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Willow Springs "Big Track" trackday Monday the 4th.


JerryMather

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JerryMather
1) MORE. NOTICE. NEEDED. thumbsup.gif

2) What happened to "I have to work for a living, so Mondays are out"

3) You boys have fun out there today, and please note that any "tone" in my voice is only because I am jealous. smile.gif

 

Since it was my Birthday........I took the day off to do this with my Santa Barbara Ducati buddies and a few of the Crest riders.

 

It was a blast until I threw another cam belt during the 3rd session while chasing a buddy down that had just waved at me as he blew by in turn 8 going a buck thirty or more. It was the third time he did that and I was doing a buck twenty when it happened. dopeslap.gif

Unfortunately for him.......my motor will be at his place tomorrow and he's rebuilding it, one more time.

The big track is sweet but I got to tell ya......I've never seen so many guys go off the track in turn four as I did today.

 

PS- Sammy was on fire with his triple by the end of the day. blush.gif

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PS- Sammy was on fire with his triple by the end of the day. blush.gif

 

And how is that different from any other day? grin.gif

 

Sounds like you guys had a blast. thumbsup.gif

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PS- Sammy was on fire with his triple by the end of the day. blush.gif

 

And how is that different from any other day? grin.gif

 

You should have seen me at the start of the day - a total mess. I'd never ridden that track before and I had never ridden that bike at the track before, either. It definitely took a long while to settle in and learn the lines. But after lunch I was definitely going pretty good. The guys who had been hauling ass past me all morning were no longer getting away except when they could just put their fully-faired 160 rwhp down and run away from me down the hill and up the straight. In the morning, they were flying by me in the turns, which isn't good. The S3 is definitely gonna be getting some clipons for track day use. My biggest problem is the way the bike is geared. It really needs to be lowered to give me better shift points and drive on corner exits, at least for a track like Willow Springs, but I get such crappy mileage on the street already, I'm not inclined to make it worse.

 

As for the big track - I have to say that the whole 7/8/9 section of the track wasn't nearly as terrifying as I was expecting it to be. It probably would have been on a faster bike, since I'd get up to a higher warp speed much faster, but the aerodynamics of that bike are such that it can't easily get over 135mph (that's redline in 5th gear) without a very long straight, which willow doesn't really have, so I was spared having to deal with the potential for faster speeds through there. And by day's end, I was getting good enough drive out of turn 9 to bounce off the rev limiter in 5th right at the end of the straight - close enough to make it not worth the extra upshift and then a triple downshift a fraction of a second later. Besides, it took pretty much everything I had to stay on the bike at those speeds. At one point, I was blowing off the back of the bike a little so I pulled hard on the bars to slide forward while also sitting up straighter for a moment, and I swear the front end got light at about 125mph.

 

I will say this - it is infinitely more entertaining to ride a slow bike fast than to ride a super fast bike much farther from its limits. But I really like tight tracks with some big braking zones, as I've always been really good on the brakes. The big track only has one turn that requires much more than a downshift and big brass balls, so I wasn't able to work the brakes the way I like to. And some of the folks in the B group really could have used the work on braking skills. My only real moment of the day was when a guy I was trying to get around hit his brakes WAY harder than necessary on the entrance to turn 3, and then changed his line while hard on the brakes, right into my path of travel to his outside. That required a whole lot of front brake which had the ass end of the bike well up in the air. I definitely could have lived without that.

 

So, final verdict - I had a blast, and was reminded why I like track riding so much. That said, I'd definitely prefer streets of willow and buttonwillow over the big track every time. On the other hand, the big track is awfully cheap and has lots of electricity available, which means you can do the tire warmer thing without spending a small fortune on a generator. Also, it only takes about an hour to get there from my place (at least, on the way home, when 100mph feels slow). I left my house at 7am and was ready for my first session at 9:20. I left by 5pm, and I was home by 6pm. You can't really beat that for convenience.

 

--sam

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