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post #1 of 33 Old 03-18-2007, 09:53 PM Thread Starter
 
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Crashing

Hopefully, I will be doing my first trackday this year. My dad is freaking out about this because he thinks going to the track means racing and lots of crashes which I have told him time and time again is not true.

Some questions:
How many people crash at a typical trackday?
What are the biggest causes in track crashes?
Do I have to worry about being clobbered from behind/is this a common occurence?
Should I even be concerned about this?

I will be at Brainerd with TrackAddix.

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post #2 of 33 Old 03-19-2007, 05:01 AM
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I had some apprehension about my first trackday. A buddy and I had the following exchange beforehand:

Him: "You don't crash on the street do you?"

Me: "Nope."

Him: "Then why do you think you'll crash in a controlled enviroment without gravel, sand, potholes, cagers and animals running around? Ride your pace, get comfortable, and don't try to push it past your limits. Go have fun."

Relieved my fears and is the best advice I ever received as far as time on track. IMO, it's way safer than the street.

I've been to trackdays where nobody crashed. Most of the time there are a couple of getoffs.

The most common cause is the balls between your legs being bigger than your capability, or lowsiding on the brakes, from the ones I've seen .

Hold your line. The guy behind, if he's faster, will have an easier time going around you. Start changing lines on him, or pushing to try and stay in front, and that is when the two of you will swap paint.

There's people with a lot more track/race experience on here who can give you some pointers.

"Towards the end of the vid, it looks like she may have had a bafflectomy." - MarylandMike
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post #3 of 33 Old 03-19-2007, 06:17 AM
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Typically, there are a few that crash at trackdays. The most common of these is due to poor preparation by the rider and/or poor execution on the track. Those riders who get on the track with the intention of being the fastest from the first time they twist a throttle are going to wreck. The most successful riders are those that constantly remind themselves to be smooth and consistent. Those two qualities will make you a better track rider than anything. The downside is, wrecks happen, and many times, there was absolutely nothing you could do to prevent it. At least at the track, you have medical personnel on station to assist. Most wrecks I have witnessed at the track did not require serious medical attention, and often. the rider was back out there in the afternoon sessions.

-Don't push the limits of you or your bike on the first few trackdays.
-Learn the track, watch the lines of the control riders.
-Don't look at your speedo, tape over your speedo w/ masking tape, and write BE SMOOTH! in sharpie marker on it.
-Let your tires warm up before trying to use them to their potential. More wrecks I have seen were attributed to cold tires than anything.
-Grab a control rider, and ask questions. Start building a relationship with the track organization now, it will pay in the future.
-Listen to the guys that have been to lots of trackdays, they can tech you lots of tips to help you along the way.
-Remember to breathe, this is an important one, as it will affect your mental stability over a long session.
-Good luck, and above all, have fun with it.

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post #4 of 33 Old 03-19-2007, 02:17 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks guys those responses helped ALOT!

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post #5 of 33 Old 03-20-2007, 11:55 AM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetblast10 View Post
Couple accidents, one woman left with a broken clavical and rib and one fella made a 749R into a crash test sacrifice, repairable but not pretty. A couple other real newbies crashes too, some defy explanation but all in all nobody got hurt too bad.
Just curious, what happened in these accidents?

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post #6 of 33 Old 03-20-2007, 11:57 AM
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I only saw the aftermath. But the 749R guy was overcooking it and he highsided, he almost dropped a KTM Motard after that but saved it. He was definitely pushing his envelope.

Not sure what happened to the girl. She came back tot he track all bandaged up and stayed an additional day with her boyfriend who continued to ride. She was a trooper indeed.

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post #7 of 33 Old 03-20-2007, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
 
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I see, thanks, why did the newbie crashes defy explanation?

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post #8 of 33 Old 03-20-2007, 12:02 PM
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ahh those guys. One was literally running at about 20-25mph when he just simply ran off the track into the sand, grabbed a bunch of front brake and tucked his Mille.

I watched the entire thing happen and couldn't believe it. He was way off line but all he had to do was turn, he didn't and he got all sandy.

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post #9 of 33 Old 03-20-2007, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
 
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I am just sort of researching what mistakes people are making at the track so I don't make those same mistakes. Looks like he fixated on the outside of the turn or something. Too bad for the Mille. Thanks for providing some insight.

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post #10 of 33 Old 03-20-2007, 12:15 PM
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There's also something to be said for turning the bike when it needs to be turned. Alot of those that run wide, and/or run off are afraid to turn the bike into a corner. There is that fear in the back of their head that it is already too far, and it can't go any further. You would be amazed at the amount of lean angle you can carry through a turn. When you are dragging hard parts, you have leaned too far.

