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Passing Strategies


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So, on a tight-ish track when you are faster than the rider in front in the corners, but can't take them down the straight, what are some good strategies for making the pass?

 

I try to build momentum during the corner to exit with more speed than they have, but often I find I have to go less than 100% through the corner because I can't be sure of what line they are going to end up on. For instance, I don't want to turn in late and try to stuff it up the inside if I can't be sure in advance that they are not going to try to be in the same spot at the same time. So instead I end up lingering behind until I am sure of their line choice, but by that time I have squandered my corner speed advantage.

 

I have wondered about the idea of purposely leaving more of a gap to the rider in front at corner entry, so that I can build speed more naturally through the corner and at the exit, but I suspect that giving up that ground is not going to be a real solution either.

 

Passing on the brakes is much more straightforward (or rather, passing when they are on the brakes but I am not yet), but if that is my only strategy I am going to get smoked. Scenario here is a large-displacement air-cooled V-twin (me) racing against mostly modern 600 supersports. If I am in front I can gap them on corner exits (because of my torque advantage) and usually that is enough to keep me in front by the end of the straight. The problem is getting in front in the first place.

 

Advice?

 

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Usually the key to getting a pass on a corner exit is to get on the gas earlier in the corner than the other rider. You should definitely try backing off farther and getting more of a gap, so you can carry more speed into and through the corner, then be able to get on the gas without being held up by the other guy. With a torquey bike and early throttle application you should have a good chance to get past. Looking past or through the other rider helps, too - watching the other rider to see what they are going to do can make iit tougher to see where YOU want to go, and leaving a bigger gap when setting up the pass can help that too.

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Okay, thanks Hotfoot.

 

I have two weeks until Round 2 and I know the track layout well, so I am trying to imagine some passing scenarios in my head. I'll try to visualize what you describe in the two corners where I think I have the best chance of making it work.

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Another thing you can do is experiment with alternate lines during practice, so that you are comfortable with various line options - that way if you have an opportunity, for example, to pass on the entrance on the inside, you know how you have to ride the corner if you take that line.

 

Sometimes a rider will hand you a passing opportunity - coming in a little too hot, or missing a shift or something, and riding various lines helps you be prepared to grab those opportunities when they arise!

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All of Hotfoot's suggestions are spot on and work like a charm. Visual skills can make passing amazingly easy as can learning alternative lines.

 

One of the huge things I learned this time at CSS was that it was all MY fault I could not pass in the corners on my FZR400 rather than the bike's lack of power. I focused on the rider in front of me and did not take advantage of my corner speed and ability to take an alternative line through the corner. I could not see the open space because my attention was focused on the bike in front. Visual skills are very powerful. They can open up space or close it up depending on how you use them.

 

I recorded a bit of video from a few trackdays where I performed particularly poorly. One of the huge things I got from reviewing the footage was being able to see "where" the other riders were getting by. By brutally passing me and wrecking my confidence they revealed to me many of their secrets. BRuuuHA HA hahhhh... :)

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Racing the 250 has shown me many ways to pass when I can't get an easy pass on the straight.

 

First off, you have to come to terms with this; "if all racers never leave the race line, no one can pass anybody." Now that you know you have to leave the race line to make a pass, you can start to figure out HOW and more importantly WHEN.

 

This is what works for me a lot of the time;

 

When I have the chance, I try to find a section of the track where I am slightly better than other racers. Maybe it's your favorite linked corners, the hardest braking zone, ect.. ect.. I choose these areas to make a pass first as I am more comfortable with taking greater chances. IE, I am more comfortable taking alternate lines. There are pros and cons to alternate lines; for example a pass that I make a lot is a wide, hot entry, trail with a late apex and a really good pickup at the exit. Although this line leaves me somewhat open to an inside pass on entry, if there is no one on my six and I don't mess it up, I can normally drive out ahead or wheel to wheel with the rider in front of me if I am a faster racer. And speaking of the pickup, are you truly using it to your advantage? Most things considered, if you’re not pinned or nearly pinned before climbing back on the bike, there is more work to be done.

