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Old June 4th, 2018, 01:41 PM   #41
Misti
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Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
AHhahahhh, that happened at Buttonwillow race last month. Novice rider tried to pass Rachael coming out of Riverside but wasn't close enough and didn't have enough speed. She didn't see him and dove in, knocking him off bike. His bike ended up hooked on tail section of her bike. She shook it off in runoff and kept on going!







Wow!! Amazing she kept it up and kept going, well done!!
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Old June 4th, 2018, 01:44 PM   #42
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Timing is key for me. If I come up on them too close, I have to brake and lose lots of momentum. Better to plan several corners ahead and leave a slight gap. Then I can keep speeding up around previous corners and use that extra speed to pass them just as I'm about to rear-end them.
So here's the thing. What tends to happen with your vision when you approach a slower rider? Where does your attention go? It goes to the rider right? And then you end up braking and losing momentum.

What if you could train your eyes to NOT to look at the rider in front directly but to see the space available around them? Do you think the timing issue would get better and that you wouldn't end up having to brake?

I very much agree with the statement about planning ahead and leaving a space but I still want to discuss what usually happens with the eyes when riders come up for a pass.....
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Old June 4th, 2018, 11:33 PM   #43
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So here's the thing. What tends to happen with your vision when you approach a slower rider? Where does your attention go? It goes to the rider right? And then you end up braking and losing momentum.

What if you could train your eyes to NOT to look at the rider in front directly but to see the space available around them? Do you think the timing issue would get better and that you wouldn't end up having to brake?

I very much agree with the statement about planning ahead and leaving a space but I still want to discuss what usually happens with the eyes when riders come up for a pass.....
Ideally, I'm looking where I want to go as if I had clear track.

Half the time in the real world though, I'm telling myself to do that and then:
1) I mentally debate if I'll get "there" in time
2) I unintentionally allow myself to take a peek at the other rider
3) I mentally debate if I'll get "there" in time X2
4) ???
5) I do not profit.

Staying focused on my line works best for me when I'm with other 300s. Gauging the potential speed differential for different bikes, especially when I'm unsure of how much the other rider will or won't roll on the throttle, is still a huge work in progress for me.

Haha. Working on it. Working on it.

In turn-in area news, I'm playing a new game with speed bumps in the parking lot at work. The speed bumps have a 2-3 feet flat channel in the middle. I'm playing with looking ahead as early as possible once I'm reasonably certain of hitting the flat section, and playing with different speeds.
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Old June 21st, 2018, 12:47 PM   #44
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Ideally, I'm looking where I want to go as if I had clear track.

Half the time in the real world though, I'm telling myself to do that and then:
1) I mentally debate if I'll get "there" in time
2) I unintentionally allow myself to take a peek at the other rider
3) I mentally debate if I'll get "there" in time X2
4) ???
5) I do not profit.

Staying focused on my line works best for me when I'm with other 300s. Gauging the potential speed differential for different bikes, especially when I'm unsure of how much the other rider will or won't roll on the throttle, is still a huge work in progress for me.

Haha. Working on it. Working on it.
Hahaha, I love your description of what happens when you approach a rider. The IDEA of looking where you want to go as if you had clear track is ok but when you have a rider in the way of the line you would take if you had a clear track then you get thrown out of whack.

What we teach at the California Superbike School is to try and WIDEN your vision. What usually happens for riders when they approach a slower person on track is that they look at the rider and their vision narrows. A narrow field of vision will not only cause you to target fixate on the rider and follow them but it will also distort your sense of speed and perception. So widening your vision allows you to still keep track of the rider you want to pass with your peripheral vision but also see the available space around them. Without allowing your vision to narrow, your sense of speed is better and you can then judge how much time you have better then if you have a narrow field of view.

Does that make sense? How do you think you could practice widening your vision and passing safely?
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Old July 14th, 2018, 05:45 PM   #45
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Hahaha, I love your description of what happens when you approach a rider. The IDEA of looking where you want to go as if you had clear track is ok but when you have a rider in the way of the line you would take if you had a clear track then you get thrown out of whack.

What we teach at the California Superbike School is to try and WIDEN your vision. What usually happens for riders when they approach a slower person on track is that they look at the rider and their vision narrows. A narrow field of vision will not only cause you to target fixate on the rider and follow them but it will also distort your sense of speed and perception. So widening your vision allows you to still keep track of the rider you want to pass with your peripheral vision but also see the available space around them. Without allowing your vision to narrow, your sense of speed is better and you can then judge how much time you have better then if you have a narrow field of view.

Does that make sense? How do you think you could practice widening your vision and passing safely?
It makes sense, and I'm still trying to rewire my brain to force out bad habits.

In terms of practice to remind myself about wideview, I ride with the peripheral vision stars from the WVLS drill still. Heck, I even taped muted blue painters tape squares on my visor last year for a CCS race. I thought gold stars might draw attention at Tech. Haha.

