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Hand/Upper Body Transition and General Buttonwillow


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So two part post, one more technique and one more generic.

Technique wise, when are you usually transitioning your hand grip to "screwdriver" hand? One of my issues has been trying to get a lower upper body position, but I am still currently sitting pretty high up, a la Colin Edwards (photo below). I think part of what is hanging me up is that I am often not remembering to transition to screwdriver hand, and getting a bit bound up. When I do remember, it is usually a longer sweeper, and I am pretty much at max lean angle before thinking about it. But I wonder if I should be trying to do it earlier, such as immediately after I finish any trail braking on right hand turns, or even earlier with the clutch side hand in left hand turns.


In terms of the generic, if any of you have experience with Buttonwillow, I am always open to advice. I'm on a 450cc, and got down to a 2:04. This was a huge improvement from last year. Thanks to @Hotfootand the CSS team as the things I focused on as a repeat Level 4 this year helped me drop 4 seconds right out of the gate. However, the usual front-runners in my class are another 6 seconds a lap up the road at a 1:58. I am still trying hard to work on corner entry speed and also throttle timing (I know... it isn't always great in the video.... Haha)

If any of you fast guys out there with experience have thoughts on the line selection to maximize drive, I would appreciate it. I have attached a 360 degree video. If viewed on a computer or the mobile app, you will be able to pan around and look at everything.

One area I know I am not selecting a good line coming out of the T10 Sweeper and setting up for the Esses. I should be 100% throttle through the esses to get a better drive out, but I am still trying to figure out my line and checking up on the throttle on the left hander exiting out of the esses. I think maybe I just need to be more forceful getting the bike to stay inside the curbing while on 100% throttle. The left side curbing is high and does launch me up if I hit it on the gas. I feel like there is at least half a second there easy if I can figure it out.

Also, I think I can carry more corner entry into T8 Riverside, which is a long sweeper and be on the gas way harder coming out. I think I should be carrying a lot more entry speed and using speed scrub awareness to get the bike into slightly more of a V shape path.

Anyways, that's where I am.







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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Apollo

Part one "screwdriver hand".

Try transitioning to lower body positions when your bike is on stands. Position your hand on the grip in a normal position during turn entry, only snugging up the index finger and thumb all other fingers completely loose. As your upper body drops in keep your wrist straight with your forearm/elbow and relaxed. Screwdriver hand will happen automatically if you relax and let it. Once you get that part down and want to apply it on track, you will be finding new positions that you prefer on the grip, usually a little closer to the end. That's the part needs to be worked into the sequence of things to do. I usually re-position my hand between rolling off the throttle and finishing my braking, depending on the type of turn and the speeds involved.

Part two Buttonwillow

First of all, I have only ridden at Buttonwillow a couple times. I watched the video and it looks like you are getting around there pretty well.

I agree that you need to figure out a line for the Sweeper and the Esses. I would recommend starting by looking at the track map (believe you are running config Race #13) and penciling in some RPs to figure what you know and what you need to find out.When you are looking at the map,  you should notice the first Ess is more offset/tighter than the others (look at it with a straight edge), use this to help decide when you can get pinned on what line. Getting this figured out will give you a turn in area for the Esses and will help you choose a better line through the sweeper and will know where your next RP is. Also decide where you want the TP to be for the last left out of the Esses, choose one that will let you use all of track when you are on the gas.

Sunset is another turn you can improve your time. Watch the video again and think about what would change if you used a later apex.



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Thanks for the tips!

I will try it out this weekend. I know that one of my issues is that I feel lower at speed on the bike than reality. It is something I have been trying to work on with the bike stationary on stands. I will try the index and thumb trick and try to get that transitioning feel worked out. 

And we'll see how it goes with re-thinking lines, especially on the back section. I am definitely still trying to figure out Sunset as it has a fairly large bump running what I would consider the "ideal" line. Same with T2 and trying to figure out the line in view of the concrete patch.


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When you are working body position on stands, look for RPs in relation to the bike so you can replicate it on the track. Where is your head in relation to the wind screen, chest to the tank, angle and extension of your arms.

Another thing you might  add to your homework is to look at the track on google earth. That's actually my homework this weekend. I am racing there next weekend with WERA. One thing I do for my track notes is PDF print each turn and sometimes additional sections, and add my RPs. Usually a little X is all I use. Nothing fancy just pre-planning a path and visuals to pick up when I get on track. Once I get on track adjustments are made for camber, elevation, bumps and patches......most of all I choose a TP, apex and exit that can be moved. It's a lot easier than doing it at speed.

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