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GregGorman

Trackdays And Safety

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Gorecki;

 

I had the same experience when I took my then new Ducati to CSS/Watkins Glen many years ago. By the end of the day I proceeded to snap off both turn signals when I hit successive cones going through a left/right chicane the School set up in the Esses there so I know the feeling too well. I didn't want to do any more damage to it so I bought a former track only Ducati from a shop in Texas and have never looked back.

 

To the issue of danger on the track there is no question; track riding can be a harsh environment to ride. As a former member of Sportbike Track Time, NESBA and Team Pro-Motion and having done track days in Canada with other clubs up there I can say without any hesitation that the Superbike School is the safest environment to learn how to corner a motorcycle at speed. With a track club and it doesn't matter which one you choose, there are tremendous variations in skill level just like there can be at the Superbike School but that's where the similarity ends. At a track day, clubs provide control riders who are generally pretty quick but not necessarily trained to be a track coach and since I know some personally my comment is not anecdotal, it is a fact. One huge difference is that at a School everyone is riding to a set program of different drills and are not riding against anybody else. The Track Coaches are actively leading or following their assigned students and when they are not leading or following they are positioned off the track observing their riders so there is no BS allowed on the track. There are strict passing rules (6' clear) and corner workers are all connected by radio with Course Control making sure EVERYTHING is under control.

 

If you have never been on the track I would encourage you to consider "learning" how to track ride before you go out to any track. I have never ridden at Summit Point so I will not offer an opinion on it but the contrast between a track day and the Superbike School is so stark that you may be turned off to track riding if you go out there without training. This may sound like a shameless plug for the School but my observations are not unique - I also recommend that you ask around.

 

If you are close enough to get to Summit Point then NJMP and/or VIR are within reach for you and the School has multiple dates at both tracks. I would also ask others here to chime in on this thread because as a Forum Moderator I may be too biased in my response to you.

 

Rainman

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That was an extremely informative and objective post Rainman. I've experienced considerably harder sells by substantially less genuine people who had much less to offer. ;)

 

I believe I am going to do the school before I get on a track and possibly more than once. I can't ignore the value people are expressing and the value of the materials I've already read/viewed. Then really riding with a group of people with like desires is probably pretty fun to boot. I know there's an event coming up soon in Jersey but I can't get there yet. That's an over night trip if not a couple days (suspecting a level of being exhaused at the end of a day).

 

Summit is a little less than 60 miles away (Jersey nearly 3x that, Virginia more), so I expect I'll take a little time to go up there just to watch a track day for a while...so to in the least see the chaos and how crazy it is over there.

 

I believe CSS will be back to Jersey in August and September, so I'm thinking of that as a marker, I'd like to get a track bike running by then...but probably not. :lol:

 

Thanks for the response.. :)

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G;

I will let you in on another little secret...if you take to this sport like many of us have, you will find that like most of us, you have to drive some distance to get to a really good track. For me Mid-Ohio is about 8 hours, NJMP is about 7 [I'm cornerworking for the School there next week], Loudon is 8 hours, BeaveRun is about 8, Mosport (near Toronto) is about 6 and Calabogie (also in CAN) is about 7. All of these require an overnight stay for each day you ride. As far as NJMP (Thunderbolt Course) and VIR (North Course) go, they are simply awesome tracks to ride. There is a reason the School is going to both so many times this year.

Regardless, good luck with your research and keep us informed with what you decide.

 

Rain

 

Rain

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Gorecki;

 

I had the same experience when I took my then new Ducati to CSS/Watkins Glen many years ago. By the end of the day I proceeded to snap off both turn signals when I hit successive cones going through a left/right chicane the School set up in the Esses there so I know the feeling too well. I didn't want to do any more damage to it so I bought a former track only Ducati from a shop in Texas and have never looked back.