In terms of the rider in front situation, I am hoping that practicing looking ahead even farther down the road when I have certainty of the turn in area instead of an exact point will help with looking through the rider. By moving the vision farther ahead on the road, I'm also providing a larger peripheral field that the other rider can be in, to better gauge differences in speed.

Is that headed towards the preferred thought process?

Maybe I'm incorrect in my self-assessment, but I also feel like part of my issue is just needing more seat time experience with gauging closure rate with peripheral vision.

At trackdays, even after following and trying to set up passes, I usually leave large gaps on entry and mid-corner as I'm concerned about the potential of the gap closing up real quick on some riders. When I have the "pass corner" chosen, I try to see how the situation looks when I get on the gas post entry. What this can result in though is that I end up with more ground to cover as the door is opening, and not committing to an underneath drive as I get nervous about the rider coming back across and pinching me off by the time I draw alongside for a right/left or v.v. situation. The extra ground can also lead to the bad habit of second guessing as we're headed towards the next door closing moment for the following corner.

I'm going to try and squeeze in another CSS day this year, maybe September at Thunderhill, to see if I can make more progress.
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Old September 6th, 2018, 09:59 AM   #46
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Progress Update:

Signed up for Thunderhill with Keigwin's @ the Track for October 6/7. The last time I was at Thunderhill was probably 2007. Anyone else here going to be there? It would be cool to get a tow from another small bike.

I also signed up for an AFM license. Depending how my lap times look after the K@TT trackdays, I may try to make the last round of AFM and get some more experience in.

Also, I picked up a set of Q3+, so we will see how they compare to the Alpha13.
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Old September 6th, 2018, 10:09 PM   #47
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I may be able to make that one. Will know in couple weeks
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Old September 8th, 2018, 05:56 PM   #48
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Doing Buttonwillow on 15-16 Sept.
Then Thunderhill 29-30 Sept.
Probably Thunderhill 6-7 Oct.
Then final AFM-Rnd7 Thunderhill 20-21 Oct.

Looking forward to seeing you @ Rnd-7, it's a relatively easy track with wide-open corners.
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Old September 10th, 2018, 07:36 AM   #49
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Doing Buttonwillow on 15-16 Sept.
Then Thunderhill 29-30 Sept.
Probably Thunderhill 6-7 Oct.
Then final AFM-Rnd7 Thunderhill 20-21 Oct.

Looking forward to seeing you @ Rnd-7, it's a relatively easy track with wide-open corners.
Super cool. If I can easily run under a 2:30 lap time, I'll definitely plan to attend to Round 7. I just have no idea of my lap time right now.

Now, I just have to start prepping the bike. CCS was a lot less detailed on safety wiring requirements, so that will have to be done. Just ordered some 3oz translucent bottles to fashion a catch can for the coolant overflow. Next up, some new handle bars to fit a guard.
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Old September 14th, 2018, 10:33 AM   #50
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Progress Update:

Signed up for Thunderhill with Keigwin's @ the Track for October 6/7. The last time I was at Thunderhill was probably 2007. Anyone else here going to be there? It would be cool to get a tow from another small bike.

I also signed up for an AFM license. Depending how my lap times look after the K@TT trackdays, I may try to make the last round of AFM and get some more experience in.

Also, I picked up a set of Q3+, so we will see how they compare to the Alpha13.
Cool. Maybe use some of the track time to work on your visual skills and practicing trying to see the space available to pass instead of the space that is taken up by the rider. If you are able to get closer ahead of your "pass corner" then you will have more time and space available to get by without having to make it all up AND pass. A lot of this will depend on how much attention you put on the rider in front of you and where they are. When I approach a rider I try and see the amount of space around them and put as little attention on them as possible. With my peripheral vision I keep track of where they are and where they are going and try and choose passes where the door is opening as opposed to closing (during track days, not racing). Anytime you focus on the rider in front and allow your vision to close in on them, even for a split second, you have lost valuable time.

Let me know how it goes and have fun!!
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Old October 16th, 2018, 10:36 PM   #51
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Cool. Maybe use some of the track time to work on your visual skills and practicing trying to see the space available to pass instead of the space that is taken up by the rider. If you are able to get closer ahead of your "pass corner" then you will have more time and space available to get by without having to make it all up AND pass. A lot of this will depend on how much attention you put on the rider in front of you and where they are. When I approach a rider I try and see the amount of space around them and put as little attention on them as possible. With my peripheral vision I keep track of where they are and where they are going and try and choose passes where the door is opening as opposed to closing (during track days, not racing). Anytime you focus on the rider in front and allow your vision to close in on them, even for a split second, you have lost valuable time.

