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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok so I want to start doing track days. I am getting more nervous just thinking about going as the track dates get here. I am the type of person that likes to do my homework before I do anything new. I have bought a one peice suit and all of the gear required. I have read all of the book about riding and racing. I have friends that race that are all experts classman in WERA. I have studied them and their lines. I am very observant. However I am extremely nervous. Should I start out in beginner class and play follow the leader the first time or go intermediate? I have been told to just go intermediate and go at my pace which is probably faster than beginner. I am not fast. I have never ridden on a track. On the street I can keep up with the front of the pack (except my racer friends which put me in my place every time I am around them). On top of it I have a 1k. I have been advised to just get a track bike to get on the track and not to use my street bike. I really dont mind getting out there on my bike and really dont want to spend the extra cash getting a track bike unless I wanted to race. Do I have a reason to be nervous first time out? Should I play it safe and squidly out the beginner class? I know once I get out there I will get used to it. I guess I am nevous because I will be by myself on the track without having my friends there riding with me. Ridning with stranger makes me alittle uneasy as well. I normally do not ride with someone that I do not know. HELP PLEASE. What are some of the thing that are easy to forget when going to your first track day? :headscrat :hmmm:
 

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I would take a class... There are alot of classes out there that will give you a lot of track time but still let you learn at your own pace.. I took a class and I'm probably about the same level as it seems you're at now.. After the class I feel like I am more prepared to go to a track-day. You should be able to get into a class for about $350 or so if you use your own bike like i did.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I am going to take a class or two but they are at the end of the year in my state. There are like five or six track days that I want to attend. I will have to go to a track day first. Were you nervous going in? I basically am getting first time gitters.
 

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first off start in the beginner group. it will do 2 things ... first it will give you a chance to get comfortable with being on the track .. and secondly it will give the control riders a chance to better evaluate your abilities.. if your fast they will bump you into the intermediate group rather quickly. also as a track virgin you may not know all of the etiquette of being out there. you yourself say that your'e not fast so why would you endanger the faster riders in the intermediate group by being out there with them and not knowing the lines and not being consistant in your braking and acceleration points. also riding your own bike is the best way to go especially to start with .. ride what you know, if you get hooked then either convert your bike to track only or buy a track bike. the best thing that i would recomend is going to a trackday that offers some instruction as part of the beginner or novice group. they will go over the flags and some rules of the track as well as spend some extra time showing you things like body position and brake markers and the such. then take a school .. that way you are not so overwhelmed with new information at the school that you loose most of it .. you will be able to better understand the instructors because you will know what they are talking about.

LEAVE YOUR EGO AT THE HOUSE

go with an open mind and have fun .. some of the fastest street riders i know suck at the track .. but they also think that they are alot faster than they really are. i've been told a few times on the street that i ride like a little ole lady but several of thaose people are the ones that i'm lapping on the track. it is a different world and the same rules don't apply.

when are you looking to go and where do you live? maybe i'll know some one there to help you out a bit for your first time. we know alot of very good instructors / control riders that ride with several of the different trackday clubs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks BamBam. That is exactly what I need to hear. I was leaning more toward that anyway just so I can get comfortable on the track. I think I will excel on the track with PRACTICE! I know I need to leave my ego at home. To be honest withyou I really dont have an ego. I usually start out at the back of the pack just to measure my abilities against others on the street. If I end up front then fine and if I get left then fine. As long as am learning and having fun then that is really all that I can ask for. I want instruction of the track etiquette, and I do not want to put the other rider at risk because I was too stupid to educate myself of the line, flags, etc. I will start at the beginner stage first. I am wanted to go to STT at barber in March but it is full.

I am looking at these dates
STT:
TGRP - May 28-29th
Barber - Oct. 29-30th

NESBA:
Barber - March 25-26th
Road Atlanta -May 21st-22nd
Barber - June 4th-5th
Barber - July 9th
Barber - August 20th-21st

Floribama Riders Club ( I thought about becoming a member)
TGRP - March 19th
Barber - Sept 17th - 18th



Do you have any more suggestions in Alabama or surrounding states?

