Wanneroo Track Day

This is the report from the Goldfields Motorcycle School Level 3 rider training day held on the 30th Oct 2000. This was my second track day. The previous one was quite a disaster when I binned the bike on only the second lap of the day, resulting in a badly broken finger and a trashed bike. I've been told some pictures are on the way. Also, it appears that the guys that run the track day want to purchase my KR1S! So, expect to keep seeing the bike there. Couldn't think of a better home for it!

John Green ran his usual level 3 course, which is designed to teach basic roadcraft and some track craft. Kelly's done a full report on all the things covered previously, so I'll just point out the different things from my perspective.

On this course there were

Early in the day was just get to know the course stuff and some basic slow riding. Easy to do, but I can't get the KR going as slow as most of the bikes there. Being light means much less stable than the big bikes. However it made the slalom part much easier.

After the slalom run they gave us 15 minutes open on the track. Spent most of the time glued to the tail of the CBR and VFR. They would only pull away in the straights and if I picked the wrong gear in a corner. Wasn't really gaining or loosing compared to the other bikes on the track. I think that scared a few of the riders :) Was definitely keeping much higher corner speeds that the bigger bikes but loosing out on the accelaration big time. Felt pretty good when I had to correct them to tell them it was only a 250 :)

Next was emergency braking. Rather interesting. After doing the first run, one of the instructors decided to adjust the brake lever on me despite my protests. On the next run, everyone got a very good demonstration of a front wheel lockup. Luckily I recovered and didn't dump the bike, but I did move the width of the track in doing so. Needless to say I had quite a few choice words to that instructor afterwards and then set my brake lever back to where it should be.

After lunch we went into work on cornering. The first part was fine, but the second session was a complete disaster. Basically the aim is to go around the track in one gear (4th) and not use brakes at all, to get used to leaning and hanging off the bike. For me, this was a real disaster. The KR just does not go anywhere unless you have a lot of power going through the rear wheel. Being stuck in 3rd at really low revs and having a pretty gusty wind to deal with just completely shattered my confidence. I almost didn't get back on the bike after that. The bike was everywhere getting blown all over the road by the wind and not being able to maintain corner speed to be able to lean over etc. On a 4 stroke I think it would be fine, but on the 2 stroke, it was a complete failure and set me back very substantially.

During all this, Kelly went flying past at the entrance to The Basin. Easily going 30km/h faster than me and just rolled straight in and kept going. Hmmmm. Nice to have the confidence to do that. A few laps later and I come onto the main straight to see a pile of bikes stopped just at the next corner. Kelly has got quite a tad over-confident and visited the kitty-litter. I'm sure she'll correct me here as I was on the other side of the track when it happened, but she's rolled into the corner very hot, started going wide, tried to lean over more and the arc of the bike has meet the sand trap and she's gone for a low-side slide through the sand. Damage was fairly minimal as she'd removed most of the fairings in preparation for the day. More just dust and dirt through everything including an airbox full of sand. As a precautionary measure, she didn't do any more riding. As it was the second last session of the day, it didn't matter too much.

Finally got the courage up and hit the track for the open session. Spent the first 5-6 laps just trying to get confidence again. Once that happened I starting getting held up by the guy on the ZZR11. Was miles quicker than him in the corners, but couldn't get past him as every time we hit a straight he would just disappear. However, under brakes at the end, I'd be right back on his tail again. Very frustrating as I kept having to roll off the throttle. Finally he took off slowly down the back straight so I overtook and then disappeared from him. From there on it was just running around by myself. I was basically keeping even pace with all of the other bikes on the track (except the XX who was just really, really slow) neither catching or being caught. Again, really surprising the riders there.

So, in summary, a pretty good day for me except for two particularly nasty incidents. Lots and lots of balled up rubber on the rear tyre and some good confidence now in doing right hand corners. Touched the footpeg down only 3 times all day and spent a lot of hit hanging off the seat quite a long way (A good friend of mine said that if I ever touch the pegs down on the KR it is because I had fallen off!). Didn't touch the knee sliders down, but could feel them getting very close to the ground. On a bigger bike I don't think I would have any troubles. The extra weight and stability certainly helps over something so small and light as mine. Looking forward to the track days I've got planned for the UK next year - Brands Hatch, Oulton, Silverstone and Donnington :)