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My First Trackday After School.

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I set out to knock off 3+ seconds from my previous times, and was excited about the new information I had to put into practice. The results were amazing. Before CSS I was consistent. 1:08 and I could do it over and over. I didn't have anything new to learn or put into practice, I was the slowest person on two of the three tracks (this was the one I wasn't the slowest in my group), and I had all my RP's, turn points, apexes, etc down.


After my first two laps (warm-up as I don't use tire warmers, and it was 50 degrees) I knew my day, and track day experiences, were going to change completely. I was finding new sections to a track, my lines were changed completely, and I had to adjust all but two out of ten turn points. The two step is something I had to work on ALL DAY and learned that small adjustments in my apexes would change everything.


I also learned things I didn't get from the school. I learned how effective blipping worked for me. I was doing a quick blip, shift, then when I release the clutch there is still a large amount of engine braking. I got the point where I would brake, brake, brake, then shift real quick, THEN before I released the clutch, give the throttle a good goose, and BINGO. Maintaining speed going into the corner; I learned it in my first session, so it was something to work on all day as well. It helped a lot.


It also helped when I needed to downshift behind slower people at odd places so I could jump past them on the straights. Oh yeah. I was passing people in the intermediate group. There were some who were too hard to pass, and I'm not aggressive, so I was stuck behind them. I was blaming it on the other people’s bikes. They have larger engines, and different gearing. I'm completely stock. I always said they can pull away from me on the straights because of that, and now that I can get into and through the corners with about half of them, I can say that I was right all along. I turned one corner into two on a decreasing radius, and had some real good push coming out of the turn, especially using the pickup drill, and they were still gone. Some were just flat out faster, but the only one I could keep pace with coming out of my best corner was some sucker who'd just bought a Buell.


Part of the reason I was passing was because it was cold, and they were somewhat scared to really get on it. The two step has given me so much confidence when dropping the bike in. I still took it easy, but even my warm-up laps were improved. Not in speed, but I felt more comfortable.


Although it made me find new places on the track, the two step put me in better lines, and gave me more consistent lines. I was hitting point after point. The track is chewed, and there is no part on the Vegas track as bad as four out of the most messed up turns on this track, so there was still some hesitance at certain points. I was still more comfortable coming out of the bumpy carousel, which I also attribute to attending the school. Even when passing. Just angling the new turn point, and knowing definitively where my apex was and what my speed needed to be, made passing easier and more permanent.


The problem I had was that I automatically went to the cones on most corners. The yellow X's are tremendous while at the school, but they got me comfortable, and that's a habit I have to break.


The verdict? My times went from 1:08 every lap to 1:10's. I was as inconsistent as the first day I did a track day, and had to change my points repeatedly most of the day. It was great. Before the school, I didn't know there was anything new to learn, and I wasn't going to get any faster. The tricky sections tore me up, and I didn't even realize that I had to take some corners a certain way. There are so many things that I know I have to improve on, instead of just doing the same wrong thing over and over.


I'm doing a different track on Dec 13th, and can't wait. I love the West track, but am horrible at it. I've never ridden up to anyone and passed them in the intermediate group on West, and have been lapped by my fellow intermediate riders at times. I'm almost 20 seconds off the race pace and sometimes just sit up to let riders pass on the straight. I know with what I've learned that is all going to change. I haven't ridden West enough to form the bad habits I have on East, so I feel more confident. I'll let everyone know how West went on the 14th.

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