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Strength and Honor
6,143 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Spent this past Saturday riding with NESBA in their free half day Introductory class; my review of the NESBA experience is covered in this thread.

It was the first time for me at Blackhawk Farms (BF) but not my first time on the track. My review will compare this to Mid-Ohio (MO), which is probably woefully unfair but its all I've got right now. Autobahn, Putnam, and possibly Gingerman are possible future trips.

The track consists of 6 significant curves. Its ~2mi in length and 20' wide, as compared to MO's 40'. The track maximum is 35 riders at any one time, which ended up being pretty congested. Apparently the rules change just this year to reduce the number and I can't imagine what it was like with more. There was one crash each in the two sessions I rode, one in Intermediate requiring the Ambulance and the other in Beginner.

The traffic never actually bothered me so I must've been on the opposite end of the track. Another Beginner next to me commented on it after each of the first two sessions which makes me think a bit about wanting to return to this location. Note that number of riders per track are initially limited by the track itself and then the organizations can reduce that number as they see fit.

The track is quite pretty though I don't recall any elevation changes, at least not as substantial as ones in Ohio. There are quite a lot of trees in the middle of the track (not in the raceway, smarta$$) so you can't really see across the track. Something disturbing that the asst director mentioned was that they have seen deer on the track before, though he didn't intend it to be a warning. Now I personally go to a track to control just those kinds of things so this was disappointing to learn.

The surface felt relatively smooth at my anemic Beginner pace and the Advanced guy next to me specifically commented it was smoother than Autobahn. That said, there are definitely patches of asphalt where they've fixed the track and those are notable different in grip and feel than the others. This wasn't a problem at all on MO but having thought about it expect it to be a common occurrence on local tracks like BF.

The carousel was fun to ride and probably would have been an absolute blast if I'd stayed long enough to figure out where all the entry points for all the turns were. The kink made for a bit of technical work, though not on par with MO.

Not sure if I'll return to this track or not. For now I want to try out Autobahn and Putnam which are at least as close as BF. I'm hoping to get in with Sportbike Track Time at Autobahn for an equal comparison to the tracks and the organizers.

423 Posts
Blackhawk is my home track. Its one of those tracks that gets more fun as you up the pace for sure, but if you rode a session with the NESBA I group you must have been moving pretty good. My last time there I was running 1:26's and the track really came together for me. I always had a hard time with the kink right after the carsouel, but the faster I went the easier that part came to me. My favorite turn is T5 by far. If you get a good drive out of 4 you can pass on the outside pretty easily. Passing on the brakes into 6 is also a lot of fun.

The surface IMO is only OK there. There are 2 spots on the track where you do not want to go off the racing line, T1 and the "bus stop". The cars really seem to tear up those spots pretty bad.

I'll be riding Autobahn Full on the 30th of this month with You should sign up for that one, you'll get the best of both courses. I'm one of the few people that really like the South course and I've heard the North course is a really good time so the full track has to be fun, right?

You should also consider hitting up Road America. My gosh is that track FUN! Just make sure your brakes are up to par!
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