 

Brakes... considering how much time one really spends on the brakes during a race, there are plenty of opportunities to late brake a leading rider on the inside a corner that you’re really comfortable with. This does a few things, but mainly puts you either; side by side, past the rider, in your passing lane (inside or outside) or may cause the lead rider adjust his line at the last minute. Basically, putting pressure on the lead ride may force an error where there wouldn’t be one. Just be a good sport when pressuring other riders and keep it clean. :P

 

And even though you say you can't really get a good clean pass in the straight, it can still be used to your advantage for a solid draft into the braking zone but you may have to get on the brakes harder and trail into the corner after using the draft to slingshot around them at the last minute.

 

And 100% for sure, don’t let the leading rider’s lines, markers and such leak into your riding. Look through them, ride through them, and definitely don’t visually linger on their every move.

 

 

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Thanks for taking the time to write that - it is all really helpful. Interesting that several folks are offering the same advice - in particular that I mustn't let my lines be overly influenced by the actions of the rider in front. Obviously this is a major point that I will need to concentrate on.

 

And yes I believe you are correct that I am not yet taking full advantage of my engine's capabilities on corner exits. Just looking at my tires shows that I am picking the bike up quite a bit before I get on the throttle in earnest. I think I can only remember one time (excluding wet tracks and cold tires) when I broke the rear loose even a little exiting a corner, so surely there is some time to be gained there.

 

Thanks again. I'll report back after my races in 10 days.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I posted a link to my racing blog on the "racing and race tracks" topic, which includes video of my first two sprint races this past weekend. I had the most success passing on the brakes, which was straightforward going into a very wide carousel turn at the end of the long back straight, but a little more complicated entering Turn 1 after the front straight. In that case, being able to use alternate lines was key. I found my real advantage was in late braking and trail braking into corners, because once you get alongside on the inside of the corner there is not much the other guy can do by way of defense. Still haven't had a lot of success passing on corner exits, or in cases where there is no heavy braking involved.

 

You guys should be proud of me. Not very long ago I came to this forum asking for advice in learning how to trust my tires enough to even get my knee down. Last weekend I had my first sprint race and took second place. I give a lot of the credit to the advice I received from this site. Thank you.

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You guys should be proud of me. Not very long ago I came to this forum asking for advice in learning how to trust my tires enough to even get my knee down. Last weekend I had my first sprint race and took second place. I give a lot of the credit to the advice I received from this site. Thank you.

 

YellowDuck! That's one HECK of an amazing accomplishment! Way to go!

 

It's also quite inspirational to someone like myself who's dealt with some of the same issues. Thank you so much for sharing that!

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I posted a link to my racing blog on the "racing and race tracks" topic, which includes video of my first two sprint races this past weekend. I had the most success passing on the brakes, which was straightforward going into a very wide carousel turn at the end of the long back straight, but a little more complicated entering Turn 1 after the front straight. In that case, being able to use alternate lines was key. I found my real advantage was in late braking and trail braking into corners, because once you get alongside on the inside of the corner there is not much the other guy can do by way of defense. Still haven't had a lot of success passing on corner exits, or in cases where there is no heavy braking involved.

 

You guys should be proud of me. Not very long ago I came to this forum asking for advice in learning how to trust my tires enough to even get my knee down. Last weekend I had my first sprint race and took second place. I give a lot of the credit to the advice I received from this site. Thank you.

 

 

Well done!!!! /bow

 

Beware those riders that don't give up when you go 2 wide in corners, you pressure them, they pressure you right back. :ph34r:

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Beware those riders that don't give up when you go 2 wide in corners, you pressure them, they pressure you right back. :ph34r:

 

 

Is that not allowing them to accomplish their goal of intimidating you perhaps not to pass next time?

 

I'll be the first to admit I don't know a lot about racing but I do know a bit about human nature. :)

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