I am going to try to do everything you advised. Tires????? shold I get me a set of race tires or are the Powers okay? :hmmm:
 

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I should be at the stt barber event in oct. i'll be there in march on the 19th and 20th as well but i just checked and they are sold out. I dont ride with nesba anymore but still have a few friends that do. There are several tracks worth driving for ... jennings gp in jennings fla. just south of valdasta ga. carolina motorsports park in kershaw sc. just be careful in turn 1, and of course VIR in danville va. just as nice as barber with 5 different track layouts. the only thing is i wouldnt try the patriot course on the 1000. it's short and tight. we'll be at vir on the south course over 4th of july weekend. come on up. we'll also be at road atlanta with stt on 6/7 aug. then the best track around for a 1000 is vir full with stt on aug 22. hope to see you at some events. keep posting when you go and a report when you get back.
 

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There is nothing to be nervous about on the track. It is a little odd at first riding without mirrors, but then again at this rate of speed, you shouldnt be lo0king behind you. If you have a chance to take a safety class or a race training class that would be cool. It is however usually very expensive.

The first time I went to the track, I went in the beginner group. They have a racers meeting for all the 1st time track people. They explain lines, speed, passing and about the areas of a track that often reach out and bite 1st timers. I liked this group especially for the first time as you were not allowed to pass on the inside line and outside line passes were to be done no closer than 6 - 8 feet. If you were caught popping new cherry, you were scolded and bumped up a class. This made it feel that much safer. After the morning meeting, they took all the new people out for two laps on the track so you could see the lines. They went through at a top speed of maybe 30 mph.

The best thing about the track is that you can really ride the bike to maximum of your potential and then learn things that will help you become a better rider and all of this in very controlled environment. Meaning no cops, no cars, to debri on the ground, no blind turns and in the event that you do bin it up. There is an ambulance with emt's on the track so immediate help is by your side in minutes.

So get out and have fun.

-Rip
 

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Hope you have good tires. A liter bike on the track with a newbie track rider is like giving a kid a loaded gun...something is bound to happen. Like someone mentioned above. If you feel you are fast on the street you may actually be slow on the track. Then again you might be fast and will blend right in intermediate. Start out in beginner and if the control riders out there feel like you are too fast for beginner they will give you an intermediate sticker for your bike. Beware in the intermediate group as well. This is where most of the crashes occur due to beginner riders wanting to move up before they are actually ready and also there are some riders that don't like to be slow in racer group and want to blow by newbie intermediate riders. Face it, you will be nervous. Concentrate on technique, lines, braking points, clip points, and the rest will come in time. Remember...relax relax relax. Don't worry about getting your knee down either. Too many people try to kneedrag their first day instead of concentrating on the basics that make you smooth and fast. I've got some fast as hell friends that never kneedrag on the track.
 

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the faster i go the less i drag knees. early last year i would go completely through a set of pucks in a weekend .. this year 6 days so far and still on last years pucks prolly 8 or 10 days total so far.
 

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One other thing speaking of tires. First off, if you have bad tires you will NOT pass tech inspection. Very Very Very Important. Tire Pressure. On the street you may run 40+ psi...not on the track bro. 29 psi rear and 31 psi up front depending on your tires. Ask the guys at tech inspection what psi is best for the type of tire you have on the bike. LoL, AND, equally important. Give the tires a couple laps to warm up. Do not go out there on cold tires and jam the throttle. You will toss the bike. Guaranteed! Go out there 1st lap pretty slow, 2nd lap, pick it up a little, 3rd lap, go for it.

Got it?

1) Tire Pressure - Check it, adjust it
2) Make sure the tires are nice and warm before getting too hot on the throttle.

Don't worry though. Ride your ride. Stick your lines. It is up to the people passing you, to pass safely. Don't worry about what is happening behind you. Enjoy yourself.

Have fun, Be safe,

-Rip :thumbup:
 

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On my first track day I found myself wanting to look at the Speedometer, so to fix this I put a piece of tape over it. I found it really helped. Just my two cents.
 

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Funny you should mention the speedo. At Track Daz, you MUST have the speedo covered with duct tape. Truth be known, I have a little section from 130 - 160 uncovered so I can sneak a peek at my front straight speed.

Let's Go Already!!!!!!!