Let me know how it goes and have fun!!
Thanks, @Misti ! It is definitely still a work in progress, but I felt that there was some improvement. I caught myself tunnel visioning in on the rider in front a few times. However, whenever I did, I worked on keeping a wideview and looking past the rider for the next corner, while keeping tabs on them with my peripheral vision. A few times, I definitely felt the difference in increased visual cues and faster cornering speed while making passes by keeping the wideview rather than forgetting and focusing on the rider in front. Also, no questionable passes on my end this time.

________
October 6-7
Thunderhill with Carter@TheTrack


Main take-away: Don't forget good arm/body positioning to help with a fast quickturn turn-in.

I went to Thunderhill to learn the track and see how my laptimes would look. I went with a particular eye towards trying to catch the last AFM round of the year. Local AFM 300 club racers said that consistent lines with laptimes below 2:30 would be safe for racing, so that was the baseline target for the weekend. The weather was nearly perfect, except a little bit windy. I was able to make steady improvement on Day 1 down to 2:28. I was focused on trying to learn the lines while keeping the turn-in area in mind. I still have to work on turn-in area, as it was brought to my attention on Day 2 that I was early apexing some corners when I should really be focused on getting a better drive out onto the main straight.

As a side note, the Carter@TheTrack folks were awesome. Coaches were highly visible and friendly. They also hosted a buffet dinner with beer on Saturday night. The dinner was a great chance to meet and talk with other riders, and chat with the organization staff.

On Day 2, Jason from Dunlop Tires mounted a set of Q3+, and I set about trying to build off day 1. I spent a few sessions riding with a 250 rider I had met the night before, and we both learned from each other in terms of the give and take in different sections of the track. I was able to get down to a 2:25 by lunch time. After lunch, I was able to get a tow and some lead-follow from one of the instructors, Frenchie, and he critiqued a few areas he saw I was particularly slow in. To make it a point, he passed me on the outside of T1 just to show me how much speed I was giving up. The coaching was definitely helpful as I immediately dropped 2 seconds and started running consistent 2:23 laptimes.

Based on Frenchie's feedback and some retrospective thinking about where I "felt slow," I definitely feel like there are a few spots for easy time gains next time out. The last session ended up being a slow session because of combined groups due to a red flag in the previous session, so I wasn't able to piece it all together. But since I was able to run 2:23s, I decided to take the plunge and signed up for the last AFM round. As Dylan Code says, the fastest way to get faster for racing is to just go racing.

Also, I had a nice chat with the suspension legend that is Dave Moss. I went to ask him about how to think about the balance between suspension upgrades and rider upgrades. I went primarily as I have uneven wearing with the stock suspension, and wanted to hear his thoughts on adjustable suspension versus a rider trying to learn to get the most out of the stock set up. His advice was to really focus on rider improvements until around 2:15 laptimes at Thunderhill. At that point, he thought I might start understanding where the suspension gains are to be had. So the new goal is now 2:15.

With the positive weekend, I will try my hand at the AFM round this weekend, and look forward to learning more from the other 250/300s riders. Based on the more recent races, it seems like I'll be at the tail of the pack, but that means there's only forward progress possible.

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Old October 20th, 2018, 08:53 AM   #52
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Nice! Great progress and update!
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Old October 21st, 2018, 01:46 PM   #53
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Awesome! Making nice progress!
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Old October 24th, 2018, 11:00 AM   #54
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Thanks you guys!

October 20-21
AFM Round 7- Thunderhill

Takeaway - I still need to practice quickturn turn-in handbar inputs and "screwdrivering" the inside hand.

I made it out to the final AFM round of the year. It was awesome. I will definitely be back. In a nutshell, I met some great people, dropped six seconds off my laptimes from two weeks ago, and had a lot of fun.

First of all, Tech. Thankfully, I got through Tech without a hitch. All I needed to do was to RTV the timing chain tensioner bolts, but otherwise I made it through unscathed.

From the tips and introspection from the trackdays two weeks prior, I was able to get down to the high 2:18s in practice. I ran a best of 2:23 at the trackdays previously. I thought this would bring me closer to the pack. However, it being the end of the year, the other racers in the Saturday race were running 2:14 or better. Sunday is a new day though, and I was happy to not finish last in 3 of 4 races in the weekend.

One set of corners in particular, T6-T8, was a particular area of focus for me. Previously, I was on the gas from T6 to T8, but taking T8 in the top of 5th gear. As the track goes uphill after T8, I was losing steam in 6th gear. However, on Sunday, I committed to keeping corner speed up in T6 and was able to get an extra 5MPH (indicated) though T8, allowing me to take it in 6th and keep accelerating up the hill. Unfortunately, this also meant if I screwed up a lap, I suddenly found myself losing steam very quickly after T8.

