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Offline Triumph

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Track day novice!
« on: October 07, 2017, 11:12:41 PM »
I am just about to book a track day at Oulton Park, it will be my first track day. So if anyone can give me some advice as to what I should expect from the day it would be much appreciated! Do you get any kind of specific training throughout the day etc?

Thank you in advance


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Offline hotmetal

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Re: Track day novice!
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2017, 11:52:13 PM »
It kind of depends what you've booked but generally no. You can sometimes get tips from the guys running it, depending on the company. I haven't been to Oulton Park (only Snetterton and the Nrburgring) but the day usually starts with a bike check (scrutineering and a decibel test so make sure you've got your baffles in). They give you a safety briefing and tell you what the flags mean. They used to tell you to remove mirrors and cover up headlights (and number plate if I were you) but that might be old school, it's been a while! Then your group get called out for a sighting lap with the marshal. After that the gloves are off, so just concentrate on getting the lines right and watching out for idiots. Have fun, and remember that you'll be tired towards the end - drink plenty of water, take snacks, and calm down before you ride home (unless you're taking a van).

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Offline DICKIN50N

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Re: Track day novice!
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2017, 05:46:02 AM »
Would like to do my first track day in the not to distant future so following this with a bit of interest!


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Offline SiRS

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Re: Track day novice!
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2017, 07:26:11 AM »
If you have booked a Novice only day with a company like MSVT for instance they will run a couple of classroom based lessons on braking, acceleration, the corner components and body position etc etc.

If you want someone to go around and follow and give feedback its around 25 per session.

If its not a Novice day then you can pay for a days tuition or sessions.

As said above, the usual format is noise testing and track briefings followed by sighting laps behind a pace bike and then youre let loose in you respected groups. For an open pit lane its a similar set up but after sighting laps you can come and go as you please.

In my opinion the 3 groups that you can place yourself in on a session day are as follows.

Novice- This is for inexperienced riders on track. Generally speaking, they either dont know racing lines or cant put it into practice and therefore are very slow into, through and out of the corner. Also, beginners that dont have confidence in either their or the bikes abilities tend to be in this group. This isnt a dig, just my observations and if you are unsure about your ability and wish to be safe this is a good option but be aware this group will be slower than you think.

Inters- This group is usually for the majority of riders. People who are confident in their and the bikes abilities and wish to practice/push themselves/bike to a higher level. There is a huge difference in speed even taking out the individual bikes performance difference. If youre confident in your/bike and have had experience with track work and lines then I would consider going in the Fast/Advanced group. You will get more out of the day by learning more and will minimise the dangers of getting tripped up by slower riders and consequently wont get in slower riders way as they learn. I would say inters are really for most people that are beginners on track that can road ride to a decent level and people that wish to gain more track experience before tackling the fast group or dont wish to invest in sticky rubber etc to lower their lap times.

Fast/Advanced- This is for guys who are experienced with their machinery and track work. In this group you will get full race bikes on the stickiest rubber but you will also get guys on road bikes but can really ride them. To that end, you will get a big difference in lap times due to bike performance but you can be relatively sure that all people on track will be taking similar lines and getting on the gas/brakes when you expect them to. Dont be scared of going in this group if you can pedal your bike, it really doesnt need to be a track R1M. Yes, there will be club racers in these groups but most road bikes with decent rubber and a quick pilot will be safe.

As with car track days, money ie Bike doesnt mean they necessarily know how to ride. You will have full track bikes in all groups.

I find the faster groups generally safer due to having some confidence in others abilities but as you can imagine the crashes are usually more serious.

Ultimately its all about learning and having fun. So keep that in mind when you go around. Yes, when you come across somebody that has similar speed to you and spend the session passing each other back and forth that competitive spirit comes in. As long as its friendly and you both appreciate its not an actual race then youll be fine.

Remember to keep taking on fluid and food, its mentally and physically tiring and youll feel it towards the end of the day.

Unfortunately, its a bug that wont go away once you start though.

Just my thoughts.

Enjoy.

Offline Cookymonster3

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Re: Track day novice!
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2017, 09:40:25 AM »
Some good advice there in the responses.

Don't know how long you have been riding or your pace but book into the right group - presumably novice or intermediate. Focused Events run timing devices on a lot of their days so after 2-3 sessions they re-jig groups based on pace. If the day is full and you are in the wrong group you sometimes can't move if you have got it wrong. Avoid any open pit lane events - these are not for novices! Racers often use these events for testing.