 

To the issue of danger on the track there is no question; track riding can be a harsh environment to ride. As a former member of Sportbike Track Time, NESBA and Team Pro-Motion and having done track days in Canada with other clubs up there I can say without any hesitation that the Superbike School is the safest environment to learn how to corner a motorcycle at speed. With a track club and it doesn't matter which one you choose, there are tremendous variations in skill level just like there can be at the Superbike School but that's where the similarity ends. At a track day, clubs provide control riders who are generally pretty quick but not necessarily trained to be a track coach and since I know some personally my comment is not anecdotal, it is a fact. One huge difference is that at a School everyone is riding to a set program of different drills and are not riding against anybody else. The Track Coaches are actively leading or following their assigned students and when they are not leading or following they are positioned off the track observing their riders so there is no BS allowed on the track. There are strict passing rules (6' clear) and corner workers are all connected by radio with Course Control making sure EVERYTHING is under control.

 

If you have never been on the track I would encourage you to consider "learning" how to track ride before you go out to any track. I have never ridden at Summit Point so I will not offer an opinion on it but the contrast between a track day and the Superbike School is so stark that you may be turned off to track riding if you go out there without training. This may sound like a shameless plug for the School but my observations are not unique - I also recommend that you ask around.

 

If you are close enough to get to Summit Point then NJMP and/or VIR are within reach for you and the School has multiple dates at both tracks. I would also ask others here to chime in on this thread because as a Forum Moderator I may be too biased in my response to you.

 

Rainman

Kevin, great post!!!

 

I couldn't wait to get to the office this morning and comment! I too am a member of the above mentioned track day organizations and it can be a fun day with relatively little drama or a cluster %^#&. CSS and Tony's Track Days were the only days where I didn't feel the stressors of, "is someone going to crash into me late braking with their left leg off the peg like Casey Stoner." I don't want to take an elitist approach as a certain organization does but in my opinion, the rate of low incidents at CSS, at least in my four days with them at NJMP last year, seem to be because riders are learning and are constantly learning and/or working on a skill set vs. just riding for a lower lap time, on cold tires trying to catch a friend that has been bragging about how fast he is during the long winter or videotaping friends and trying to make a highlight reel for youtube (seriously???)!

 

I have what Dillon Code said to the class seared into my brain- at a track day, always be working on some skill. It's when you aren't working on a skill that you get yourself into trouble!

<jr>

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G;

I will let you in on another little secret...if you take to this sport like many of us have, you will find that like most of us, you have to drive some distance to get to a really good track. For me Mid-Ohio is about 8 hours, NJMP is about 7 [I'm cornerworking for the School there next week], Loudon is 8 hours, BeaveRun is about 8, Mosport (near Toronto) is about 6 and Calabogie (also in CAN) is about 7. All of these require an overnight stay for each day you ride. As far as NJMP (Thunderbolt Course) and VIR (North Course) go, they are simply awesome tracks to ride. There is a reason the School is going to both so many times this year.

Regardless, good luck with your research and keep us informed with what you decide.

 

Rain

 

Rain

Kevin,

 

I'll be at NJMP on Monday and Friday on a white RC%! #451. Please come by and say hello!

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G;

I will let you in on another little secret...if you take to this sport like many of us have, you will find that like most of us, you have to drive some distance to get to a really good track. For me Mid-Ohio is about 8 hours, NJMP is about 7 [I'm cornerworking for the School there next week], Loudon is 8 hours, BeaveRun is about 8, Mosport (near Toronto) is about 6 and Calabogie (also in CAN) is about 7. All of these require an overnight stay for each day you ride. As far as NJMP (Thunderbolt Course) and VIR (North Course) go, they are simply awesome tracks to ride. There is a reason the School is going to both so many times this year.

Regardless, good luck with your research and keep us informed with what you decide.

 

Rain

 

Rain

Kevin,

 

I'll be at NJMP on Monday and Friday on a white RC%! #451. Please come by and say hello!

J;

I am only working the two-day camp on Wednesday and Thursday but if you get there before the end of the day on Thursday I will look for you in the paddock. Good luck there next week and I am anxious to read about your experience especially with your "bookend" approach to the School week. BTW, I have always believed that the sound of an RC51 is the best of any bike I have ever heard.

 

Rain

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G;

I will let you in on another little secret...if you take to this sport like many of us have, you will find that like most of us, you have to drive some distance to get to a really good track. For me Mid-Ohio is about 8 hours, NJMP is about 7 [I'm cornerworking for the School there next week], Loudon is 8 hours, BeaveRun is about 8, Mosport (near Toronto) is about 6 and Calabogie (also in CAN) is about 7. All of these require an overnight stay for each day you ride. As far as NJMP (Thunderbolt Course) and VIR (North Course) go, they are simply awesome tracks to ride. There is a reason the School is going to both so many times this year.

