Ride report: Track Day #3 report August 8th, 2006

I was really excited about my 3rd track day (in 2 years) at PIR and
the first one on Lucky (ninja 250). This was also my first TD with
MotoCorsa, the others had been with Cascade Track Time. I am pretty
comfortable being in the C group, Im not fast enough for the B group
and I dont have a problem getting passed or avoiding other riders.
With CTT C group they take you around the first few laps and then
people are on their own, no passing in any corners at anytime allowed.
Instructors follow people and the ones who need special instruction
get black flagged and an instructor takes them out for one on one
attention. I really like C group for this reason. My first two track
days I learned _soo_ much and really improved.

I won't claim to understand what all the behind the scenes issues were
but apparently something bad happened in a CTT C group last year and
now all the TD's have more restrictive C groups. I did not know this,
no one told me ahead of time.

First session we were broken into groups and followed in a line behind
an instructor going around the track slowly. This is a great way for
first timers to see the track. I didnt mind too much since it had been
a year since I had ridden PIR. I was ready to ride my bike and see how
I did so I could start learning what I needed to work on and practice
it though.

The second session we had a riders meeting before hand and it was
informative but again had to ride in groups doing exercises following
the instructor going even slower than the first time. I spent the
whole second session braking in the corners trying to avoid the
instructor in front of me. Which I can do on the street for free. It
was probably great for the really rank beginners. There was a woman on
a ninja 250 who had been riding 6 months and after the 2nd session
said she was having a really hard time keeping up. The instructor said
they were going to take the smaller bikes out and do a slower session
for them. I just about lost it. I talked to him afterward and he
agreed I didn't have to go in the slower session.

The third session was half following and half they were _finally_
goign to let us actually ride. But there was a problem with the comms
and we had to wait until after lunch for our 3rd session. So here it
was half the day is gone and I haven't learned much or been able to
practice at all. I was pissed and not enjoying it much.

My friend Don had been kicked out of B group for using too much lean
angle and turning in too early. Tony had been told he was going too
fast for B group and they said Aerostitch's will no longer be allowed
in the future. Tony was having fun but Don was not. He had been
talking about selling his street bike and not doing anymore trackdays.

Finally the third session followed a really long C group riders
meeting that was the most informative of all. However I have to say
that they did one thing I found irresponsible. The instructor said
that we should not ever be using the clutch. This was to a group of at
least half brand new riders. The woman on the ninja was clearly
confused. He tried to explain slipping the clutch and basically said
we should all try it! Um, talk about jumping the gun a little bit. I
noticed the woman left after that session. If I am going to learn a
new riding technique it is going to be on a slow road I know well with
lots of space for learning. Not on a track at 90mph.

Third session I didnt get out there fast enough and ended up at the
back of the group, there was no passing all morning (even in the
straights!) So my 3rd session was even more annoying than the first
two cause I was stuck behind a really slow GSXR. Finally we were able
to pass in the straights half way through the session and I passed the
GSXR coming out of turn 9.

So basically it was 1pm and I was doing my first real lap. I was
tired, hot and annoyed. I do much better in the mornings genearlly but
my morning had been wasted already. I was a little stiff and not using
good body position or taking the best lines. I asked Tony for some
help and he followed me at the next session and I followed him for a
lap. I learned a lot from that, we talked about turns 4/5 where I had
issues last year too taking the wrong lines. Then we got a 15 minute
lecture from the guy running the TD that Tony shouldnt have been
helping me. I had already asked for instruction three times in the
morning but of course since we were following them it is hard to get
any actual feedback on what to work on.

So finally the 5th Session of the day I get a real instructor to work
with me one on one. I followed her a few laps and that was helpful,
then she followed me for one lap. On our second lap with her following
me I was just about to Turn 1 when I saw a big pile of dust flying up
ahead. I knew instantly someone had crashed. I saw the red flag and
slowed down and put up my left arm. I got closer and could see two
bikes, one of the riders was already up and waving for the ambulance.
The second rider was not moving. I got off the track and found out
later the rider had broken somethign and went to the hospital but was

After that I told Tony I was feeling like I was going to low side and
kept hittting my peg feelers in 3 and 4. We looked at the photos of me
and could see why, I was pushing the bike under me and my body
position was wrong. So he showed me on my bike on the kickstand what I
should be doing, basically leaning my head and shoulder farther into
the turn so I can look at the front wheel if I want to.

I tried it on my last session of the day and man did it make a huge
difference. I felt so much more confident and could see more and it
was just more fun and I didnt feel like I was going to low side
anymore. I even got a thumbs up from an instructor after turn 9
practicing that.

Then the day was over. I still think the entire morning was a waste
for me and if I had had an instructor follow me once in the morning I
could have spent the rest the afternoon practicing like I had in
previous track days. As it was I learned a little and want to go back
but I'm not sure if it will be with MC or not. I still am too slow for
B group and still like C group but not when I have to waste 90$ worth
of my TD money braking in the corners trying to not run into the
instructors going 50mph.

I found out this morning my friend Don is selling his R6 and MotoGP
track suit and is goign to give me his last Track Day with motocorsa
in Sept. I figure if it is free I can stand to waste the entire
morning again (or maybe this time Ill try B group til they kick me out
and by then maybe C will be open track).

I did tell the guy running the track day and he understood. I also
understand there is a wide range of skills in C group but it would
have been soo much better to find out what our actual skills were by
letting us all ride and then pick out the people who need or want
instruction. I'm sure there is a lot more going on that I have no idea
about and I am not at all a typical TD rider so they really have no
reason to cater to pepole like me who like C group but are
experienced. But still. I had to vent.... I hope I didn't piss off too
many people who overheard me venting yesterday... no offense I was
just being my usual impatient self wanting to learn.

Still overall it was waay better than being at work. It was fun
hanging out at the track meeting people and I did learn some valuable
things. However the the most valuable feedback I got came from Tony
and Janene. Thanks again WL.

View pictures here!

<--- Back to the reports listing