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Know The Track


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A rider was killed during a track day at Barber yesterday. I can't think of a better way to honor him than to remind fellow track riders to know the track you are going to ride. I don't know all the circumstances of his death but do know from a fellow rider where it happened, between turn 16 and 17 down the short chute before the front straight.

 

I think it is important to use the sighting lap for just that. Many times we get so caught up in riding, the first time at a track, the first time at a school, or just so excited to be on our bike we forget certain aspects of a track that could hurt us or save us from injury. There are places that are safe to pass and places that call for patience. We should be aware of where we are and where our fellow riders want to be. As a drill, take your favorite track and analyze what would happen if someone were to come over into your line and force you off the track in every corner and every straight. Would you reconsider where you would overtake?

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I read about this incident earlier and the details are thin but your comments are right on Fossil. Know the track, know where you want to pass and where you should wait "just in case". We have to remember the person on the other bike may not be thinking what we think he/she is thinking. Or they could just make a mistake. Knowing you have someplace to go if they do (or even if you're the one who made the mistake) could be the difference between dirty leathers and a bruised ego or a more serious outcome. It's a sobering thing to think about but an important point.

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Indeed a tragic incident and another reminder that our sport is a dangerous one - not just competition riders like Marco Simoncelli and Peter Lenz but also the first-timer can be hurt.

 

I haven't heard or read any details, but the "know your track" may not be possible for first-timers to live up to even though it's good and friendly advice.

 

In my experience, riders with little or no track experience are so focused on the track their riding that they don't have time to take in the surroundings. On one of the local tracks in Sweden, a 180 degree right-hander actually goes around a small pond. First-timers will steadfastly deny that there is such thing as a pond on the track grounds until 4-5th session into the day, when someone goes "Oh, I noticed the pond!".

 

Kai

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Kai,

I agree with you completely. A new rider might not even realize there are corner workers on the track. There is just so much to process. Fortunately, the newbies are protected by riding coaches and control riders for the most part. It's when we start to work on things on our own, when we decide to ride a new track, sign up in a faster group that we should try to be more aware.

I think that we should remind ourselves and other riders of the hazards that are out there...when you see a new rider or someone new to the track, a friendly reminder of barriers and short runoff, off camber turns and blind corners or a quick look at their equipment might save someones life or prevent a serious injury.

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This is good advice regarding sighting laps; I would think some homework reviewing track maps, pictures or videos might help too. The track entry and exit is another thing to consider, to anticipate other riders entering and exiting. This is more troublesome at certain tracks where riders enter on higher speed sections.

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Very sad news indeed. Barber was the first track I ever rode (and just a few years ago no less), and I well remember that corner combo before the main straight. On our 2nd day a track worker went down pretty hard while coming through that last corner and I recall he had to leave by ambulance as a precaution. That was a sobering moment for a new guy like me...

 

YouTube has made video research pretty easy, although finding just the right video may take a few tries. Thinking of Barber I quickly found this link for a car-based video which I think allows a nice stable picture to see what's around the track. Not a perfect example, but it certainly shows the potential...

 

#!
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