Track Day Five: 8/15/2005 Autobahn Full Course

Well, three days later and I'm still sore... calves, thighs, and especially my left knee, but I'm getting ahead of my self.  Well, this was definitely the most challenging track day yet.  With the North and South tracks run together that comes out to about 23 turns and 3.5 miles of track.  Talk about a workout.

The things that stand out to me the most were the transition from the South track to the North and the transition back from North to South.  Going South to North you're on an up hill straight and as you crest you come up off your seat, and then the bike settles down just in time to apply some brake and sweep into North Turn 2.  Most of the time I was only doing about 100 as I came over that, but another 10 or 15 mph and I'm sure the bike would come off the ground.

Going North to South you basically have a double apex fairly quick corner that feeds into the South front straight, that transition seems to be off camber and very bumpy.  That along with South turn 5, also rather bumpy, and the suspension definitely gets a workout.   But I was very impressed by how stable the bike was, even while leaned way over with the suspension working heavily. 

I was trucking along pretty good all day.  Basically every Control Rider I rode with allowed me to just go ahead.  I got a lot of thumbs up and positive feedback.  I made a few small mistakes over the day, but mostly nothing major.  I was definitely pushing harder than ever before.  The first moment of "Oh crud!" was when passing down the North straight.  I picked up quite a bit of speed and ran short on braking room.  I was braking hard and past my normal turning point.  Then when I turned in, the front slid just a bit and then immediately after that the rear, but that was the end of the excitement.

My other excitement was a bit more attention getting.  During the last session of the day I caught up to and had been following three guys that were hanging pretty close together.  On several corners I felt like I could go faster so I decided to get past them.  I got past two of them on the straight between South 3 and 4.  On the next straight I got past the the remaining guy just before entering into turn 5, the bumpy one.  I didn't feel like I was going that fast, but shortly after I turned in... I hear a chip (rear tire) and the bike straightened up violently, the bars shook once, I flew up out of the seat with just my hands still on the bars, my helmet shield hits the wind screen, and all I see is instrument cluster... I remember thinking something like, "Oh, crap, I'm going to spill..."   As I drop back down in the seat and I look forward I'm heading for the rumble strip on the outside of the track.  I just stay straight and go over the entire rumble strip.  The suspension soaks up the ripples and I'm in the grass, still on two wheels.  I look behind me, see that the track is clear and I get back on.... Whew!  I put my hand up to let the guy behind me know I'm slowing down.  I needed to compose myself after that.  At that point I actually though, "OK, this is the last session of the day, maybe it's time to just pull into the pits and call it a day. "  I let the other two guys pass me up, and decided, what the heck.  So, I stayed behind them for the rest of the session, but the first guys was looking back occasionally.  I think he was surprised to find me back on their tails, so he picked up the pace a bit.  Probably because he didn't want me pulling another move like that in front of him.  Can't blame him, I wouldn't either.   I'm not quite sure what happened, by I think I must have hit one of those bumps and my rear wheel lost traction for a split second, then when it hit pavement again, it skidded, and then caught.  Basically a highside.  I don't need any of those any more.  The reason my left knee, the inside of my knee, hurts is because either on the way up from my seat or on the way down, I hit it on the gas tank. 

Anyway, I had my share of over-exicitement.  Yes, I was pushing hard at times, but I came out if it with a new sense of where the limits on the bike may be.  It felt good, despite the near spill.

This track day I had some visitors.  My wife came with three of the kids, but of course, they were a pain in the butt like kids can be and my wife took them home after a short time.  The other visitor was BMW Dave as I call him.  He's the guy that I sold my BMW to, and he's interested in maybe coming out for a NESBA session.  He came by on his Goldwing, which hadn't been getting much mileage since he got the BMW so he stretched it legs a bit.  It's been a long time since I've been next to a Goldwing.  I forgot just how huge they were. 

Another thing that stood out about the day was that there was a new girl at the track.  Well, sure you notice cause there's only a handful of them.  This had to be her first track day or pretty close to it.  Cause she was definitely going slow.  I think I passed her on ever session, but she was definitely getting faster and leaning more as the day went on. The control riders lead her around the whole time.  That's great.  That's what NESBA is all about.  Letting people come out at one level of skill and leave at a higher level.

Unfortunately there were no pictures of the event, except for the North track on Saturday.  The full track, when I was there, was on Monday, and since NESBA is an all volunteer organization, some people just couldn't be there... Sliderphoto reps being one of them.

Time to sign up for the next session... probably a couple more and the season is over...