Saturday, April 13, 2013

Only 1 Track Day in April...

...but what a day it was!

Well, that's 5 track days down so far and that was just by the first weekend in April.  There was a track day this weekend but I cannot make it due a scheduling conflict.  Then there was supposed to be a track day on 4/28, but the provider had to cancel it due to some conflict.  So that leaves my next available date as May 5.

But back to the one April track day.  We were back at MSRH with my favorite track day provider, Fastline MCS. The other local providers have their strengths, but I really like the family atmosphere of Fastline.  But I digress (I always wanted to use that phrase. Hopefully I used it correctly).  As I've started doing this year, I arrived at the track the night before the event and camped in the paddock area, thereby avoiding the super-early wake-up and morning drive to the track to get a good spot.  It was just, "wake up and I'm there."

For this track day I decided to step up to the Advanced level to get out of the traffic jam and erratic driving that is the Intermediate level.  Additionally I signed up for the Advanced Racing school for some personal instruction with Brandon Cleland, assisted by Tony Nguyen.  To start the morning the track was dry, temps were around 70 and there was a lot of traction from the start.  Brandon had us to go out in the first session to get warmed up and check out the track conditions while he and Tony did the same and shot some video of Brandon demonstrating the racing line around the track.  After that session we came into the classroom for review and instruction.  We then repeated that pattern throughout the day.  Ride and classroom, ride and classroom.  In class we talked about different items like lines, body position, braking, etc, aided by a track diagram and video of the previous session.  The close instruction and one on one mentoring allowed each student to pick out their strengths and weaknesses and learn how to improve.  For me, my main area of improvement was braking.  They said my body position was good but just get off the seat a little more, and getting on the throttle wasn't a problem because when riding the SV650 you can almost treat the throttle like an on/off switch!

So the day was pretty busy.  We'd ride the track, come back and put our warmers back on and whatever else needed to be done, then hustle off to the classroom.  Then with about 5 minutes left before the next on-track session would start, we would quickly go back to the bikes, get ready and head out on the track.  The pace was pretty hectic at times, but it was totally worth it.  Working with the instructors I was able to knock almost 3 seconds off my previous best lap time and I was still dropping 1 or 2 tenths a seconds a lap each session.  When the day ended I was still improving despite being pretty exhausted.

Overall it was an exciting day and we were disappointed when it had to end.  Three days later we were still talking about the fun we had and the new friends we had made.  It's a shame I won't be going back for almost a month but then again, having a weekend that isn't go go go will be nice.

Here's a video from a few laps around the middle of the day having fun with a guy on a CBR600.

And this video is one of my fastest laps of the day.  After watching it again, I can see LOTS of places for improvements.  I hope I can drop a few more seconds next time and maybe even run a sub-1:50 lap one day.

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