In the first of three races on Sunday, I was able to make a pass and two riders crashed out while in front of me, moving me up three positions by race end. In the second race, I was able to make a pass on a Ninja 400 and open a small gap. The third and final race was the most fun as the Ninja 400 rider dropped time and we both ended up making several passes on each other while running 2:17s. The Ninja 400 definitely pulled a lot stronger, as I could barely maintain position in a draft whereas he had power at will on the straights. By the end of it all, I was getting the bike leaned over and committed to the point of dragging the pegs in some of the corners. I was definitely faster in the back section of the course, but was getting a bit mentally exhausted and was losing time in T1 and T2. Luckily, I was able to hold my position down the back straight, running a defensive line and forcing him to try to go around the outside, and I held him off by 0.4 seconds across the line. If I could string it all together with a fresh mind, I think I should be able to get into the 2:16s next time.

However, I'm now trying to figure out the next step of where to find the gains as I was knee down in all corners and already dragging peg in some. The fastest expert rider was another 13 seconds a lap faster, and the fastest novice is about another 9 seconds up the road. With 34 horsepower, I will need significantly more thought on where to find the extra time. I think maybe an adjustable suspension and a bike properly sprung for my weight might buy me a second or two, but there is still a lot of rider improvement to be done.

At the same time, I am definitely starting to think what I want to run next season. My bike has a stock suspension right now, and it does not make sense to drop money into a 34hp bike if the small bike class is moving towards the Ninja 400 with 43hp. Based on when I was behind the Ninja 400, I was definitely getting a better drive off the corner but he was able to power up alongside on the long straights when he was behind. We will see how the rulebook shakes out, but maybe a different platform/class will be in the plans for next year.

Either way, I consider it a successful weekend and will plan to spend 2019 learning the AFM tracks and returning for racing. I'm signed up for the weekend after Thanksgiving to learn Buttonwillow.

In terms of the mental game of passing, I feel like I made improvements as I was able to focus on the track more. The back and forth with the Ninja 400 rider in the last race helped me to keep focus on the track rather than looking over at the other rider. My passes were usually started around the outside of the preceding corner to set up for an inside pass when the track switched back from left-right/right-left. At least this photo makes it look like I'm focused on the track (878 in the back).

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Old January 8th, 2019, 12:53 PM   #55
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Yay!! Great progress and updates! keep em coming!

CSS 2019 schedule is up and posted, I'll be coaching the first two dates in Last Vegas....anyone coming?



Any chance you will look into taking a school with us this year? I love to meet people from the forums in person! Oh, and feel free to ask questions or point out any concerns. I love chatting about riding when i'm not actually doing it!
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Old January 11th, 2019, 12:34 AM   #56
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Yay!! Great progress and updates! keep em coming!

CSS 2019 schedule is up and posted, I'll be coaching the first two dates in Last Vegas....anyone coming?



Any chance you will look into taking a school with us this year? I love to meet people from the forums in person! Oh, and feel free to ask questions or point out any concerns. I love chatting about riding when i'm not actually doing it!
Thanks, Misti! I'm hoping to cornerwork the March and November Vegas dates. Are you coaching the March days? Unfortunately, I can't make the February dates. In terms of taking another L4 class, I'm not sure. I have the June 8/9 days at streets marked on my calendar for now. I can't do weekdays, the early Streets dates all clash with AFM race weekends, and the 2-days are a bit outside of my budgeting.

I'm still working on the vision and passing issues we worked on last year at Streets, and I'm trying to be better about only using peripheral vision for the rider in front rather than actually glancing at them.

In bike news, I ended up buying an ex-young gun R6 with full K-tech DDS suspension for next season. I couldn't justify dropping more money into the 300 (stock suspension and motor) when it seems like the small class was going to the significantly more powerful 400. The plan for 2019 is to run the AFM 450 triples class with it. With a quick injector harness plug-in, it will also allow me to play with SV level 450 power for rider improvement and full 600 for more goofing off trackdays. The bike ran 1:48s at Thunderhill at one point, so now anything else is clearly a rider issue. Hah
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Old January 11th, 2019, 02:40 AM   #57
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Good progress there. Can I offer a gem of wisdom here "Power is nothing without control" never a truer word said when it comes to bikes. In this last post you mentioned "sprung for yur weight" & adjustable suspension. If you get the first one right & get the damping set for your weight too, with the correct sag settings, you should see an improvement in times. When targeting a bike for the track I'd use this basic setup guide;-
1. Best Tyres available
2. Best suspension available & correctly setup
3. Best braking obtainable
4. More power to improve on the parts of the track that those above do not make the difference.