If running a road bike take off your number plate, mirrors or tape them up. Also might be worth taping up your speedo initially. You don't need these distractions. Focus 100% on your own riding and lines - the general mantra is for everyone to look after others - considerate riding and overtakes and no cutting people's lines or diving inside! It's a track day not a race!

If you are not using tyre warmers you need to warm your tyres for 2-3 laps building heat into them, especially this time of year. Others will have warmers and trying to ride at their pace early is likely to end your day. I have seen lots of novices crash their bikes in the first or second lap of a session. Sounds basic this - but once you do your day you will understand how difficult it is to restrain yourself early on.

On the above point what tyres are you running? If road tyres are they fast road / more track orientated or a winter tyre! And how old? Age is a big consideration. Don't get too hung up on this but be realistic about their performance etc... You need to run lower pressures than on the road - speak to the onsite tyre guy on the day and pump your tyres back up before you leave.

Ride at YOUR pace. You will get quicker during the day as you learn about the track and your capability. Go on YouTube for a heads-up of the track before getting there - gives you a feel for the corners, lines, sighting laps etc. Get advice from the event organisers - No Limits normally offer free tuition from memory.

Make sure your gear is all up to scratch. One piece or fully zipped together leathers (can't use textile suits on track), decent gloves, boots etc and make sure you have warm gear.

Stay hydrated. Don't go rushing out on the first session after lunch or at least be wary - usually a high crash frequency session, as is the last session of the day.

In terms of cash, you need petrol money c50+ for a full day plus any to / from track mileage, suspension set-up unless you can self-serve, food and drinks (No Limits normally do free tea and coffee through the day).

Have fun. If you go on your own you normally get to hook up with others in your sessions or in the paddock. You are all like-minded people at the end of the day.

As already said, prepare for imminent expense... More track days generally which means more wear and tear on the bike, tyres, oil.and filter changes, brake fluid and pad upgrades, suspension set-up etc... Possibly a track bike, tyre warmers etc...

 :031:
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I aint fallin for no banana in my tail-pipe!

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Offline Triumph

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Re: Track day novice!
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2017, 09:51:59 AM »
Thankyou everyone for all the great responses! A lot to take in. Complete and utter novice when it comes to track days so it will be a case of using my own bike, no tyre warmers etc. I am running Michelin pilot road 4 GT on the bike as they have been brilliant in wet and dry obviously I understand they wont be a brilliant tyre for the track but I am really just wanting to get in touch with the machine and see what it can do. Unfortunately wont be able to take mirrors etc off as I am having to travel down on the bike, but will go purchase some duck tape. I wont be pushing it hard as I only have 50% cover on my bike through MCE and have tried other insurers but they wont insure me as I havent been riding three years yet!


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Offline hotmetal

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Re: Track day novice!
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2017, 12:03:55 PM »
Yes, definitely get in the novice group then. The comments from SRS are good advice but the bit about being safer in the more advanced groups is only likely to be true IF you also know what you're doing and can ride at the same pace (and if you could do that, you wouldn't be asking what your first track day would entail). There is possibly a bit more confusion in the novice group because it's full of people like you and I who have only done less than a handful of track days and just want to get to know their own road bike under track conditions. You won't want to push it too hard as you still need to be able to ride it home so you can't afford to crash. Be aware that insurance and breakdown cover may not apply - hence the covered up number plate on track. Pushing a crashed bike half a mile from Oulton Park in late afternoon and calling your breakdown cover *might* not be very convincing LOL!

Cookie monster's advice echoes my own (limited) experience. Plus he added a couple of things I forgot to mention. (Leathers that zip fully round, ACU Gold sticker on your helmet, lower your tyre pressure and pump up before riding home etc). Also, fill up with fuel just before you arrive - not all tracks have fuel for sale.

It's a good idea to do one and you'll learn a lot. If it rains it's also not a disaster. All the wannabe Rossi types will clear off in their vans (unless they've got a set of wets) and you'll have the track pretty much to yourself. A great opportunity to find out how fast you can still go in the wet if you're smooth (but remember that real wet roads are more slippery and have diesel and manhole covers etc, so a wet track day teaches you a lot but doesn't translate 100% to real life).

----
Sixties scooters weren't magic - it was all smoke and mirrors.

_________
Play nicely!
Bikes I've had:
Vespa 150 Super, GPz500s, FZR600R, ZX6R, FZS1000 (x2), 2009 Matt Graphite STR
and some pedally ones as well!

