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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
12 days before my 61st Birthday- I finally did my first Track Day!
It Exceeded expectations. Having all my ducks in a row sure seemed to help too!

Most all my riding is spirited country road twisties- but unless I turn around and run it the other way, even these corners are sometimes miles apart, unlike a track. Autobahn Country Club, in Joliet Il. has 2 courses and some times connected to one course. I did the South Course on 5/30/21- 15 turns officially in about 2.1 miles

I arrived Saturday afternoon and set up my spot for my TD on Sunday. I'm glad I planned well- I had my own meals and was very comfortable and I was ready for the cool Saturday night sleeping in my SUV on a comfortable foam mattress with the 3rd and 2nd row seats down- plenty of room too!

I could post so many things about the weekend- but I'll stick to the highlights. It was essentially all a positive time. I met some great folks near where I set up my camp and pit. Glad I brought my canopy- it was very sunny most all the time.
I didn't have to work on anything, and was on a new set of Birdgestone Battlax s21's They felt really good the entire day.
I was advised about seepage of water on that course and sure enough the last few sessions there was some. I felt my rear sliding a bit on one turn b/c of it on the 6th of 7 sessions.

I took a few pics.

A Univ. of Texas graduate, I often wear my Longhorn hat at events, etc.
I KNEW things where going to go well when the U-haul motorcycle trailer I rented had TX plates!


My pick up truck has a bad fuel pump- not changing it before my TD so I rented the Uhaul M/C trailer.
My 08 Pilot performed great, and cruised well- no issues.


I used my own Harbor Freight front wheel chock that captures the wheel and will hold the bike up.
Then I saw many at the TD using just the Proper handlebar tie down straps like I have using the trailer by itself.
The bike trailered perfectly, no issues.


This was the view out from my canopy. I realized, not many bikes there in OEM paint schemes.


This was the only rider I knew beforehand, and quickly by luck found him in the paddock when I arrived. This is Joe's bike. Dr. Joe as he as a physician. He rides the advanced group. This is his R1. It has some goodies, including an aftermarket all carbon bodywork. He and others were very helpful to me.


Saturday after watching some sessions from the fence, I saw this walking back to my pit area behind the 'tire guys' tent.


My K5 Liter between sessions.


The Director of Sport bike track time- Owen- leading the Riders Meeting.


This is what both sides of my tires looked like after just a few sessions. I was happy to see I was using the whole tire.


As everyone had anticipated, it was a very positive learning day.
I had no negative events or issues, and none from the staff of STT.
For the first sessions, each one of our group was first taking turns following the instructor rider.
ON the second session, it was my turn to follow first. I was a bit apprehensive before we started rolling, but I was able to keep the instructors pace w/o 'parking it' on any corners and holding the others up.
On the 4th thru the 7th session- after a 'warm-up' lap, we were able to go out own pace and didn't have to follow, with strict rules about where we could pass others, etc.
This went well for me. There was an s1000rr, and a CBR600r in my group that had each done track days and had a good corner pace.
So on the later sessions, I was comfortable following those two riders and trying to match corner speed with them- and not whacking the throttle open on the straights and passing them.
I found I did several laps in 3rd gear only! Not using 2nd on a few tighter turns and risking spinning the wheels on the exit, and not trying to go Max. on the straights. I can do at least 130ish in 3rd alone.
I was there to work on corner speed, not trying to drag race on straightaways. I could have saved a lot of money and gone to the weekly 'open drags' at Great Lakes Drag Way 25 minutes from my house!
I achieved many goals-
  • Didn't cause any problems/issues. The instructor did not 'correct' my form, and said I was doing real good, especially for my first track day. They were being nice for also not saying 'doing well for such an old man!' LOL
  • Did every session w/o issue
  • I didn't crash or go off the track. My bike came home shiny!
  • I GOT MY KNEE DOWN, SEVERAL TIMES! ( for you 'trackee's, I know this is no big deal for you, it was another level for me however!)
  • I left there feeling great about my day and what I had learned and experienced.

After breaking my 'paddock/pit' down and driving the 2+ hr. drive back home and taking the trailer back, I still felt good! I own this to the training I do with my swim workout group!
As early as tomorrow I'm going to try and book my next track day.
I'm hoping for Road America- with my Liter Bike- I can 'let the big dog eat!'
 

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Nice write up, Todd.

Glad you had fun and are planning the next TD already. Are you addicted yet, ha ha?

Just remember to switch your brain back to street mode now you’re back home.
 

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Congrats Todd! I'm glad you had a positive first trackday. I'm glad you were focusing on carrying corner speed instead of attacking it like a "get fast bro". Cheers bud! Hope to see you at the racetrack someday.
 