Regardless, good luck with your research and keep us informed with what you decide.

 

Yes, am getting the impression my track availablity isn't all that bad. Unfortunate element of parental duties is I'll be lucky if I get 1 day to do what I want every couple of months and often don't know what that day is until it happens. :rolleyes: Many times I've had to cancel best laid plans but the good news is it's almost certain in 2 years, it'll all be over. So who knows, that may be just enough time for me to develop the skills to ride track properly. ;)

 

Thanks much for your input Kev! :D

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G;

I will let you in on another little secret...if you take to this sport like many of us have, you will find that like most of us, you have to drive some distance to get to a really good track. For me Mid-Ohio is about 8 hours, NJMP is about 7 [I'm cornerworking for the School there next week], Loudon is 8 hours, BeaveRun is about 8, Mosport (near Toronto) is about 6 and Calabogie (also in CAN) is about 7. All of these require an overnight stay for each day you ride. As far as NJMP (Thunderbolt Course) and VIR (North Course) go, they are simply awesome tracks to ride. There is a reason the School is going to both so many times this year.

Regardless, good luck with your research and keep us informed with what you decide.

 

Rain

 

Rain

Kevin,

 

I'll be at NJMP on Monday and Friday on a white RC%! #451. Please come by and say hello!

J;

I am only working the two-day camp on Wednesday and Thursday but if you get there before the end of the day on Thursday I will look for you in the paddock. Good luck there next week and I am anxious to read about your experience especially with your "bookend" approach to the School week. BTW, I have always believed that the sound of an RC51 is the best of any bike I have ever heard.

 

Rain

Yeah, I meant RC51!laugh.gif The RC's sound is quite exotic. I am biased, of course! biggrin.gif I probably won't get in until 8:30 PM on Thursday evening. Maybe we see each other at a track day at NJMP.

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..just my two cents here. I've done trackdays with two providers, and there was a huge difference in them. One had classroom instruction and was quite structured. For the most part, it was pretty civilized, except for a jerk on a H'busa that made some comment on "riding with the novices to scare the heck out of 'em." He probably needed to be somewhere else. The control rider was somewhat weird; working on his chew and his personal riding skills. Our "sighting lap" was done more along his pace, certainly not the pace most of us were comfortable with. We were shown the "racing line." Hmmmm. However, it was relatively well run and safe. I wouldn't have any issues taking in more trackdays with this provider.

 

The second trackday provider was a zoo. A number of racerwantabees, along with usually a crash or two per lap. The "control riders" seemed to be racing the wantabees, and I saw some tense riding and weird lines as they struggled to keep up with the wantabees. One 954 rider blamed his crash on his Michelen tires; however, he was pushing hard. When the rear slid he chopped the throttle with predictable result, and a broken wrist. Did I mention it was a zoo?

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I've just read every post and can relate to everything that has been written about track days. I've only ever done a handful of track days with two different providers. They have all been very similar.

The more bikes that turn up to the event the worse it is. I ride in the intermediate group and could maybe move up to the fast road group but I have a good method that can be applied to any group you ride in.

 

I start at the back of the group and let them all do half a lap. This gives the main group/huddle of excited riders time to open up a bit and it also means the really fast riders or the guys on litre bikes who just nail the straights will only pass me on the last two or final lap of the session. It also means I may only have to pass one or two bikes myself. Throughout the session I'll get many clean laps just learning and enjoying the open track. A friend of mine noticed what I was doing and joined me.

 

This method made the entire day much more enjoyable and I was able to improve my lap times without feeling like I was caught up in a full-on race .

 

Another issue is I think that the providers don't educate and assist the riders enough. They should at least email out notes on how to pass a slower bike safely, what lines are suited to the track, not to push your limits straight away, what the flags mean, why to run lower pressures on the track compared to the road etc..

 

Then they can go over it all again in the morning rider briefing.

 

For me there was a quick brief at 9am, I was still asleep, everyone was rushing signing forms and still tapping lights and then they hit the first session and nail it from the start... having never ridden the track before! Scary.

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