Offline Cookymonster3

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Re: Track day novice!
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2017, 12:18:49 PM »
Riding to and from the track day doesn't half focus your mind OP. I always do that too. You may also feel intimidated when you first arrive with a tank bag containing a sandwich, drink, roll of tape and a basic bike tool kit whilst others have vans full of kit, track bikes, tyre warmers, professional tool kits, spare wheels etc.

In my experience this doesn't necessarily translate into competence!

Take it easy and have fun...

It's a dangerous place to be ultimately so the organisers wont tolerate idiots. Anyone going out of their way to abuse slower riders are normally dealt with quickly!
Yeehaaa - Jester's Dead!
I aint fallin for no banana in my tail-pipe!

Evolution of biking - Suzuki GSXR 600 K6, Honda Fireblade RR8, Suzuki GSXR 600 K2, Honda C90 commuter, Kawasaki ZX6R 636 C1H, Ducati 848 Evo, Kawasaki ZX6R R9F, Triumph Street Triple R 2012, Triumph Street Triple 765 RS

Offline Enduro Rider

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Re: Track day novice!
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2017, 06:46:36 PM »
*Originally Posted by SiRS [+]
If you have booked a Novice only day with a company like MSVT for instance they will run a couple of classroom based lessons on braking, acceleration, the corner components and body position etc etc.

If you want someone to go around and follow and give feedback its around 25 per session.

If its not a Novice day then you can pay for a days tuition or sessions.

As said above, the usual format is noise testing and track briefings followed by sighting laps behind a pace bike and then youre let loose in you respected groups. For an open pit lane its a similar set up but after sighting laps you can come and go as you please.

In my opinion the 3 groups that you can place yourself in on a session day are as follows.

Novice- This is for inexperienced riders on track. Generally speaking, they either dont know racing lines or cant put it into practice and therefore are very slow into, through and out of the corner. Also, beginners that dont have confidence in either their or the bikes abilities tend to be in this group. This isnt a dig, just my observations and if you are unsure about your ability and wish to be safe this is a good option but be aware this group will be slower than you think.

Inters- This group is usually for the majority of riders. People who are confident in their and the bikes abilities and wish to practice/push themselves/bike to a higher level. There is a huge difference in speed even taking out the individual bikes performance difference. If youre confident in your/bike and have had experience with track work and lines then I would consider going in the Fast/Advanced group. You will get more out of the day by learning more and will minimise the dangers of getting tripped up by slower riders and consequently wont get in slower riders way as they learn. I would say inters are really for most people that are beginners on track that can road ride to a decent level and people that wish to gain more track experience before tackling the fast group or dont wish to invest in sticky rubber etc to lower their lap times.

Fast/Advanced- This is for guys who are experienced with their machinery and track work. In this group you will get full race bikes on the stickiest rubber but you will also get guys on road bikes but can really ride them. To that end, you will get a big difference in lap times due to bike performance but you can be relatively sure that all people on track will be taking similar lines and getting on the gas/brakes when you expect them to. Dont be scared of going in this group if you can pedal your bike, it really doesnt need to be a track R1M. Yes, there will be club racers in these groups but most road bikes with decent rubber and a quick pilot will be safe.

As with car track days, money ie Bike doesnt mean they necessarily know how to ride. You will have full track bikes in all groups.

I find the faster groups generally safer due to having some confidence in others abilities but as you can imagine the crashes are usually more serious.

Ultimately its all about learning and having fun. So keep that in mind when you go around. Yes, when you come across somebody that has similar speed to you and spend the session passing each other back and forth that competitive spirit comes in. As long as its friendly and you both appreciate its not an actual race then youll be fine.

Remember to keep taking on fluid and food, its mentally and physically tiring and youll feel it towards the end of the day.

Unfortunately, its a bug that wont go away once you start though.

Just my thoughts.

Enjoy.





Not sure what you mean about the novice group, I saw a big variation, from people hanging right off, getting their knee down, to people wobbling around and doing shoulder checks before turning in.

I was getting my knee down regularly,the photographer didn't capture it but have the tell tale signs on the slider, but also had a lowside on the main straight.

When I go to Brands on my street I'll definitely be going into the novices again, inters is just a whole different level and needs some know how to step up to.


If you look at my pic, in the foreground there is someone leaning way off the bike on what looks like a budget track bike sort of thing.

Also yes I know my body position isn't conducive to cornering but you can get away with that on a supermoto!
« Last Edit: December 01, 2017, 06:56:46 PM by Enduro Rider »

 


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