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post #11 of 33 Old 03-20-2007, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RidgeRunner View Post
There's also something to be said for turning the bike when it needs to be turned. Alot of those that run wide, and/or run off are afraid to turn the bike into a corner. There is that fear in the back of their head that it is already too far, and it can't go any further. You would be amazed at the amount of lean angle you can carry through a turn. When you are dragging hard parts, you have leaned too far.
I have had that feeling before actually, many times. I go into a corner a little hot and even though I am probably only using 50% of available lean angle I freak out and am scared to lean farther. I think part of it deals with not trusting my tires to stick. Luckily I usually leave plenty of room for errors and such so I do not run off the road nor cross the centerline, but it has been close. Sometimes I shift my body WAY off the bike when this happens.

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post #12 of 33 Old 03-20-2007, 12:30 PM
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Body position in direct relationship to bike position vs. bike speed = amount of cornerspeed and efficiency of the turn.

Get yer ass out of the seat, kiss the mirror (if it were there), and pay attention to your throttle.

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post #13 of 33 Old 03-21-2007, 08:42 AM
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How many people crash at a typical trackday?
Guaranteed at least one if not more!
Most of them are new track riders and there isn't much damage to the bike, mostly low sides.

What are the biggest causes in track crashes?
Well if you see a high-side, more then likely a litre bike with a rider without much experience.
Most crashes happen in the first lap on cold tires.
Grabbing a whole lot of front brakes going too hot into a corner is common.
New track riders using rear brake, very bad!
Also NEVER look down! How many times new track riders look down at their speedo and before they know it, they're in a corner which they aren't prepared for and go off tracking!
Riders not having enough faith in their bike, meaning your bike is quite capable of doing more then you think. I've seen many riders having a fear of leaning their bikes over.

Do I have to worry about being clobbered from behind/is this a common occurence?
It does happen but I haven't seen it happen that often. I've seen more riders being t-boned in a corner from a rider who's gone in too hot.

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post #14 of 33 Old 03-21-2007, 12:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SportyChick View Post
Also NEVER look down! How many times new track riders look down at their speedo and before they know it, they're in a corner which they aren't prepared for and go off tracking!
Yep, put a piece of tape over the speedo. You don't need to know how fast you're clocking at.

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post #15 of 33 Old 03-21-2007, 12:22 PM
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Few crashes and a few run offs at each track day. I've seen the run offs from guys riding above their skill level, trying to pass someone or trying to looK cool. Turn_1 passed me at a track day once, flew up to the next corner and then bailed.

I didn't ride as fast or hard as I could ALL the time, I just had fun... Track days are for fun, you're not going to win a prize if you're the fastest guy there.

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post #16 of 33 Old 03-21-2007, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danke View Post
Yep, put a piece of tape over the speedo. You don't need to know how fast you're clocking at.
I agree. Electrical taped mine up before I even went out.

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post #17 of 33 Old 03-21-2007, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ragdoll View Post
I agree. Electrical taped mine up before I even went out.
Don't do that. That stuff leaves a sticky mess. Crappy looking masking tape would be easier than that.

"Towards the end of the vid, it looks like she may have had a bafflectomy." - MarylandMike
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post #18 of 33 Old 03-21-2007, 12:56 PM
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Ahem...
Quote:
Originally Posted by RidgeRunner View Post
-Don't look at your speedo, tape over your speedo w/ masking tape, and write BE SMOOTH! in sharpie marker on it.

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post #19 of 33 Old 03-21-2007, 12:59 PM
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If it has BE SMOOTH on it it's not crappy looking.

"Towards the end of the vid, it looks like she may have had a bafflectomy." - MarylandMike
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post #20 of 33 Old 03-21-2007, 01:34 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks fellows and lady, these are very helpful responses, I am definitely taping over my speedo.

What do you all use for taping headlights/turn signals/brakelight/speedometer?
I have heard painters tape works good because it comes off clean, is this the best option?

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post #21 of 33 Old 03-21-2007, 01:37 PM
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I've used color matching painters tape. Unplug your headlight or remove the bulb. The heat will bake anything on the surface.

"Towards the end of the vid, it looks like she may have had a bafflectomy." - MarylandMike
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post #22 of 33 Old 03-21-2007, 01:48 PM
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Depends if you want a permanent option, or temporary. I opted for a permanent version.

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post #23 of 33 Old 03-21-2007, 05:33 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the suggestions. I only have enough money to blow on one track day this year so I will probably just pick up some painters tape.

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post #24 of 33 Old 03-21-2007, 08:04 PM
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There's a lot of internet info on bike prep. Just make sure tires are good, chain is tight and lubed, remove stuff like your plate, mirrors, etc. Change the oil and filter if it's been awhile. Some places require safety wire and/or no anti freeze. Haven't checked the place your going but do so ahead of time.

