I attended a track/advanced riding school yesterday at Killarney Race Course in Cape Town.
It was very informative. The instructors were knowledgeable. Two were retired racers and one is still racing, so they know what they are talking about.
We started the day off with a nice breakfast and an instructional class on track riding. They took us outside and did some swerving and braking exercises. I was so nervous / anxious the first time that I stupidly stomped on the rear brake when the instructor signaled me to stop. My rear brake locked up, but I managed to get it under control and managed to stop within the limit provided. The next couple of braking exercises went by without any hiccups and we returned to the “classroom” for a feedback session. The feedback they provided was very helpful, even if you didn't make some of the mistakes that were made, you can still learn by listening to what to do. (You never know if you are going to end up in a similar situation).
Now we get to the exiting stuff…
They took us outside and went through the braking and swerving exercises again with the people who struggled while the rest of us kitted up for the track. I made my second and probably the dumbest mistake ever... I was so caught up in the moment and with listening what the instructor said that I put my helmet on backwards!!! LOL.
(I’m certain that the swarm of butterflies in my stomach had nothing to do with it). We entered the pit lane and waited for the track marshal to clear us to go on. The Instructors rode in front for the first two laps so we can warm up our tires and to show us which lines to use. After these two laps, the instructors fell back to ride behind every single one of us. This was our first session and I didn't want to wring the ceebee’s neck, instead I focused on using the right line, looking through corners and leading with my lower shoulder. I also explored which gears to use and when to start braking. We were forced to quit early, because a guy on a 1000cc Kawasaki crashed on one of the corner. Luckily he wasn't injured badly, neither was his bike, but that ended the session for all of us. Apparently we were on the track for about 30mins, It felt more like 30 seconds.
We were taken to another feedback session where the instructors spoke to each of us individually and gave personal feedback on what you are doing wrong. I was informed that I do not keep my eyes as level with the horizon as I should, but I was doing the counter steering quite well. We did a couple of exercises to improve my eyes.
Our second session started and after a couple of warm up laps, I did some more laps while focusing on everything the instructor said. Then I kicked it up a gear to see what the ceebee can really do and I must say that I and some guys on 600+ bikes were really impressed with what this little monster’s capable off. The amount of feedback it provides on a track is absolutely astounding. I never felt like I was in too deep, even when pushing it to my limits (I don’t think that I can push the bike to its limit… yet). This bike really only starts to thrive when you go over 7500 revs and it handles it exceptionally well. I kind-off felt bad for making her scream like that… but I think she liked it.
I actually saw an indicated 165km/h on the front straight and 159km/h on the back straight. Now you can’t take corners at those speeds, so now we brake and downshift. This bike didn't even complain with high rev downshifts. It took them, letting out a growl like a lion cub! Not once during high rev downshifts did it threaten to become unstable and you slow down really fast while using the engine and front brakes together, only to throw it into the corner like you are Rossi.
We had another feedback session afterwards and I had a lot of good comments about my posture and progress from the instructors.
Unfortunately the day had come to an end (I guess it had to end sometime). There were 2 crashes, luckily neither rider was injured, one during each session. I really learned a lot during this class, especially the “leading with your lower shoulder when you turn”. I had a look at my tires and I even managed to get them ‘blistered’, now I ride around without any ‘chicken strips’.
There’s really nothing on earth that can compare to riding on a track and I am definitely going back when they have another class. It was absolutely exhilarating, If there’s still anybody on this site who hasn’t gone to a track day. My advice to you is to get your arse there as soon as possible. It’s worth it!!!
Here’s a link to the pictures that was taken during the day. And a picture of me, going into the final turn.
Honda Wing and Mike Cameron Motorcycle track school.(18 Nov.) « CapeFuel
I would have liked to have a picture that wasn't taken on the banked corner, but they all came out very blurry. But this picture is still pretty awesome