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Nice write up, that is how to win a track day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I feel I owe most of my success on my first TD to the members on this site!
I DID use Chucks checklist- slightly modified for me.
I did tape up my tail lights extra good (forgot who said- Spyder?). So good, in tech he asked me if I disconnected it! I said nope, I was advised to tape it extra thick!

I'm not sure if I mentioned that as they were splitting up in groups- the first 2 groups were 'Done that Course and done a TD'. I raised my hand on the 3rd group and was picked at random- there were more than 5 hands went up- 5 to a group. For some reason- we only had 4 each session, with a s1000r (not rr) bowing out after lunch, which left us with 3 riders in our group for the last several sessions.
I was the only one that had not ridden that course, or done a TD in our group. I kept up well- not bragging or exaggerating. I'm glad I've been working on BP from reading and watching videos, etc. I'm glad I've been working on trying to be smooth on my country twisties- this seemed to help me too. I was predictable, as were the 2 other riders I mentioned. The s1000r however wasn't quite up to even our speed, and when he lead us would 'park it' in several corners and going wide sometimes almost off track, etc. The instructor had to teach him about foot position too- as in toes on the pegs, not hanging down!

Then there was this rider on a thing an MV Augusta? He was in a group in front of us to start. Strict rules- only pass on the longer straits. When we would catch him in all the last sessions, instead of easing a bit on the straights like others would do to allow for a pass, he would pin his throttle and drag race the longer sraights! I mean, park it and get out his picnic basket (Koth's saying?) on the turns, and then pin the straights. NOT cool IMHO. So a few times, one in particular I got so feed up on the long back straight, I pinned it in 3rd too and got past him and 2 others- keeping a 6 ft distance of course and completing it before the first brake marker like we were instructed to LOL. Then I made sure I didn't 'park it' on the others who were now behind me LOL.

When I watched the 3 different groups on the North course on Saturday the day before after I set up, I could clearly see the differences in the groups. I belonged in Novice- for now anyways. I feel as I work on my corner speed even more and get my knee down more consistently which will come with the good BP and corner speed, then I'll be ready for the I group.

I was already faster/smoother than probably over half of the N riders there that day. This made me feel comfortable where I was.
I kept my adrenaline in check as best I could as we would roll out the hot pit lane and here all the bikes revving up, and dipping a knee instantly on a tight turn! You don't really know how you're going to feel or react until you're in that situation. I amazed myself how comfortable I felt- this gave me some cautioned confidence.

Thanks again for all your advice people!
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I guess we have our answer to that question....
OK, I just signed up for my 2nd TD at Road America! 07/25/21!
Let the Big Dog Eat! ( A reference to a line in the movie 'Tin Cup')

I'll be stripping my Battlax set to save for Road America, and going back to my Michelin PP 2's for a while.
This way I can save some $$ LOL
 

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12 days before my 61st Birthday- I finally did my first Track Day!
It Exceeded expectations. Having all my ducks in a row sure seemed to help too!

Most all my riding is spirited country road twisties- but unless I turn around and run it the other way, even these corners are sometimes miles apart, unlike a track. Autobahn Country Club, in Joliet Il. has 2 courses and some times connected to one course. I did the South Course on 5/30/21- 15 turns officially in about 2.1 miles

I arrived Saturday afternoon and set up my spot for my TD on Sunday. I'm glad I planned well- I had my own meals and was very comfortable and I was ready for the cool Saturday night sleeping in my SUV on a comfortable foam mattress with the 3rd and 2nd row seats down- plenty of room too!

I could post so many things about the weekend- but I'll stick to the highlights. It was essentially all a positive time. I met some great folks near where I set up my camp and pit. Glad I brought my canopy- it was very sunny most all the time.
I didn't have to work on anything, and was on a new set of Birdgestone Battlax s21's They felt really good the entire day.
I was advised about seepage of water on that course and sure enough the last few sessions there was some. I felt my rear sliding a bit on one turn b/c of it on the 6th of 7 sessions.

I took a few pics.

A Univ. of Texas graduate, I often wear my Longhorn hat at events, etc.
I KNEW things where going to go well when the U-haul motorcycle trailer I rented had TX plates!


My pick up truck has a bad fuel pump- not changing it before my TD so I rented the Uhaul M/C trailer.
My 08 Pilot performed great, and cruised well- no issues.


I used my own Harbor Freight front wheel chock that captures the wheel and will hold the bike up.
Then I saw many at the TD using just the Proper handlebar tie down straps like I have using the trailer by itself.
The bike trailered perfectly, no issues.


This was the view out from my canopy. I realized, not many bikes there in OEM paint schemes.


This was the only rider I knew beforehand, and quickly by luck found him in the paddock when I arrived. This is Joe's bike. Dr. Joe as he as a physician. He rides the advanced group. This is his R1. It has some goodies, including an aftermarket all carbon bodywork. He and others were very helpful to me.


