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Thread: My first track day on my F650GS

  1. #1
    09 F650GS, 08 Suzuki Band
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    Oct 2009
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    Eugene, OR
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    My first track day on my F650GS

    My first track day was very exciting - scary, exciting and fun. My buddy and I had toured two days to get out there, two long days riding and camping. We got the bikes ready the night before and rode out the two miles to the track from our campsite early Saturday morning. The bikes passed inspection and we did the drive around the course in a trailer. We were at Oregon Raceway Park in Grass Valley ? doing it counter-clockwise. It?s a very tight technical track with lots of elevation, so lots of blind corners (come up a hill with no view of where the road goes!). There were about 9 of us in group C, but the majority of the group had done track days before. We had the usual beginner briefings before the first session and then after the next two sessions.

    The first session was very scary for me. After I came in at the end of that session I saw my buddy had taken off his gear, he came off after the first lap and decided it was not for him. Anyway each session I loosened up more and got more and more comfortable and started focusing on the technicalities of the difficult track and trying to sort out the corners I was having issues with. I was clearly the slowest rider in group C, so after the first three sessions where we had instructors lead us for the first two laps, it was open session and I let the other riders start ahead of me and I had the whole track to myself ? at least no one lapped me (except the instructors). In session 4 I felt like I had sorted myself out quite well, had my lines and gearing figured out, and was starting to push a bit harder. But then in my second or third lap of session 5 I came down the straight faster than I had been doing and came out of the corner way wide and fast after a poor set up so I decided to take a little off road adventure. But I kept the bike up and rejoined the track. But then a few seconds later I saw the track was under a red flag because someone had crashed ? it was actually an instructor who is an experienced racer! After seeing the aftermath of the crash, when I came off the track under the red flag my head was no longer in it and I decided that I was done then...figured I was getting mentally tired and did not want to make any more mistakes. Anyway I enjoyed it, rode much harder than I normally get to do and learned a lot.

  2. #2
    Registered User
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    When I saw the thread title the first time I missed the word "track" (I'm still on my first cup of coffee).
    Then I read your post and went ................ WHAT??? He's on the track with his bike the first day out...

    Ok ... so ... after I got squared away, I read it again.

    I'm sure you packed a few new techniques into your bag of tricks that will make you a better rider going forward.

    Who put on the event?
    How'd you like the instructors?
    What were some of the best techniques they passed on to you?

    (Sorry, it's the first day of school here in North Carolina ... )

  3. #3
    09 F650GS, 08 Suzuki Band
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Eugene, OR
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    62
    Quote Originally Posted by jimbob59 View Post
    When I saw the thread title the first time I missed the word "track" (I'm still on my first cup of coffee).
    Then I read your post and went ................ WHAT??? He's on the track with his bike the first day out...

    Ok ... so ... after I got squared away, I read it again.

    I'm sure you packed a few new techniques into your bag of tricks that will make you a better rider going forward.

    Who put on the event?
    How'd you like the instructors?
    What were some of the best techniques they passed on to you?

    (Sorry, it's the first day of school here in North Carolina ... )
    The event was run by PSSR - its the oldest track organization here in the Pacific North West. I thought the instruction was adequate, it could have been more individualized towards the new track riders. Some of the best techniques were to not bother with the rear brake, to modify the apex in some of the corners to hit a later apex than indicated, to be light on the bars and to be on the balls of your feet, and to think baout setting up lines way in advance.

  4. #4
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Have your buddy try again, the skills you learn can save your life. You started to figure out the key to success, you relaxed! Now to prevent the run off, you need to look where you want to go! As soon as you scared your self, my bet is you looked for an out and of course that is where you went!

    The way to approach the track is NOT to try to go fast, try to be SMOOTH, once you get comfortable, by being smooth, your confidence and speed rapidly rise, and before you know it, they will be telling youi you need to move to the next class, as you are embarising the kids on sport bikes with your dirt bike
    2010 F800GS Full Ohlins package, '04 R1100S Replika
    '01 F650GS Wife's bike
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    Tuscany and Central Italy 2010

  5. #5
    09 F650GS, 08 Suzuki Band
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Eugene, OR
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    Quote Originally Posted by pffog View Post
    Have your buddy try again, the skills you learn can save your life. You started to figure out the key to success, you relaxed! Now to prevent the run off, you need to look where you want to go! As soon as you scared your self, my bet is you looked for an out and of course that is where you went!

    T
    Yup that is definitely what happened....

  6. #6
    Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by pffog View Post
    Have your buddy try again, the skills you learn can save your life. You started to figure out the key to success, you relaxed! Now to prevent the run off, you need to look where you want to go! As soon as you scared your self, my bet is you looked for an out and of course that is where you went!

    The way to approach the track is NOT to try to go fast, try to be SMOOTH, once you get comfortable, by being smooth, your confidence and speed rapidly rise, and before you know it, they will be telling youi you need to move to the next class, as you are embarising the kids on sport bikes with your dirt bike
    try smooth = go fast.

    try fast = go slow.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

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