So a bike that sticks, steers & brakes as well as possible for that model, will be better than a stock bike with 20% more power. Quality suspension setup will allow the bike to ride higher in the corners & utilise maximum lean. Bikes can pull up to 1.3-1.4G in a corner, so if the suspension can't hold you & the bike up in a straight line at 1G how will it fair when loaded to 1.2G+ ? To put that in perspective, if the bike weighs 140KG wet & you weight 60Kg (for simple numbers) that gives 200Kg race weight on the straight, in a corner pulling 1.2G your race weight is now 240Kg & the to soft suspension has to hold that extra 40Kg up, try adding 40Kg to your bike when upright & see how far the suspension sags, now throw in a bump in a corner & take it to 1.4G oops you h=just added another 40Kg of weight hitting that bump

So Tyres & suspension are better than HP especially on a track with small straights & mostly corners.

Good luck, I no it all costs money, but there are ways to short cut that. Later or other model bikes have cartridge forks, replacing damper rods with cartridges, allows a lot more adjustment just using oil viscosity & far better control, correct springs for your weight are cheap. Reading about cartridge adjustments, can allow you to set them up & or change a few basic parts to get better adjustment. Then find a good setting for you & learn to ride it, don't twiddle knobs or adjustments because they are there.Likewise don't mkae timy adjustments, be bold. If you think something is too soft, whack a good adjustment on it, then see if that made it to hard, don't add nibble adjustments because you won't be able to feel the change, you can always back off if you went to far, but you need to be able to feel the difference ! If you went up 10 clicks & now to hard go back 5 & try it. It makes it quicker to zone in on the correct adjustment range !

Have fun.
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Old January 14th, 2019, 11:35 PM   #58
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Good progress there. Can I offer a gem of wisdom here "Power is nothing without control" never a truer word said when it comes to bikes. In this last post you mentioned "sprung for yur weight" & adjustable suspension. If you get the first one right & get the damping set for your weight too, with the correct sag settings, you should see an improvement in times. When targeting a bike for the track I'd use this basic setup guide;-
1. Best Tyres available
2. Best suspension available & correctly setup
3. Best braking obtainable
4. More power to improve on the parts of the track that those above do not make the difference.

So a bike that sticks, steers & brakes as well as possible for that model, will be better than a stock bike with 20% more power. Quality suspension setup will allow the bike to ride higher in the corners & utilise maximum lean. Bikes can pull up to 1.3-1.4G in a corner, so if the suspension can't hold you & the bike up in a straight line at 1G how will it fair when loaded to 1.2G+ ? To put that in perspective, if the bike weighs 140KG wet & you weight 60Kg (for simple numbers) that gives 200Kg race weight on the straight, in a corner pulling 1.2G your race weight is now 240Kg & the to soft suspension has to hold that extra 40Kg up, try adding 40Kg to your bike when upright & see how far the suspension sags, now throw in a bump in a corner & take it to 1.4G oops you h=just added another 40Kg of weight hitting that bump

So Tyres & suspension are better than HP especially on a track with small straights & mostly corners.

Good luck, I no it all costs money, but there are ways to short cut that. Later or other model bikes have cartridge forks, replacing damper rods with cartridges, allows a lot more adjustment just using oil viscosity & far better control, correct springs for your weight are cheap.
Definitely agreed and thanks for the thoughts. Previously, I was more focused on getting my riding abilities closer to the realm where I would really "need" the improved suspension. In photos, it was definitely clear that my bike had a nose-up attitude due to my weight and the rear suspension, thereby probably slowing turn-in slightly due to the increased rake. But the increased rake definitely wasn't the primary cause of my lap times.

As you say though, everything costs money. It's why I bought an R6 for next season instead of pouring more money into the 300. The R6 has fully adjustable gas charged front forks and a fully adjustable rear shock, and is actually sprung for a rider of my weight. Now, there will be no excuses next season as the bike will have the best tires, best suspension, and strong braking. Now it is all on the rider to improve. Haha.
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Old January 23rd, 2019, 03:02 PM   #59
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Thanks, Misti! I'm hoping to cornerwork the March and November Vegas dates. Are you coaching the March days? Unfortunately, I can't make the February dates. In terms of taking another L4 class, I'm not sure. I have the June 8/9 days at streets marked on my calendar for now. I can't do weekdays, the early Streets dates all clash with AFM race weekends, and the 2-days are a bit outside of my budgeting.

I'm still working on the vision and passing issues we worked on last year at Streets, and I'm trying to be better about only using peripheral vision for the rider in front rather than actually glancing at them.

In bike news, I ended up buying an ex-young gun R6 with full K-tech DDS suspension for next season. I couldn't justify dropping more money into the 300 (stock suspension and motor) when it seems like the small class was going to the significantly more powerful 400. The plan for 2019 is to run the AFM 450 triples class with it. With a quick injector harness plug-in, it will also allow me to play with SV level 450 power for rider improvement and full 600 for more goofing off trackdays. The bike ran 1:48s at Thunderhill at one point, so now anything else is clearly a rider issue. Hah
Hey! I'll be at the March dates so maybe see you there!!

