Did my first track on Sunday at Auto Club Speedway! - Yamaha R6 Forum: YZF-R6 Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-14-2011, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
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Did my first track on Sunday at Auto Club Speedway!

I'm pretty sure it was the most fun I've ever had. Man, do I have a lot to learn / practice though.

Anybody out there know this track well and can give me some pointers? In particular I'd like to get way better at hitting the chicane that comes down off the banking. I was with a friend who runs in the fast group who clued me in that you can carry crazy amounts of speed through there if you stay way up high on the banking before turning in.

I gave it a go in my last session and I came at it a good bit faster than I had been going, and nailed the initial turn in (or so I thought), but when it came time to flick it back the other way I had a hell of a time getting the bike turned over and pointed where I wanted. I didn't totally biff it or anything, but I was way off from the apex I was looking for and I held it back a bit over there for the rest of the session.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-15-2011, 12:14 PM
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Re: Did my first track on Sunday at Auto Club Speedway!

Depending on your speed into that corner you will have to really muscle the bike around. The trick is to turn hard and fast. Going into that turn at about 120-130 myself I know it took almost all I had to get my bike to flop through there. It's all about timing and muscle for that set of turns. You have to hit the marks and get the bike turning, or you will just run wide.


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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-15-2011, 04:04 PM
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Re: Did my first track on Sunday at Auto Club Speedway!

That's one of my issues I was told, I still have that street riding mentality when it comes to turning. That and learning how much feet really matter when it comes to placement to help your body move.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-15-2011, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Did my first track on Sunday at Auto Club Speedway!

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Originally Posted by luke geis View Post
It's all about timing and muscle for that set of turns. You have to hit the marks and get the bike turning, or you will just run wide.
Cool, thanks for the tips. I think I may severely underestimate how hard I can push when I countersteer. I think I may be headed back on April 22nd so I'll give it another go then.

After seeing pictures and checking out my lap times I've got about a million other things I should probably work on before trying to master that turn, but it was just such a fun section.

My instructor from the day who's been racing for 6 years said he just managed to drag knee through there at about ~150mph...
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-15-2011, 11:02 PM
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Re: Did my first track on Sunday at Auto Club Speedway!

Just wait till you get to Willow springs turn 8. There you can drag knee doing 160 if you got the balls to do so!

Work on turning a little bit later and a bit quicker. On the street rider get lazy and start tuning too early and also just kinda laze into the turn. On the track you have to wait a little longer and turn quicker. This gives more time to slow down, reduces used lean angle (from turning quicker ) and will usually decrease lap times a bit.


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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-16-2011, 03:08 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Did my first track on Sunday at Auto Club Speedway!

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Originally Posted by luke geis View Post
Just wait till you get to Willow springs turn 8. There you can drag knee doing 160 if you got the balls to do so!

Work on turning a little bit later and a bit quicker. On the street rider get lazy and start tuning too early and also just kinda laze into the turn. On the track you have to wait a little longer and turn quicker. This gives more time to slow down, reduces used lean angle (from turning quicker ) and will usually decrease lap times a bit.
Yup! I definitely need to work on my countersteering / turn-in. After seeing pictures of myself the next day I realize my body position is terrible (too upright, and crossed up) and I've got way more lean angle available to me.

Any advice on what things to work on first? Seems like body position would be the smart thing to get sorted first, and once that's consistent I can start upping entry speed or turning in later.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-16-2011, 05:35 PM
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Re: Did my first track on Sunday at Auto Club Speedway!

To be honest body position isn't a make, or break deal. It helps, but it doesn't make you faster or slower per se. Body position is something that can be worked out at any time and at any speed. So I would just work on it in your leisure.

As for working on you corner entry I would start by looking further ahead. Then pick braking and turn in point markers. These points can be anything off to the side of the road, or a mark in the road, basically anything that doesn't move over time and you can see readily and easily. This is an exercise that should be done on the street and on the track. Picking the points is important for helping you to relax and feel less rushed, looking further ahead slows the road down and gives you more time to see those points you picked. the whole idea is to slow the road down and be relaxed.

After you have your braking and turn in points found it's time to work on adjusting them. For braking at first, give yourself plenty of space between the braking marker and the turn. Brake as you normally would and forget about it for the time being. The main goal now is to work on turning later. You should already have your turn in point found. So now you want to push it back closer to the turn. As you do this you will find you have to turn quicker. You want to turn the bike as quickly as possible. What you may find is that you can turn so quick that you end up turning into an early apex, or you have to lift the bike back up to widen the line. This is good, because it means that you can turn later. So do just that, keep turning later and later until you reach the point where you turn as late as you can and turn the bike as quickly as you can. DO NOT CHANGE YOUR BRAKING POINT YET. We are not concerned with overall speed right now. We just want to work at a speed we are confident at.

