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"making Time On The Brakes"


Hotfoot
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Ran across this tidbit from Keith recently, I though it was an interesting read so I'm posting up!

 

 

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Most crashes you see from the pro riders these days are going into the turns overloading the front with too much brake pressure while turning into the corners. It's called trail-braking, sporty car racers came up with that term, many years ago.

 

Since everyone has good traction control and spec tires, the exit drives are so close no one can make any time on anyone else on the drives unless they make a mistake. What results is that riders try and get into the turns with later and later braking, trying for that fraction of a mph higher entry speed and mid-corner speed. When they get over-enthusiastic, carrying too much front brake into the turns, it overloads the front tire and they crash.

 

You can tell when they are riding on the edge of traction in these scenarios. As they go into the turn you see the front dip and rise sharply. That is the front tire locking up and releasing. If the rider catches it and releases the brake, fine, he goes through the corner. If he doesn't release it quick enough the front end "tucks" under and they lowside crash the bike.

 

There are many tradeoffs and minute options the rider has and the one who gets them all exactly right wins pole position by a few thousandths of a second. What does that mean? It means he was able to average a ridiculously small fraction of 1 mph faster average around the entire track than the other guys.

 

For the average track day guy and budding club racer, trying to find the limit of front end braking-traction like this is not the place he'll gain those many seconds needed to get into the next faster group. This rider is going to have to discover what basics he is weak in. Harder, later braking will never gain those seconds for him.

 

Keith

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I just had a chat with fellow racer just last night about this. He said similar things; "late braking is just one of many skills that make or break a race or lap time." Focusing solely on that aspect of your riding will not prove to be a smoking gun of an impressive jump in lap times.

 

I would have to agree. For me, along with later braking, came higher entry speeds, faster exits and improvements in "carried" speed throughout the corner. The spike in confidence inspired by being able to successfully move my marker in close had something to do with it as well. I am 100% sure.

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It must be the time of year for these conversations :). I was talking last week with a local AMA pro and one of the subjects was strategies for improving in the coming year. In a way it's a bit humorous for me because he's looking for tenths or hundreths of a second, whereas I'm looking for multiple seconds (maybe dozens :lol:). My braking actually was much improved by the end of last year but in general braking and shifting still are troubling me. I think my top three things to target for the start of the year will be: braking, shifting, body position (hip flicks and getting a little more off the bike). Our first track day weekend is 19-20 Jan and hopefully I can test each of those gently and then decide how I want to prioritize them for planning my practice.

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Braking and shifting got significantly simpler for me when I got a slipper clutch installed. But still, it is *very* obvious to me that increasing my corner speeds has the most potential for decreased lap times, not deeper braking. I need to brake less, not later!

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I've got a race this weekend and my #1 goal is NOT to allow other riders to "suck me in" to the corners, making me brake too late. I am used to riding my light-weight bike on the track with larger, heavier bikes and they usually brake long before I do. But when I had to practice and then race against OTHER lighweight bikes last year on an unfamiliar track, some of them were braking later than I was, so I decided I needed to brake later. Well, guess what, that screwed up my quick turn and made me run wide (which is also what was happening to THEM) and rather late in the game I realized I was much better off getting my braking done sooner and making sure my speed was set properly AT my turn point, instead of charging the turn at the entrance.

 

Of course once I fixed that problem my I stopped running wide and my drives were drastically improved - especially in the last turn before the straight. I went INTO the turn a hair slower than the race-leading riders but held a better line, got on the gas sooner, and dramatically improved my drive - easily passing the leaders at the exit of the turn and then carrying that extra speed all the way down the straight and leaving them far behind. :) It was a stellar example, for me, of how much more there was to be gained by coming OUT of the corner faster than there was trying to come INTO it faster.

 

I certainly should have known better right from the beginning, but on a new track, it's easy to think somene else knows more about it than you do and get fooled!

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Good stuff to hear.

 

BTW, did you guys know how Hottie wrapped up her year last year? If I recall correctly she wrapped up with 2 champioinships won (likely that is what she entered). At the last round in Vegas 6 races entered. 6 podiums, 3 in first--pretty cool huh?

 

Since racing in '09 (minus '11), it just as impressive, but I'll sum up one stat I also liked: no crashes, no DNF.

 

If I keep this up, bet I can get her to blush!

 

Well done! (albeit belatedly) :).

 

Best,

Cobie

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BTW, did you guys know how Hottie wrapped up her year last year? If I recall correctly she wrapped up with 2 champioinships won (likely that is what she entered). At the last round in Vegas 6 races entered. 6 podiums, 3 in first--pretty cool huh?

 

Since racing in '09 (minus '11), it just as impressive, but I'll sum up one stat I also liked: no crashes, no DNF.

That is just awesome! Congratulations Hotfoot!

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Good stuff to hear.

 

BTW, did you guys know how Hottie wrapped up her year last year? If I recall correctly she wrapped up with 2 champioinships won (likely that is what she entered). At the last round in Vegas 6 races entered. 6 podiums, 3 in first--pretty cool huh?

 

Since racing in '09 (minus '11), it just as impressive, but I'll sum up one stat I also liked: no crashes, no DNF.

 

If I keep this up, bet I can get her to blush!

 

Well done! (albeit belatedly) :).

 

Best,

Cobie

 

Wow, you DID get me to blush! B)

Thanks for the props.

 

(I was going to use the blushing smiley face but is has hearts all over it! No wonder no one uses it!)

 

 

So...I like your new look... is that.... um... a TRASH BAG sticking out of your leathers?

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Congrats on your fantastic achievements, Hotfoot (we need a thumbs-up emoticon, please).

 

I wonder, how much slower would Lorenzo be around a typical track if he had to use just one gear and no brakes - about 10 seconds? Maybe even less? At Brno last year in heavy rain, tip-toing around the bends, barely using the brakes and shortshifting using very little throttle, they lost less than 20 seconds per lap in WSBK on what is a 2-min lap in normal racing conditions. And very few riders - if we think in per cent - are capable of turning 2:15 - 2:20 laps around Brno under any kind of conditions.

 

What I'm trying to say is that Keith is undoubtedly right and that there are so many things one can do to go fast that doesn't involve massive lean or late, hard braking. Those who can ride properly can go massively fast while looking surprisingly slow, and others can look like they are on the very ragged edge of what's physically possible, yet be incredibly slow.

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........If I recall correctly she wrapped up with 2 champioinships won (likely that is what she entered). At the last round in Vegas 6 races entered. 6 podiums, 3 in first--pretty cool huh?

 

Since racing in '09 (minus '11), it just as impressive, but I'll sum up one stat I also liked: no crashes, no DNF.

 

Congratulations, Hotfoot !!!

Really amazing achievements, considering the time and effort that your other responsibilities and activities take.

 

"My ultimate goal in life was to make my passion my job and with this position I feel like I'm living my dream."

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