Best bet is to keep on working on specific riding techniques, you mentioned vision and passing and I think it's great. Budget issues suck (trust me I've been there with balancing racing and work and life and all that fun stuff!). Just keep having fun and riding as much as possible and maybe we will see you at a Level 4 school sometime soon

Feel free to fire away any other questions you may have about anything! I love chatting about riding tech (especially when I can't be out riding!)
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Old February 9th, 2019, 11:55 PM   #60
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Hey! I'll be at the March dates so maybe see you there!!

Best bet is to keep on working on specific riding techniques, you mentioned vision and passing and I think it's great. Budget issues suck (trust me I've been there with balancing racing and work and life and all that fun stuff!). Just keep having fun and riding as much as possible and maybe we will see you at a Level 4 school sometime soon

Feel free to fire away any other questions you may have about anything! I love chatting about riding tech (especially when I can't be out riding!)
Awesome! I am officially assigned for cornerworking the March dates, so I'll see you there!

Once March rolls around, and work slows down a bit, I'm sure I'll be posting up new questions. The R6 just came back from the frame shop this week as a roller, so now I need to find time to put it all back together before a trackday the week before Vegas.

For now, a quick question. I think you coaches used to (still do?) run Dunlop slicks takeoffs? How quickly, or how much, do you find the slicks to warm up in the morning with the 3/4, no brakes session on an average March LVMS days? I'm not sure I'll be able to run warmers while cornerworkering out there, and am wondering about not being able to get on the brakes firmly in the early sessions to warm up that front tire. Both sets of my rims are currently mounted up with Pirelli SC1 (soft) and SC2 (medium), so softer carcass than Dunlop.

P.S. The Ninja 300 is sold off to a new owner, so technically this thread won't be in compliance with the forum going forward. Maybe it's time I switched this over to a blog or the superbike school forum. Haha.
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Old February 11th, 2019, 11:12 AM   #61
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Awesome! I am officially assigned for cornerworking the March dates, so I'll see you there!

Once March rolls around, and work slows down a bit, I'm sure I'll be posting up new questions. The R6 just came back from the frame shop this week as a roller, so now I need to find time to put it all back together before a trackday the week before Vegas.

For now, a quick question. I think you coaches used to (still do?) run Dunlop slicks takeoffs? How quickly, or how much, do you find the slicks to warm up in the morning with the 3/4, no brakes session on an average March LVMS days? I'm not sure I'll be able to run warmers while cornerworkering out there, and am wondering about not being able to get on the brakes firmly in the early sessions to warm up that front tire. Both sets of my rims are currently mounted up with Pirelli SC1 (soft) and SC2 (medium), so softer carcass than Dunlop.

P.S. The Ninja 300 is sold off to a new owner, so technically this thread won't be in compliance with the forum going forward. Maybe it's time I switched this over to a blog or the superbike school forum. Haha.
Cool! Looking forward to saying hi! As for the tires, yes coaches use Dunlop Slick take off's for the most part unless it's raining and we get Q3's like the students. They do take a while to warm up for sure and we have to be very careful/conscious of the fact that they don't warm up like our student tires. I try and give myself lots of time to get them at least a bit warm before leading a student and we need to remember that when we stop on the side of the track to wait for them, that we have to be extra careful pulling back on track at speed and not dumping it in the next few turns due to the tires cooling back off again!!!

Just take your time to slowly build heat and you should be fine!
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Old August 23rd, 2019, 06:10 PM   #62
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Awesome! I am officially assigned for cornerworking the March dates, so I'll see you there!

Once March rolls around, and work slows down a bit, I'm sure I'll be posting up new questions. The R6 just came back from the frame shop this week as a roller, so now I need to find time to put it all back together before a trackday the week before Vegas.

For now, a quick question. I think you coaches used to (still do?) run Dunlop slicks takeoffs? How quickly, or how much, do you find the slicks to warm up in the morning with the 3/4, no brakes session on an average March LVMS days? I'm not sure I'll be able to run warmers while cornerworkering out there, and am wondering about not being able to get on the brakes firmly in the early sessions to warm up that front tire. Both sets of my rims are currently mounted up with Pirelli SC1 (soft) and SC2 (medium), so softer carcass than Dunlop.

P.S. The Ninja 300 is sold off to a new owner, so technically this thread won't be in compliance with the forum going forward. Maybe it's time I switched this over to a blog or the superbike school forum. Haha.
Hi all,
I did a search here for CSS and found this thread. MK, I donít own a 250 but have rented little ninjas from feel like a pro before. Lol, recognize those in some of the pics here. Good stuff.

Just got back this week from the CSS school up at the ridge. So i am reading the thread and Mistiís name pops up. Ha! She was my coach this week. Too cool.

