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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-27-2003, 05:53 AM Thread Starter
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Just for Smoke Eater

Last weekend (Aug 23?) I went to a track day at Jennings GP. The semi-new 14 turn track just south of the GA/FL border off of I75.
Also, I didn’t proofread the following. I just got off work and am ready for bed.

Preface:

I usually don't ride on the street anymore, cause I picked up racing a little more than 2 seasons ago. This was because I was riding way over 1) my head and 2) what I needed to do on the street. So I began racing with a buddy who had been doing it for years. This season started well points-wise and I was in 2nd place for most of the season in the AM SE heavyweight twins class in CCS. However, I have never felt right on the new bike, my 2002 TLR. Due to financial reasons, I had to stop racing and have slid in points out of the top 5.This is good, cause it means I can stay an AM for next season. I decided to do a Jennings track day since it is cheaper than racing, I get more seat time, and have no pressure to work under and will be able to find a better rhythm on the bike to pick up the time I have lost from last season. Also, I do not to pretend to be the fastest, or even near the fastest racer/rider. I am quicker than most street riders, but know that many a racer will hand me my a$$. Most of my FTB-racing team members included. My overall best times at Jennings are down in the 1:29s based on my second visit ever at the track. This was on my F3. My last trip to Jennings was in May (also the last race weekend I went to). This was on the TLR, and I could only manage a disheartening 1:36 or so.

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-27-2003, 05:54 AM Thread Starter
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The setting:

I met a buddy at the track early Sat morning since he was the one who signed up for the track day. He was riding his track day prepped street bike. A 2001 R6, blue in color and perfect in condition. I had “The Mothership” as we have nicknamed the TLR and it is a full on race-ready fat hog. Except I have not had the forks revalved and resprung. The day would end up getting about 100 or so with the pavement reflecting heat. Good thing I picked up the super sized canopy I have, but it still didn’t cool us, only shade. And the guy next to us with no canopy, but a wife and 3 year old boy who came along for the day. I felt bad for em, so offered a spot under the shade. Shane has been riding for about 3 years, so both of us entered the intermediate group. Turns out, there was a small showing and we ended up with only 2 groups, each taking 20 min intervals on the track. Perhaps 20 bikes in the group.

We get rolling:

First session, and everyone wants to hit the track. I get out, start doing laps and am having to go a bit too slow because there were so many guys that were slower than I. I use the better part of valor, and decide to get a feel for the bike at a fast speed. Practice little things you forget about while street riding. Such as better body position during turns, better foot positioning, and watching for better lines and apexes. I came in before the end of the session knowing we have all day, I don’t want to start out dehydrated, and my hands were starting to cramp a bit. Rehydrate, stretch, and reflect. Another buddy shows up to pit bitch, and I give him a stopwatch.
We go out for another session, and I start to speed up. Starting to set up guys that I earlier would not of passed. You know, backing off a bit before a turn, so I can go my speed through a turn and power by on the exits. I am riding around, starting to feel better, and get stuck behind a group of three bikes. The front guy has his brake lights working so he was messing with everyone’s heads. Turns out he was pitted right across from us on a blue Telefonica R1. Yeah, I know, but it looked really sweet! He disconnected the brakes and apologized for slowing me down, but hey, we are all out there to get faster, so….. To give you an idea of the difference in speeds of some of the bikes, when I had a clear track, I was passing the same guys about every 2.5 laps. I was getting passed about every 5 laps by this one dude on the only Ducati out there and this jet black GP bike which had stickers on it stating it was the Jennings GP track bike (that made me feel better). The more I think about it, he must have been pulling off and sitting in the pits cause I’m running 1:30s, if he is passing me every 5 laps, he must have been doing in the 1:teens, and that is right at the track record.

I pulled in at the end of the session and the pit b!tch informed me I was running 1:35s, and Shane was right around 1:36. So I decided, why do laps at a overly comfy speed, I am here to get faster.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-27-2003, 05:55 AM Thread Starter
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Session 3:

Next session out, I start putting my head down, and knew I was going faster. The bike was getting set on rails around a couple turns, and this was right in front of the camera lady (photos on order, will post later). I so badly wanted to give her a thumbs up while dragging a knee all Fogerty style, but couldn’t get the balls up for taking a hand off full lean. I had started to get a good run out of T1. This mostly let me get a good wide open run till T3, sit up, only a little brake, then toss it left and right for the chicane type bends, meanwhile banging 2 gears down. Then a hard lefty that I seemed to nail finally. Passed many a guy going into and out of that section because the difference in speed was incredible. If you watch Greg Melka’s onboard footage on the Jennings site, you will see a man on fire doing 6 seconds or so off the lap record. And he is on a F4. Near the end of the session a yellow is waving near T11, and I see Shane sitting in the danger zone on his bike on the outside of T13, so I pull in. After the session ends, the crash truck brings in Shane.
Total damage? Complete right side of bike is scratched. He low sided off the track and we later decided he carried too much speed and the front just tucked. He ‘prolly tensed up and shook the tire loose. Bicky-bam, low side. The gauge bracket was broken. Upper right front was crushed in, small scuffing on the pipe, and the tank had scratches. His right arm must of taken most of the asphalt, cause it was almost through the material at the elbow and the wrist area, but he was unhurt. The Teknics did their job. Not to steal Shane’s spotlight, but I found out that I was doing lower 30s, and had a couple clear laps where I did 1:31s.

The rest:

One session I was riding around, and started to get a little sprinkle, then another. I stayed out for another lap, and then began to see more. Next lap around, a drop the size of a gob-stopper hit my shield, so I pulled in. Turns out, it was just a small sprinkle, and went away in 5 minute, never really getting the track wet. If only that was the last we heard from Mother Nature…..
Shane packed up, but stayed in case I had probs. I continued to ride till 2 hours after lunch, and by then I was whooped. I felt like I was going even faster than the 31s cause I raised the forks to help the bike dive into turns more, and it really did help. I felt like I was back to the 29s. It also showed me I needed to get the forks done, cause when I was railing along; the front end would kind of wallow around. And I know I have a couple seconds I can shed once the forks are completed. So I was very happy with the day. We packed up and left for home. On the way, the bottom fell out of the sky and was moving fast towards the track. At least we got to pack and leave in the dry, everyone else got SOAKED!

And that shortly wraps up my latest track day. Even though the speed of the riders varies greatly, you can’t replace the seat time and I intend to do at least 2 more in the off-season so I can get my old groove back. And perhaps get into shape for the championship lead next season.

www.ftb-racing.com
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-27-2003, 06:15 AM
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Awesome report, thanks!!!


BTW, I'm glad to hear that Shane is ok.

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-27-2003, 06:57 AM
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Way cool Jon! That's what it's all about. Working it a little and having fun! Making the best of what you've got.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-30-2003, 03:56 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I suppose you and yours have it worse than I.

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