So, I was going through some of the old posts and came across TeeTee's report on his track day last year at Mission. I reread and started to get psyched about my upcoming race course and terack day at Mission. Seeing as there are others out there in BCSB.com-land who are also taking this course I thought I'd repost it for your reading pleasure. (I hope this was okay Bruce.)
OK, I'm going to try and keep this short and for those of you that know what I'm capable of this is no mean feat, believe me.
I pulled in early and got the bike through tech. No big deal, she's an old track bitch so the wiring has all been done to spec before. As I push it back to the pit a few engines start to warm which just adds the sounds of life that were missing from a track pit up to that moment. It's like a monster waking from a long sleep. Soon the sounds of revving engines can be heard all around like the first one broke the pact not to disturb the peace.
Riders meeting. We all gathered and listened to the usual spiel. This was followed by a track tour for those new to the scene and, of course, us students. Man there's a lot of concrete around that track. I try not to give in and run screaming in fear. This is one of the crappiest tracks I've ever seen. Even the go kart track at Victoria that I ran on years ago had more runoff area than Mission has. But I figure I'll just go for the first get acquainted sessions and then if the pace gets too hot and crazy I'll just pull out of the afternoon sessions.
A group of licensed racers go out for the fist session and the sounds of the engines and their show of speed calms and energizes me as I don my armor for our session. This is a slower parade session but I get separated from my group by an even slower rider. I finally pass him and start to catch up to my group. But the INSTRUCTOR runs out of gas halfway through and the rest of my group picks up the pace and I end up almost racing to never catch them. Oh well at least I got to see the track at my own pace and have a good idea of the lines.
The next session is a little faster and we play leapfrog with the instructor so he can see our performance. He's not too thrilled with my pace and gives me a few pointers but he must have seen something of worth because he's giving me pointers on attitude and confidence rather than lines and braking. And it helps. The last morning session is much faster for me and he gives me a smile and more talking too...........
LUNCH. Burgers and laughs. Farhad asks me if I know where second gear is becuase I'm so slow............ I'm kidding but he did say I looked a little stiff out there...... I knew that.....
Lunch gave me time to think about my riding and the next session out I was entering some of my slower corners much faster and the instructor spent some time playing leapfrog with me so I was able to follow him at his pace (less than racing speed because he was on his only street bike and didn't want to pitch it) That was a real confidence builder because I was better able to judge just how fast I could push my tires. He thought so too as he said I was much improved and then told me I was still too slow and where I had troubles..............sigh
The next session it really started to come together. I touched the footpegs twice on this one despite being hung off. Started hanging off a little farther after that. And the bike felt better doing it too, bonus. The bike was really starting to perform now and I was passing people in my group more than I was being passed...... that's always a good sign. The problem corners were getting smoother and faster and a couple of spots where I had been braking hard earlier now I was just feathering the brakes to settle the chassis before dropping in and then doing the serious braking
before the second part of the horseshoe. That cut off a LOT of time when I started doing that. After this session I came in and my arms felt like wet noodles. And the tires were finally melted a little on the sidewalls.............. cool....
And then there was the mock race. The first warm up lap was spooky. A real start....... there's those nerves again but what the hell. I was gridded at the middle row inside edge. As the starter slowly raised the flag I revved to about 6 or 7 K and tried to suction myself to the gas tank. The flag dropped and I pulled away in fine style without a wheelie or engine bog. I saw an opening and blasted past about 6 people that hadn't had the same good start. Me and about 5 others dropped into the first turn and got around in style. At that point I passed another rider on the short 1 to 2 connector and in turn got passed by an, apparently, instructor on the outside as I dropped into the apex. I picked off another on the second short straight leading up the end turn. After that no one passed me and I slowly caught up to the guy that would hold me up for the second half of the race. He had good exits but lesser braking and corner speeds. We were closely enough matched that even my couple of attempts to stuff a wheel up the inside just came too late and good sense made me back off. And so I was doomed to play follow the leader for the last half of the race of 5 or 6 laps.
So I ended the day with new talents that at the beginning of the day I would have never thought I could have. But more importantly I now realize that I still have further to go. Up until this course I would never have believed that I could brake that hard and turn in while still braking to drop down so far that I could drag a knee if my leathers weren't so tight.
In the past I've always prided myself on keeping 15 to 20% in reserve when on the street. The street being what it is I have no intention of normally riding harder than I do now but my safety margin has now been upped to more like 40 or 50%. A margin I may dip into a little further when the conditions are all right in those special cases.