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Learning A New Track


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used to be, the only way to get ready for a race or trackday at a new (to me) track was to buy a video of a race there (if one existed) and study a track map if i could find one. i at least wanted to know the basic layout of the track so i would spend a few less laps totally lost and blowing every turn.

 

now i am able to find good quality on bike videos for most every track i would go to, and i have found that watching on-bike laps over and over again makes it much easier for me to learn a track when i get there. the video quality is sometimes even high enough to pick out a few RP's that i recognize while i choose to use them or find my own.

 

when i get to the track, i still do a no-brakes drill if i have never ridden the track before, and start adding in more gears and brakes as the laps progress and my speed and confidence increase.

 

does anyone else have any techniques for learning a track either ahead of time or at the track that they have found work well?

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I had never been to the Big Track at Willow Springs until this past weekend. I had seen it on the 'Twist' video but other than looking at turns 4 to 8 from the Streets I had no real idea which way the track went. To get familiar with the track I did these drills :

 

1. Reference points

2. Changing lines

3. No brakes

 

After getting an idea of where the track went in the first session I went out and found some brake and turn markers. When I had a good set I went out and ran out wide and in tight in some of the more tricky corners and then tried running a few laps without brakes. By the end of the day my times were 1:34 (lap record is 1:19 I believe) and on race day I had dropped to 1:30. The next time there I'll be re-doing the above drills and working on the specific corners that I know I am being a wimp in <_<

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Wow - Slow Dragon has done this before. I don't think I could add to that except to totally emphasize locating yourself on the track before you start adding much speed. Resist the temptation to chase guys going around you and stick to your plan. Locate good reference points for EVERY turn. Be honest with yourself ? if there is a turn where you do not have good reference points, go out the next session and find them. Once you have good reference points for every turn, you can locate yourself pretty easily and then you can start railing.

 

I typically take my time in the first couple of sessions. I warm myself up by taking it easy, and I try hard to remain disciplined and do my drills (no brakes, reference points etc.). Many people go around me in the first session or two, but by mid day, I am up to speed and by then I am easily going around guys who were running faster in the first couple of sessions.

 

Every time you visit the track, plan your ride and ride your plan (an old adage from scuba diving ? plan your dive and dive your plan).

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