I ride as many trackdays as I can but local trackdays in texas are, light on meaningful instruction. Seat time alone does little for improvement in my case. But it is fun like nothing else. The personal attention and drills at CSS for your riding sins were an absolute pleasure. Time to buy a lottery ticket, I need more of this in my life! Then I found your thread. Great discussion. Keep it coming as I am your sponge.

I first attended CSS in 2005, Misti was also my coach then too. (Yes, really)! I need to do this more often after doing level 4. All the focussed attention gave me a lot to start lifting me off what felt like a developmental flat spot. Need to do this again. And again.

So I am long winded getting to this question:
$ is a finite resource. Each year I try to do a couple fly away track days. Rental bikes are required. CSS has everyone beat.
($200 for an s1000rr.. i had never ridden anything so magic. Quite a contrast to my nsr50r trackbike.)

But with travel, the overal expense is significant. So, if I have to pick a track for next year (just one), I want to ask, whatís your favorite track on the CSS calendar? I canít do them all, gotta choose.

Please share why it is your pick if you donít mind. I got two votes for VIR this week. Agree? Disagree. Please help a humble student.
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Old August 26th, 2019, 02:38 PM   #63
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Hi all,
I did a search here for CSS and found this thread. MK, I donít own a 250 but have rented little ninjas from feel like a pro before. Lol, recognize those in some of the pics here. Good stuff.

Just got back this week from the CSS school up at the ridge. So i am reading the thread and Mistiís name pops up. Ha! She was my coach this week. Too cool.

I ride as many trackdays as I can but local trackdays in texas are, light on meaningful instruction. Seat time alone does little for improvement in my case. But it is fun like nothing else. The personal attention and drills at CSS for your riding sins were an absolute pleasure. Time to buy a lottery ticket, I need more of this in my life! Then I found your thread. Great discussion. Keep it coming as I am your sponge.

I first attended CSS in 2005, Misti was also my coach then too. (Yes, really)! I need to do this more often after doing level 4. All the focussed attention gave me a lot to start lifting me off what felt like a developmental flat spot. Need to do this again. And again.

So I am long winded getting to this question:
$ is a finite resource. Each year I try to do a couple fly away track days. Rental bikes are required. CSS has everyone beat.
($200 for an s1000rr.. i had never ridden anything so magic. Quite a contrast to my nsr50r trackbike.)

But with travel, the overal expense is significant. So, if I have to pick a track for next year (just one), I want to ask, whatís your favorite track on the CSS calendar? I canít do them all, gotta choose.

Please share why it is your pick if you donít mind. I got two votes for VIR this week. Agree? Disagree. Please help a humble student.
Hi Michael!! Crazy that I was your coach in 2005 and then again this year! Guess I've been with CSS a while hey . It was a pleasure to work with you and I'm happy to see this nice write up! As for Fav track, VIR is top of a lot of the coaches list, that and the Ridge. I prefer Barber to VIR though but it's close . I also like Sonoma a lot and Laguna is cool because, well, it's laguna Seca

Anyway, hope to see you at the next CSS event you make it to!!
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Old August 27th, 2019, 05:34 PM   #64
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Hi all,
I did a search here for CSS and found this thread. MK, I don’t own a 250 but have rented little ninjas from feel like a pro before. Lol, recognize those in some of the pics here. Good stuff.

Just got back this week from the CSS school up at the ridge. So i am reading the thread and Misti’s name pops up. Ha! She was my coach this week. Too cool.

I ride as many trackdays as I can but local trackdays in texas are, light on meaningful instruction. Seat time alone does little for improvement in my case. But it is fun like nothing else. The personal attention and drills at CSS for your riding sins were an absolute pleasure. Time to buy a lottery ticket, I need more of this in my life! Then I found your thread. Great discussion. Keep it coming as I am your sponge.

I first attended CSS in 2005, Misti was also my coach then too. (Yes, really)! I need to do this more often after doing level 4. All the focussed attention gave me a lot to start lifting me off what felt like a developmental flat spot. Need to do this again. And again.

So I am long winded getting to this question:
$ is a finite resource. Each year I try to do a couple fly away track days. Rental bikes are required. CSS has everyone beat.
($200 for an s1000rr.. i had never ridden anything so magic. Quite a contrast to my nsr50r trackbike.)

But with travel, the overal expense is significant. So, if I have to pick a track for next year (just one), I want to ask, what’s your favorite track on the CSS calendar? I can’t do them all, gotta choose.

Please share why it is your pick if you don’t mind. I got two votes for VIR this week. Agree? Disagree. Please help a humble student.
I definitely get the $ issue. I always do get a bit green with envy for some of the folks who can afford to do a ton of CSS days each year. I haven't been to all of the CSS tracks and @Misti has way more laps around them.

That being said, I agree with the VIR (North) recommendations. It has a fantastic combination of corners, elevation change, restaurant and spa on site, and guest rooms overlooking the front straight. If you have been to the California tracks, the amenities at VIR will put Laguna to shame. I haven't ridden Barber, but the museum there was worth the visit even without track time.