Saturday after watching some sessions from the fence, I saw this walking back to my pit area behind the 'tire guys' tent.


My K5 Liter between sessions.


The Director of Sport bike track time- Owen- leading the Riders Meeting.


This is what both sides of my tires looked like after just a few sessions. I was happy to see I was using the whole tire.


As everyone had anticipated, it was a very positive learning day.
I had no negative events or issues, and none from the staff of STT.
For the first sessions, each one of our group was first taking turns following the instructor rider.
ON the second session, it was my turn to follow first. I was a bit apprehensive before we started rolling, but I was able to keep the instructors pace w/o 'parking it' on any corners and holding the others up.
On the 4th thru the 7th session- after a 'warm-up' lap, we were able to go out own pace and didn't have to follow, with strict rules about where we could pass others, etc.
This went well for me. There was an s1000rr, and a CBR600r in my group that had each done track days and had a good corner pace.
So on the later sessions, I was comfortable following those two riders and trying to match corner speed with them- and not whacking the throttle open on the straights and passing them.
I found I did several laps in 3rd gear only! Not using 2nd on a few tighter turns and risking spinning the wheels on the exit, and not trying to go Max. on the straights. I can do at least 130ish in 3rd alone.
I was there to work on corner speed, not trying to drag race on straightaways. I could have saved a lot of money and gone to the weekly 'open drags' at Great Lakes Drag Way 25 minutes from my house!
I achieved many goals-
  • Didn't cause any problems/issues. The instructor did not 'correct' my form, and said I was doing real good, especially for my first track day. They were being nice for also not saying 'doing well for such an old man!' LOL
  • Did every session w/o issue
  • I didn't crash or go off the track. My bike came home shiny!
  • I GOT MY KNEE DOWN, SEVERAL TIMES! ( for you 'trackee's, I know this is no big deal for you, it was another level for me however!)
  • I left there feeling great about my day and what I had learned and experienced.

After breaking my 'paddock/pit' down and driving the 2+ hr. drive back home and taking the trailer back, I still felt good! I own this to the training I do with my swim workout group!
As early as tomorrow I'm going to try and book my next track day.
I'm hoping for Road America- with my Liter Bike- I can 'let the big dog eat!'
awesome write up and story!
I did my first ride on a track in 2018. 54 years old and my buddy invited me to go to Italy for World Ducati Week. I was really nervous before going out on the Misano race track. They put us on new V4 Panigales. They didn’t give any instructions and let 20 of us free on track. The track was like 2 freeways wide in many places. I did 4 laps and wow what a experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If I didn't mention, there were some run-offs and crashes that day. One of maybe the worst was in my N group, behind me on the last lap of the session anyways of session 5 of 7. I saw the Bambulance go out on the track, etc. Long delay, then they did resume. There was talk of cutting the whole day short, but they did in fact have 7 sessions, with the 7th slightly shorter.
On my 7th session, with the 'seepage' onto several turns, and having already had a positive day, I wasn't going to risk going down on my last session of the day. I/we took it easy and was relieved to have made it thru my first track day. I admit, I'm kinda hooked now LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
One of the riders in my group on a cbr600r had a tank mounted camera.
Much of these few laps, we were following a slower rider from the group ahead of us.
He PM'd me this video, and I caught a glimpse of me passing him on the left on the start/finish straight. I quickly sorta was out of view so I didn't get to see much of my riding after the pass though. I'm in the black and white with the yellow markings, Blue helmet and Blue/white GSXR. I'm passing the camera bike on the left around 12:31 in the video. I tried to cut it to start near there too.

 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Always fun to see yourself on camera!
Yes, even if as in this case it was a 'fly by'. I hope he might have some more vid of actually being behind me so I can use it as a learning tool.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
I'm already watching on boards videos of the RA track LOL!
 
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Clean pass I think. 6 foot is hard sometimes. RA huh? Kettle Bottoms WFO doesn't intimidate you just a little?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Clean pass I think. 6 foot is hard sometimes. RA huh? Kettle Bottoms WFO doesn't intimidate you just a little?
I think you're referring to the video. I met and knew the rider w/ the GoPro vid, we became good friends, he rides a CBR600R. I was also aware of the other riders that also passed him as he backed off a bit going in to that turn 1. Nobody even said a word to me after that, so yeah, I feel even with the stricter rules of N, it was a clean pass LOL.

I'm actually looking forward to the long straights at Road America! I plan to be doing 170 real speed on the long one in the later sessions. We'll see how I feel after I've ridden it though LOL
 

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I have only ridden Road America when I raced there on the SV. It's actually a pretty hard on small bikes there since you're WFO for so long. The 750 would be a whole different experience. I think my favorite parts are the carousel and braking down into 5.
 
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