-Rip
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Wow this thread came back to life. Everything you guys have said is true. I have done two track days since i started this thread..both at Barbers. I think I have done okay so far. The first track day was a true learning experience. I had to re-learn how to ride my bike. This past track day I got bumped from novice to intermidiate at the beginning of the day after the first two sessions. I then started at the back of the I pack and moved all the way to the front. I stayed in the very front position all day! My lap times at Barbers were in the 1:40's. I am not sure how good that is but for my second time I think it was okay. BamBam what is a decent lap time there? I could have kept up with most of the Advanced riders but I didnt want to jump in over my head.
 

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Just take baby steps out there. You got yourself a loaded weapon being that you are a new track rider with a 1k. At yesterday's trackday I saw a guy highside his R1 doing about 80mph...he took a trip to the hospital but in a helicopter. Note: not trying to say anything about your skills just a word of caution. Upgrade your suspension now!!!
 

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fassina4 said:
What are some reccomendations on suspension upgrades? What to do first?
depends on how much you want to spend, you can re-valve and re spring the front forks, and you could get a new aftermarket rear shock.
 

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fassina4 said:
What are some reccomendations on suspension upgrades? What to do first?
Fortunately the GSXR shocks from 2001+ are good shocks that can be rebuilt with better internals and don't warrant the $600-$1200 for a Penske or Ohlins (unless you are a serious racer). The forks need to be re-valved and new springs are a must. You must first decide whether to set up your bike for steet, trackday, or race. Reason being that the more aggressive the riding, the stiffer the spring rate. For example, I weigh 145lbs (I know...skinny ass) and I run a .95 spring which is more for a 200lb rider. With my suspension tuned I can still use the entire suspension...meaning when I ride on the track I compress the forks all the way down except for about 1/4 inch left :bounce of travel. Now this set up is on my street bike that doubled as my track bike before I got my R6 race bike (the R6 is getting the suspension built now). Even though my street bike is still set up for "expert" level racing, it's still comfortable for the street. I can't stand mushy suspension and hate riding someone elses bike. Costwise though, for fork rebuild using RaceTech springs and RaceTech gold valves (rebound and compression) is about $450-$550 depending on shop. Rebuilding the rear shock is about $300-$350. If you have the $$$ and want the top of the line rebuild, use Traxxion but be prepared to pay almost double. I had a reputable RaceTech shop build my suspension and it wasn't performing like I thought it should. I then had the Traxxion guy (Marcus McBain) re-tune it ($20 at trackday) and it's wonderful now. Hope this gives you some ideas. You would be surprised how good your stock stuff can be tuned if you don't have the cash right now. Just a basic tuning at trackday should be around $20-$30 or $50-$60 on non-trackdays but I would try to find a Traxxion guy/shop for tuning. Sorry for the long reply but suspension is fun to talk about and learning about it is essential. Terms like: static sag, free sag, rebound, compression, sticktion are worth learning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I did have a my mechanic which does alot of the Wera racers supension setups. I did have my Sag and compression and rebound adjusted for my wieght. It did make a huge difference. I need new brakes now. What type of pads do you suggest. I was think about Vershera (sp?). I do have SS brake lines. I really want a Scott dampner. and a PC of some sort. I would rather have better suspension upgrades than motor upgrades right now. I also want to try a set of DOT Race tires. I will check into the fork rebuild. Thanks
Have you been to Barbers?
 

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The Vesrah RJL's are great pads. The Vesrah SRJLs are even better but at around $140-$160 for both sides it's pricey. I am on Performance Friction 95 Compounds and like them but will switch to Vesrah SRJL's. What ever you do don't get EBC HH...they suck compared to Vesrah, PF, Carbon Lorraine, or SBS, or Ferado. Lots of people use EBC cuz that's what the dealers have and most squids/newbies don't research before they buy or are too impatient. Instead of a Scott's I would take that money and get the forks rebuilt. You don't really need to replace your stock damper. As for tires, I'm partial to Pirelli Supercorsas but the new Power Races are sweet, a little cheaper, and you can select different compounds for different tracks or weather. I spoke to Michelin and they also informed me that there is zero brake in on the Power Races due to Michelin recycling the silicon out of the tire so there's no need to scrub them in. My friends do one warm up lap on new tires then race :bowdown:
 

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Go for beginner, as there are plenty out there that choose this group to look good, and if you are as confident as you make out to be, you will get a lot of pleasure from it before mixing with the boys who don't care about destroying their GSX-R.
 
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