This will change with speed so be prepared to work on things one step at a time for each turn. The faster you go the more time it will take to turn, so be prepared to work on every turn until your sure of what can be done. After your confident with your new turn in points and how quick you can turn, then it's time to work on adjusting the braking marker. The idea was at first to give you plenty of room to slow down and not be worried about it. By now you should realize that you can either brake way later, or that your not braking very hard to get slowed down at the moment. So now we need to move the braking marker closer to your turn in point. Go in small steps, don't try to close a huge gap all at once ( remember we are not trying to get scared ). As you move the braking marker closer and closer to the turn in point you will see it takes more and more effort to slow the bike down. At some point you will reach a point where you cannot wait any longer and get the bike slowed down to the desired speed before the turn in point.

This is where things get tricky and one should consider what they are doing. This type of aggressive riding on the street can get you into trouble. Being practiced at it is important, but it could do more harm than good if you abuse your confidence. The reason being is that the next step is trail braking. This is a great tool on and off the track, but is best learned in a safe environment.

Trail braking is where you continue to use the front brake even while turning the bike and up until, or near the apex of the turn. As you increase lean angle into the turn you gradually decrease brake lever pressure trailing off the brakes as you come to the apex of the turn, where you will get back on the gas. This racers rule is the object of that action: " you will never coast, you will either be on the brakes, or on the gas ".......This rule is what your trying to accomplish by trail braking. This also helps move your braking marker a little closer to the turn in order to carry more corner entry speed. This speed will be tapered off as you come to the apex and you get back on the gas again. This is the final way to maintain more speed up to the turn and out brake your competitor. It is also an easy way to find the limits of front tire traction. Too much front brake at a large lean angle will certainly have the front running from you. This is something that takes time to find that point. The practice of doing it is great for increasing entry speed into a turn, but on the street you can find it puts you into trouble, if you use it too much. It is a tool, not a necessary way of riding. It is a great tool on the street in a danger situation and you need to shed more speed as your entering a turn. Trail braking will shed that speed and can save the day. Abuse the action though and the fun may stop.

I would save the trail braking until your confident about the other two exercises first. As for body position, you see th guys on TV and in video games. Mimic them and then over exaggerate the action. You think you leaning off, but your really not. You should really feel like your trying to crawl off the bike. You want to get into position early, preferably well before turning the bike. if your trying to change body position while turning, you can upset the chassis of the bike and it can make the bike do some weird things mid turn. You want your body position set before your turning.

The rest of riding is getting on the gas ( not hard, just on the gas ) as early as possible in the turn. You ideally want to be back on the gas as you get to any turns apex ( depending upon the turn of course ) and certainly not after if you can avoid it. Getting on the gas settles the bike and makes it handle better, it also places the weight on the rear wheel which is easier to modulate traction. If your off the gas the front is doing all the work, it is the smallest tire, with the least total traction. You want to try and get the weight back on the rear tire asap. The apex of the turn is the most likely spot where the front will loose traction. This is because that is where the largest lean angle is acquired and is also the slowest speed in which the bike will be at through the turn. This means that there is more weight being transfered into one spot on the front tire when he ire has the least amount of traction ( at max lean angle ). Getting on the gas even a little will solve that problem. You don't have to be accelerating, but you want at least some forward thrust.

have fun and be safe. Work on things one at a time, and don't try and do it all in one day. It will take time to work all this stuff into your riding habits.


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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-16-2011, 07:32 PM
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Re: Did my first track on Sunday at Auto Club Speedway!

Thank you Luke. I am looking forward to my first trackday and I appreciate the help that you offer. I hope to see you there, one of these days.

Richard
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 01:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Did my first track on Sunday at Auto Club Speedway!

Wow, thanks for the reply Luke! Most of that is very familiar, either from the class part of the track day or reading Twist of the Wrist.

The reason I'm fretting my body position is I feel like I have no gauge of my lean angle. I feel like I've got the bike waaaay cranked over, then I check out my front tire and see pictures and realize I've still got plenty to go. I feel like I'd be a lot more confident if I had my body position nailed down and consistent - so I could tell myself "Hey, I haven't touched down a knee in this corner, so I can still up the entry speed."

Anyways, this is what I look like coming out of T13:

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And another, going into T5 maybe?

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 01:49 PM
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Re: Did my first track on Sunday at Auto Club Speedway!

Well you have plenty of lean angle left to use thats for sure. As for your riding position you are doing what is known as " riding proud ". There is nothing wrong with riding proud at all. Just stick you knee out further thats all. When you drag a toe, or a peg and you still don't get the knee down. Then your using all the available lean angle and it's body position that is keeping your knee from hitting first. That is why I say stick it out more. Your a taller guy so it should hit pretty soon if you stick it out. As far as gauging lean angle, don't worry about it. When you start dragging things, then you will know where your at.


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