Make sure you take plenty of gas, liquids, something to eat, seating and some shade with you. Another trick is to put about 40 psi in your tires the night before. That way when you get to the track you can air down to what you want to run for the day based on temperature. It's easier to air down than to air up with no air compressor. Reset your odo and keep track of how many miles you have on for the day. That way you'll have a rough idea if you need to fuel up before you go out for a session. Take a camera and give it to somebody who's not out in your session to get some pics of you.

Make yourself a checklist with a few items mentioned above and take a glance at it when you come in. Makes your day a lot more enjoyable.

And most of all, take a fews beers to enjoy when you're done riding and have time to set around pit racing when the day is done. If you don't drink beer it's a good time to start.

"Towards the end of the vid, it looks like she may have had a bafflectomy." - MarylandMike
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post #25 of 33 Old 03-22-2007, 01:54 PM
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First trackday....hooray!!!!

I amped for you.

Tire pressure and temp are often factors in crashes...I've seen guys running (inexplicably) pressures way up in the 40's and guess what? They crashed.

I've seen guys go hum-dingin' into turn one of session one and you guessed it....they crashed.

Ask around about pressures (talk to the tech guys and Coaches)...they'll steer you in the right direction.

Build up throughout the day. Take 2-3 sessions to get acclimated and decide on lines. If you are comfy...turn it up (a little bit!!!) for a session.
After lunch, take another session or two to get re-acclimated. Then do your thing!!!

Finally....watch out for knuckleheads...you'll know them when you see them....he's the guy on the brand new GSXR1000 gettin all wobbly into every turn and poppin' up out of his seat b/c he's dialing it up too much on every exit.....he's the guy using every inch of the racetrack and thensome....the guy who's line changed drastically from the last lap for no apparrent reason.
If you get a guy like this and are afraid to go around him, BACK OFF AND PIT IN. This is an easy solution often overlooked by riders b/c they are so caught up in the moment. Get off the track. Wait w/ the marshal for 30 seconds. Get back on the track.

But the problems in front of you are easier to deal with. I have always preferred to be aware of what it going on behind me as well. Don't obsess on it....but if there's a nice long straight on your track and you have an opportunity for a quick glance use it. If you see someone bearing down on you, you're now aware of it, and can let them by......and if you don't know who that person is, believe me you are probably better off letting them by than getting torpedoed by them. Just remember. He might be a step quicker than you but he might be a total squid, too.....

Lastly (it's almost over,I promise) PAY ATTENTION to your body. LISTEN to what it's telling you.....stay hydrated eat yaddah yaddah but don't let your mental state wane and don't let how you really feel get clouded with testosterone....

"Dude....I know you're tired, but let's go out and try to get one last dice goin' with that dude on the yellow 929...he was fast in the morning but I think we got something for him now"

Famous last words......

(The preceding message was brought to you by eons of track time and more than my share of mis-haps)

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post #26 of 33 Old 03-22-2007, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
 
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These posts are very helpful thanks all, I will be having more questions for you guys as the trackday gets closer (it is in July).

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post #27 of 33 Old 03-29-2007, 08:31 AM
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Roadracing World has a trackday directory issue that should be in the racks at Barnes & Noble or Borders. Though it does have some trackday listings, about 80% of the issue is 'how to' and 'what to do/advice' articles. One of the few issues I've ever read cover to cover. Highly recommended.

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post #28 of 33 Old 09-14-2007, 11:03 AM
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Erm. What about insurance. Do our companies cover track days should a bike find the wrong way around a barrier ? I'm guessing not. Bueller ?

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post #29 of 33 Old 09-14-2007, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemonhead View Post
Erm. What about insurance. Do our companies cover track days should a bike find the wrong way around a barrier ? I'm guessing not. Bueller ?

It all depends on the company and their regulations. Many will look at trackdays as a timed event (which they are not) and refuse coverage. Others see it as a closed course event that is not within the normal range of use for the vehicle. With all that said, I know more than a few guys that have had their bikes completely replaced by their Ins. co. after wadding it up at the track. Check the fine print on your policy and do some research. Just don't let that stop you from going to the track. Riding a trackday is not about how fast you can go. It is about learning technique, being a smooth and consitent rider and finding out the potential of the machine you purchased. Speed comes with track time and experience.

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post #30 of 33 Old 09-14-2007, 01:02 PM
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Therein lies the beautiful irony. Trackdays improve our skills overall which translate into safer rider on the street thereby reducing the risk for ourselves
and ultimately our carriers, no ?

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post #31 of 33 Old 09-14-2007, 01:11 PM
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Methinks you would just have to ask your agent. I am with State Farm and have been told everything is covered as normal until the event becomes timed.

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post #32 of 33 Old 09-14-2007, 01:22 PM
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Well uh, it kind of is timed, right ? Lap time is how you know you're improving, yes.

Or do I just "lose" those slips.

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post #33 of 33 Old 09-14-2007, 01:51 PM
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By a timed event, I mean an officially timed one. IE; WERA, CCS, AMA, Time trials, etc...

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