidning reference points, too, for the same reasons you mentioned, and it seems like most track day organizations run sighting laps way too fast to be very useful.

 

I haven't ridden Big Willow very much, but for me at Turn 9 the only thing I've been able to find is seams or skid marks, and those aren't great because there are a LOT of skid marks, and they change between track days. What I started doing in 9 is find my apex reference point first (there are some gouges in the track that work well and seem to be permanent), then just waiting, and staying pretty wide, until I could see the apex before considering a turn in, then looking for tire marks in that vicinity to pick a good turn point. Last time I went, there was a triangle of skid marks that was distinctive and easy to see from a distance. The key was to wait until I could see the apex, and after a few laps I had a pretty good picture of what the turn looked like from the general area of turn-in, and that gave me a chance to look for a good turn point reference.

 

I think some people use an off-track reference point for 9, kinda like the water tower for Streets, but I don't know what they use, anyone here know?

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Don't I wish that was me in the picture! Truth is, it's my hero Ben Spies. I've been told by instructors to look for the rumble strip for turn-in at turn 9 at Big Willow. Also, I've seen some good sized cracks at the outside of the track. They recently painted some striped lines for an exit lane that could be used. Takes a real good sized set of you-know-whats to keep your speed up through turn 8 until you spot something, though. Thanks for the reply.

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I start out simple. Rumble strips, cones, and feel. As I progress through the day, I find things that are in the area. Patches of cement, tar snakes, paint, chewed up pavement, and counts of rumble strips (I even use dirt on the track sometimes, but don't tell anyone).

What I did last trackday that will I will carry on to all the other ones, is get off the bike and draw them on a track drawing I've made (not dirt or anything that isn't permanent), and it cements them in better, and before I ride the track, I will review it. Later in the day I wasn't hitting a turn thinking "oh, yeah, that's there," I knew where I was going. I drew out every corner individually, unless one set of RP's was lining me up directly with the next corner.

Talk with other riders that you've seen blaze through the corner, and they'll probably have good RP's for you to at least be aware of. Some are real vague, and there are some riders who whip past me that can't even tell you what RP's they use, but most do.

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Don't I wish that was me in the picture! Truth is, it's my hero Ben Spies. I've been told by instructors to look for the rumble strip for turn-in at turn 9 at Big Willow. Also, I've seen some good sized cracks at the outside of the track. They recently painted some striped lines for an exit lane that could be used. Takes a real good sized set of you-know-whats to keep your speed up through turn 8 until you spot something, though. Thanks for the reply.

 

OK, I guess I should have known that. I'm going to have start watching more racing...

 

I sometimes have trouble using reference points on the outside of the turn, it can make me late in looking for my exit point, and that definitely happens to me at Turn 9 if I look at the paint stripes, it's easy to end up looking at the exit lane instead of up the straight. Once I focused on looking up that straightaway, I was able to tighten up the turn a lot and had a much better drive.

 

Totally agree that it takes nerve to keep the speed up through 8 - one thing that helped me was to really look at the track map, to get a better idea of the actual distance between turns 8 and 9, the straight between them was longer than I thought, and that info helped me be more confident in driving through 8.

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"Reference Points, How does an ordinary rider find them?"

 

Just look for the big yellow X's. :P

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  • 2 weeks later...
I understand the importance of having and using reference points to determine location (for various purposes), but I never seem to have enough time to find good reference points. The Level II exercise was useful and instructive but not really practical conduct during a track day. One is not allowed to walk around on the track to really see it up close and personal and the couple of "sighting laps" at the beginning of each track day don't provide me enough time. I try to spot reference points during the first couple (tire warmup) laps each session but then must bring the speed up or risk interfering with other riders. Do I just need to keep trying and, once I've spent enough money and circled the track enough times, eventually I'll spot enough? The "rumble strips" are good but you need to practically be on top of them before you really see them clearly. The cones are good but they may or may not be placed exactly as they were the last time (by the last track day vendor). Skid marks come and go. Cracks are hard to spot from a distance. My nemesis is turn 9 at Big Willow. Any thoughts?

 

I must have missed this post as searching out RP's is something I am always working on, we had an in depth thread discussing this subject not so long ago that had some really good and helpful input from alot of forum members, worth doing a search!

The reason I'm replying is about what you say about having to get your speed up to avoid interfering with other riders, forget that and learn the track! I dont know trackday rules in the US but here in the UK the slower rider has priority, meaning its up to the faster guy to pass safely! Unless your making any erratic mid corner direction changes the faster riders wont have an issue passing you!

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I guess the overriding question thats sprung to my mind in reading this thread guys is this. What makes a good reference point for you and why?

 

Bullet

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