AJinNoHills (SoCal dude...) View all posts in this topic  
Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:39 pm
Success!        

As expected, yesterday's track day was awesome! It's nice to think "I can probably take this section way faster" and actually be able to do that without fear of local LEOs taking exception to that. I only did 4 sessions on the day, but those were about the most fun I've had without breaking the law!

As with everything there were some downsides. I did not go as fast nearly as often as I maybe could have through the first half of the circuit. Turn 3 is a deep banked uphill left hander that I just could not take properly. I always seemed to run slightly wide, leaving me not set up properly for the next series of turns, and a little slow.

The grips I chose to run are much larger than my street grips, and that definitely affected my control. I found myself gripping the bars harder than normal. Combined with my lightweight bar ends translate to a lot more vibration being transferred to my hands. It's really hard to ride properly with numb tingly hands.

At the start of my 3rd session, I whacked the throttle off the line. Quick shift to second at 14k RPM, drop the clutch and the RPM went back up to 14k. The engine then slooooowly backed back down to about 11 and on came the power. This had happened a couple of times in the earlier sessions, but this time happened in every gear. I pitted at the end of that first lap and adjusted the clutch cable, thinking it was too tight (it was, but only a little). Back out on the track and it was happening, albeit to a lesser degree.

In my final session, I decided I was going to really hang it out. What's the worst that could happen, right? And I was on a bike that was purchased specifically so it would be OK if I crashed it. Following my mantra "Trust the tires!" I really got on it. I gridded next to a new gen 250 and took her off the line. I had her going into turn 1, but thanks to my clutch, she passed me before turn 2 while my bike was getting around to making power after my 2 - 3 shift. One lap later I had her coming out of turn 6. I was surprised at how much faster I took the 4-5-6 section when I was setting up for a pass vs. just riding with no one in front. By the time that session was over I was half a lap ahead and I was digging it.

On my final lap, I was determined to just throw the bike through the dreaded turn 3. I had the power up and was just about to hang off and get set up when the corner worker threw the red flag and gave the hands down motion to slow quick. Coming around the corner I see someone crashed right in the middle of the track between 3 & 4. And yes, the bike was dead center. I get by, and coming out of 4, I got back on the gas, and finished in fine style.

I definitely brought waaay too much stuff. I was prepared for any eventuality, and I think I have about enough tools and equipment to do everything up to an engine swap. At the end of the day, beside the compressor for air, I only used a pair of pliers. Next time, I think that I'll still bring some extra fluids and a selection of tools and spare parts, but nowhere near what I did this time. There are some changes that I also need to make to the bike before I take it to the track again.

Smaller grips
15t sprocket
Bodywork +windscreen
Different gloves
Replace the clutch

Although I was never "uncomfortable" while on the track, it was hard to get fully into the groove, due to a lot of little things. Between the grips being so large, my gloves not fitting as well as my normal street gloves, and the numb/tingling hands, I constantly felt that I was missing some control. For the gearing, just like on my street bike, I'd run out of RPM before I hit mid-corner, but up shifting would leave me either too low in the power band or too fast for my comfort level at that point. I'll try the 15t sprocket and see how that does (works great on my street bike!). Based on what the bike was doing during high RPM shifts, I'm going to replace the clutch. IDK how many miles are on the bike, but it IS an 89, and while the head was replaced by the PO, the bottom end is all original. Fortunately, I happen to have a clutch with less than 6k miles on it sitting in my spares box.

I wouldn't say I'm "hooked" but I will definitely do this again. I don't know that this is the "best" track for a 250, but I dug it, and didn't feel that it was lacking in any way, even on the uphill sections pulling my heavy ass. Any time I found myself right behind some SS bikes that had just finished passing me going into a corner, if they pulled away, it wasn't at a high rate of speed like on the straights. Of course, there were some truly fast riders who not only passed me in the turns, but were into and out of the next one almost before I was out of the one in which I got passed. Of course, I wasn't paying attention to how fast I was going - I don't even have the speedo hooked up. And except for when I started a session, I had no idea what gear I was in at any particular time. The only thing that was important to me was staying in the power band and holding a good line (and revving the piss out of it on the front straight!).

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