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Working The Corner Backwards. Why Didn't I Think Of This?


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Hi, all. Hope all is well. Brief overview for me is I've only been riding for about 3 MN seasons. Did one track school with our local organization as an introduction to the track on my former '08 GSX-R600 in 2011 @ BIR. Switched bikes halfway thru that season with plans to do their trackschool 2, but a mechanical issue forced me to miss it (which was also the last td of the season). Came to CSS in April of '12 @ Infineon for levels 1 & 2 aboard the fleet S1kRR and learned a ton. Followed that up with ZARS TS2 @ Road America to FINALLY get the 848 on the track. Once coming to grips with the difference I started improving by continuously working on things I learned in both schools.

 

Well, even with focusing on the vision skills learned at CSS, target fixation got me in T7 @ BIR at the end of last season. I simply thought I was coming in far too fast for entry, target locked on grass, and didn't recorrect my vision.

 

Was able to go down to Barber this April to get a headstart on the track season and shake off the winter cobwebs which felt good. Fast forward to the start of my ZARS track day season at Road America this past Mon-Tues. I decided to take their School of ROCC (which is geared more towards the faster Intermediate-slower Advanced riders and coached by former & current expert level CRA racers) to build up some more confidence in myself, not try to be crazy as this was the first time I've run warmers & DOTs...so I figured a controlled curriculum would be best as quite a few of my friends are in I-group as well) and more importantly work on my biggest weak points: braking zones & setting proper entry speed. Biggest reason is I think the torque advantage has made me rely more on my apex->exit sections of the corners much more than the entry->apex portions. The main focus my instructor wanted to work with me on is shortening my braking zones and introducing me to when and where trailbraking is a benefit.

 

The biggest thing I took away from CSS last April was the 3-Step, no question. Find your turn-in, find your apex, find your exit point....all in one sweeping view. It helped me breakthrough a barrier that was really hampering my speed and eliminated me feeling "lost" at times out on the track. At ROCC, my instructor suggested working a corner or two backwards by preluding with this quote:

 

"If you don't know where you are going, you may never get there."

 

It was a literal 'AH HA!' moment when I used it for T3, T8, and T12. Doesn't work too well in blind apex turns where you can't see the exit (so the conventional turn-in/apex/exit is best)....but mentally coming into the corner and looking for my exit point FIRST had a very calming effect on me, and this was able to work my way back to see the apex and turn-in point. I think this is combined best with trailing into the corner to fine tune the speed entry after getting most of the heavy braking done already.

 

Just wanted to get you all's (tried not showing my southern roots by saying ya'lls, lol) thoughts on this approach for certain corners. I'm going for my CRA license on the 14th. All races are at BIR, which is nearly as flat as the Kansas horizon, so vision complety thru most of the corners is there. Hoping to make some really good strides in the New Rider and open practice sessions that weekend.

 

-Christian

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  • 3 weeks later...

Christian,

Honestly do whatever works for you. By your post, you are working on personal limits and barriers. So you are not quite riding to the limit of the bike.

I'm not either, but I race cars and I have no problem riding to the absolute limit.

 

Once you find the limits of the bike at your favorite track, you'll be able to go from track to track. Each turn at your home track will remind you of another turn at another track and so forth. After a while - and it may be a while, you can go to a new track and by 2 sessions be your maximum potential where you'll be working on shaving off 2/10ths of a second for the rest of the day...

 

If you shaved off 1 second in 1 session, you are nowhere near the limit yeah??? hahaha

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It was a literal 'AH HA!' moment when I used it for T3, T8, and T12. Doesn't work too well in blind apex turns where you can't see the exit (so the conventional turn-in/apex/exit is best)....but mentally coming into the corner and looking for my exit point FIRST had a very calming effect on me, and this was able to work my way back to see the apex and turn-in point. I think this is combined best with trailing into the corner to fine tune the speed entry after getting most of the heavy braking done already.

 

 

Do you recall the "wide view" technique from your Level 2 CSS class? Your "AH HA" moment (isn't that a GREAT feeling?) sounds very similar to what many students experience with wide-view - a calming effect, feeling that you have plenty of time, smoothing out of control inputs, better ability to see the shape of the turn, and much better ability to accurately judge entry speed. Did the idea of looking through the turn to the exit point have the effect of opening up your vision and allowing you to see more of the track all at once?

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There was a seminar before Level 3 was changed to it's current format, that covered this. With Level 3 being revised, there was more than could be put in there...it got pushed out. There is some info on this in TWIST 1, and if we got you back, we would look at this in more depth at Level 4.

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I'd say the blind corners take a lot of work and you'd benefit from making that one of the corners you work on using that technique. A good line is very important when going through a blind corner because of the trust you have to have going through that corner. I've done Chuckwalla Valley Raceway and have had a number of problems on one blind corner and keep forgetting to work on it. I'm doing OK times on a stock bike, but could probably take off a full second if I got that one corner down. I'm that bad at it.

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