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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-06-2002, 03:34 AM Thread Starter
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Advice to get faster

I have about 10 yrs street experience, but I'm a newbie to track riding. Took a CSS level 1 course and my first novice level track day is in about a month (see previous post).
My question is this ...... while practicing my skills on the track and trying to improve, the obvious goal is to get faster.
At the Superbike school, each corner as the day progressed and I got a little faster had me thinking "I'm going in too hot" as I approached. I wasn't, of course, but my brain was telling me I was. I'm not sure, but I think this is referred to as FEAR.
From your first experience on track and as you got better and faster, how did you deal with this?
This feeling is very specific to entering a corner, of course. Coming off the last corner on to the straight I don't feel any real hesitation to firewalling it to head down the straight (course, I'm not doing 180 mph, but let's not talk about that). But coming up on that nice right hander at Streets of Willow ...... the word commitment comes to mind.
Trust me, I'm not stupid enough to go out and try to rip it up the first time I get out on the track. I want to learn, practice and pay attention to those with experience. That's where you come in.
I'm not going to the track to mildly make my way around. With a couple minor exceptions, that's generally the way I keep it on the street. I want to physically learn how to get through a fast corner, and mentally approach it, I guess.
So, simply, how do you deal with fear?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-06-2002, 04:34 AM
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Hey RedDuck23,
Hey you should try and read the book. "A Twist of the Wrist 2"
I talkes about exactly what your talking about. The book calls it survival reactions, and how to deal with them. Its a great book!!
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-06-2002, 04:53 AM
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Dealing with corner entries is a process taken in steps. Use your brake markers. This allows you to KNOW you'll make the corner. Next time through, brake harder at the same marker. You'll soon see that you are entering the corner slower than You need to. Then start braking the same (as hard as you are comfortable with) but wait a half or third of a marker. The point is, to get faster with confidence (key word) you can't ride by the seat of your pants. You must use learned, repeatable factors to ride by. Seat of the pants riding works on the street. On the track, it only works at street speeds. Ever notice that the best racers turn almost identical lap times, lap after lap? They do it by knowing exactly where they are and what to do next, before they have to do it. Track riding is great fun, but it shouldn't be scary.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-06-2002, 07:50 AM Thread Starter
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Yup ....

...... I read the Twist of the Wrist before I went out to the school.
I liked the book and think it's a good step by step approach to better cornering, and also how to deal with those SR's that are constantly nagging you to just go in and watch MotoGP on TV, instead of risking your ass out here.
The reading was good and helped alot, but I'm sure all will agree that it only goes so far to prep you for the "pucker factor", for lack of a better term.
Wera32, I'm expecting a good track day to be fun AND scary. Just scary enough to get the adrenaline shot that I'm guessing alot of people are looking for. Your advice is well taken. I understand you to be saying that a analytical approach is key to improving and getting faster.
Thanks to all for the input.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-11-2002, 05:57 PM
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Iíve wanted to post a longer answer to you RedDuck23 but this covers part of it. In short I think you will learn faster with a track only bike and it could be cheaper too.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-11-2002, 06:28 PM
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Patience and practice.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-11-2002, 07:46 PM
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hehe, small world

The situation you describe is my biggest problem. That feeling of coming in to a turn too hot can really throw you off, or at least it does to me. wera32 spelled it out very well. Good thread.

Don't try to keep up with my life, you'll only get hurt.

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-11-2002, 10:26 PM
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How much confidence have you developed in your tires at this point. Can you lean the bike all the way over and put your knee on the ground. If not then you are very unlikely to be approaching the limits of the tires traction?? At least on a clean track surface, on the street you have to leave room for gravel and other unpredictable stuff.

Being from Illinois I'm familier with the highways there and the great clover leafs they have for interchanges. These connected 270 degree turns (when you find the right one) offer the closest thing to a skid pad where you can just go round and round and get used to the lean angle. That was the first big hurdle for me, getting used to big lean angles.

After you can get all the way over without hyperventilating the next task is getting to that angle quickly and smoothly. The turn in. Getting comfortable with QUICKLY going to full lean was my next challenge.

Once I got these two down I felt real comfortable approaching a corner and knowing if I was gonna make it or not which is the basis of your question I believe.

You can do both of these on the street somewhat (getting big lean and quickly) if you find a clean, no curb, no gard-rail, acceptable runoff clover leaf. If you can find a tighter one which will put you at lower speeds it will help you feel like it's survivable if it goes wrong. Once you find the speed that gives good full lean in the middle of a constant radius turn, start to approach the turn faster and faster as you get comfortable leaning in quicker. Until you are entering at nearly the max mid corner speed you find acceptable. When entering at this higher speed, you will have slowly moved up to the highest speed you feel comfortable entering the turn at. This process worked very well for ME.

Hope it can help you too.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-11-2002, 10:48 PM
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How do you deal with the fear ?

The answer to me anyway is you embrace that feeling of fear. The more you do that the easier you will deal with it at the next turn.

Part of it is accepting that you can crash and that you may become injured (or you may not). Most of the time you will slide, and if you are on the pavement, just count to 10 after you think you have stopped sliding, just to make sure you really have stopped sliding.

Fear is a good thing, but on the race course, you have to gauge your own level of fear and respond to it accordingly. For example, you may grip the bars harder, which will stiffen your arms and cause more twitching of the bike in the turn, which will make you feel less in control (even though you grip hard to control more). You will be way smoother by focusing on relaxing your grip when you go into every turn. This should gradually increase your confidence and attenuate your fear level.

The other thing is what Apeximax. said about the tires and trusting them. More time on the track, leaning over more, it takes time, you have to be patient!

Run the race at YOUR pace, not someone elses! Push yourself when you feel you can, not because a bunch of people just lapped you. Nobody cares, just get out there, run as fast as you can and always work on improving your corner speeds a little at a time.

The only way to convince yourself you are not taking a turn too fast is to have previously gone through the turn as fast or faster. Not grinding the pegs yet is not going to keep you from tweaking on a turn. If you are not willing to risk wadding up your bike, just take your time and your speeds should increase each lap, just maybe slower than the guy who is willing to wad his bike.

Another thing that works is to pick the brains of other racers who are experienced at the track you are racing. Go around the pit area and ask. Everybody will help you out with tips on lines to take, etc. That will help reduce any intimidation of the turns.


"...If you can meet with triumph and disaster, and treat those two imposters the'll be a Man, my Son!"

- Rudyard Kipling
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-12-2002, 03:03 AM
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this is going to sound REALLY stupid. but when i've going into a corner i think of something tpm's glen goldman told a group of us. he was telling us about taking the css and doing the 5th gear drill. he said he just riding down the straight on his r1 and passing everyone and then he realized that he had go into the first corner, without the brakes and was flyin' (it was an r1). he said that he basically sucked it up and just threw the bike into the corner. he made it. he kept telling us how good the tires and how capable the bikes are. i just think of that.

well that and low siding isn't a really big deal

it's worked for me. it's allowed my corner speed to rise dramatically.

i think the secret is finding it in yourself. i used to get really nervous at the track. personally, i brought a book on ufology to calm me down called our haunted planet. it's corny, but it helped. A LOT.

i think nervous aren't something you calm down by outside distractions and inner reassurance.


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