How To Ride A New Race Track For The First Time

How To -


How To Ride A New Race Track

5. Ask For Help
Following someone who knows the lines can be a huge help, but make sure you ask someone to show you around. That way, they’ll be sure to ride smoothly, predictably and at a pace that will be safe for you. Pay attention to where they’re braking, where they turn in and where they get on the throttle. If your helper is particularly nice, they’ll start easy, then pick up the pace lap after lap, towing you up to speed.

6. Leave A Margin For Error
Don’t commit to a corner at 100 percent until you’re 100 percent sure you’re doing it right. That will take some time, maybe even multiple visits to the track across several seasons. With a little kept in reserve, you’ll be able to alter your lines, run wide in safety if you need to or just respond to the unexpected. And the unexpected can and does happen. On my first visit to Beaver Run, some hero tried to out brake me into Turn 10. Should have been fine, since I was poking around during my first session of the day, but the trouble was I was on a well-built SV650 race bike — on slicks — while he was riding a stock version of the same motorcycle on road tires. The inevitable happened and he low sided while inside me on the corner, sliding across the track. Because I was trail braking and had plenty of grip in reserve, I was able to shed speed and avoid his tumbling body by mere inches. Don’t be that guy.

7. Don’t be Intimidated
No matter where you are, a track is still a track and a corner is still a corner. The vast majority of the same practices apply to all of them. Start wide, hit the apex, then accelerate out, using the full width of the track. Sure, there’s some variations on that theme, but it is the same theme, anywhere you go.

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  • Piglet2010

    1. I find aerial photographs – pretty much any online map site has them – to be a great complement to track maps, with the latter being needed for corner numbers, pit exits, etc.

    We were taught at Star (J. Pridmore) to not use the full width of the track on entrance initially, then gradually go wider as we learn the track.

  • Rocket Punch

    Most importantly have fun and just enjoy the ride.

    Don’t talk about getting Rossi like precision, don’t talk about lap times and most importantly don’t see “knee dragging” as a “goal”.

    • Wes Siler

      Great advice.

  • Robert Horn

    Be smoooooth – it is the abrupt changes at the controls that will most likely lead to a crash – few crashes are caused be “Going too fast”.

    Think about what you are going to do, not about what you just did. You’ll have time to think about what you did in the previous turn on the next lap. If you start getting “Brain fade” or “Analysis paralysis”, head back to the pits under your own power before the crash cart hauls you in. You’ll find an awful lot of improvements in speed, safety, fun, etc… happen after sitting in the pits between sesions.

    The above was both taught and learned the hard way…

    Oh yes – do some cornerworking – you’ll learn a LOT!

    • Piglet2010

      Yes, if you feel your concentration fading, you will not accomplish anything by staying out other that possibly learn what it is like to crash at a particular corner.

  • Mugget

    I would be very wary of taking reference point advice from anyone else. That’s something that each rider needs to learn for themselves, so better just to start out with that goal rather than starting with someone else’s RP’s – otherwise you’ve gotta work backwards before you can start making progress. Right?

    The other thing I’m aware of now is not paying too much attention to other people and the whole idea of “looking for the line”. That’s only good for knowing which direction the track goes, but you could just ask someone and they’ll tell you clockwise or anti-clockwise, just as good as asking someone about “the line”. The thing is that there is no such thing as “the line”, a path you have to ride on or risk grave consequences. There is really only your line.

    Your line and your RP’s will change throughout the day anyway.

    The real tip here is to get some proper training that will allow you to identify your own RP’s and lines.

    After having done so myself, one thing that immediately stood out to me was that the vast majority turn in way too early. That tells you how beneficial it is to follow someone else to find “the line”.

    • Piglet2010

      Pridmore says as much during Star classes – there is no one correct line for every bike and rider.