I also do enjoy the home track of Streets of Willow, which has nice elevation change and variety of corners, but it is not in the same tier as VIR and Barber in my opinion.

Since budget is a consideration, I would recommend doing Laguna and Sears/Sonoma with trackdays (such as Carters at the Track) as CSS has only run the more expensive 2-day schools in recent memory.

Regarding Thunderhill and NJMP, one thing to note is that CSS does not ride the main tracks--Thunderhill (East) and NJMP (Thunderbolt). Instead, they ride West and Lightning. This is just something to think about if you want to go racing (AFM runs East and CSS runs Thunderbolt) or practice on a specific track.

Just my personal preference, but Vegas is my least favorite track. It is nearly completely flat and just meh.

Have fun!
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Old August 29th, 2019, 12:14 PM   #65
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Quite a contrast to my nsr50r trackbike
You spinning laps at GKCI on that thing?
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Old November 6th, 2019, 10:52 AM   #66
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I definitely get the $ issue. I always do get a bit green with envy for some of the folks who can afford to do a ton of CSS days each year. I haven't been to all of the CSS tracks and @Misti has way more laps around them.

That being said, I agree with the VIR (North) recommendations. It has a fantastic combination of corners, elevation change, restaurant and spa on site, and guest rooms overlooking the front straight. If you have been to the California tracks, the amenities at VIR will put Laguna to shame. I haven't ridden Barber, but the museum there was worth the visit even without track time.

I also do enjoy the home track of Streets of Willow, which has nice elevation change and variety of corners, but it is not in the same tier as VIR and Barber in my opinion.

Since budget is a consideration, I would recommend doing Laguna and Sears/Sonoma with trackdays (such as Carters at the Track) as CSS has only run the more expensive 2-day schools in recent memory.

Regarding Thunderhill and NJMP, one thing to note is that CSS does not ride the main tracks--Thunderhill (East) and NJMP (Thunderbolt). Instead, they ride West and Lightning. This is just something to think about if you want to go racing (AFM runs East and CSS runs Thunderbolt) or practice on a specific track.

Just my personal preference, but Vegas is my least favorite track. It is nearly completely flat and just meh.

Have fun!
Great comments
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Old November 9th, 2019, 12:08 AM   #67
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Great comments
Great coaching Hopefully I can get myself back out to a CSS weekend in 2020. And the random thread revivals just made me decide to put post up my 2019 progress/race reports... I'll let the moderators decide whether or not to pull the plug as the new bike isn't a ninjette anymore.
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Old November 9th, 2019, 12:16 AM   #68
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So, I originally was going to let this thread go as I moved away from the ninjette, but the random thread bumps made decide it would be fun to continue the progress thread. If you moderators feel it inappropriate in ninjettes at speed, just let me know. I wrote up these 2019 reports for posting elsewhere originally.
___

For 2019, I dedicated myself to running as much of the AFM season as I could. For 2019, I bought a 2011 R6 and ran it as a triple 450 in AFM. It is a fantastic stepping stone class without going into the 600 meat grinder. The 450 is about on par with an SV650, but without the need to frankenstein mod. Marcus Zarra sells a fuel injector bypass that plugs right in. The fast guys are doing cam grinds for the last bit of horsepower, but I like having the option to switch between 450 and 600.

AFM - Round 1 - Buttonwillow

First of all, I have to thank all of the 450 riders who were welcoming and helpful to this newcomer. In particular, Marc, Owen, Brandon, Sandy, and Dave were generous with their time and information sharing. The weekend almost ended before it started, but for Marc Zarra saving me.

As a bit of background, I have been riding a pretty much stock Ninja 300 at the track for the past three years. With the new Ninja 400, it made more sense to me to get a set up R6 for racing that would also have an easier time at trackdays rather than continue to dump money into the 300. That being said, I just did not have much time to get acquainted with the R6 before round 1 as I only got out to two California Superbike School cornerworking days at Vegas with it (Hi @Misti ).

Saturday



It was only my second time ever at Buttonwillow. I started off the day a bit frustrated as I was only lapping where I was the first time on a Ninja 300 at 2:16. I am still adjusting to the additional heft and size of the R6 versus the Ninja 300, so I know that my cornering speed is still lacking quite a bit. I also know that it is all mental as I was on Dunlop Q3+ on the 300 and am now running Pirelli SC1 slicks on the R6. Also, I was going from a soft, stock 300 suspension to full K-Techs, so the grip is there for the taking.

As practice went on, I focused on trying to pick up speed through T3/T4 and Riverside as I thought I had the most to gain there. I started to make some headway into my lap times and slowly whittled away. However, things were about to take a turn for the worse. Coming over Phil Hill in practice 4, the bike just suddenly felt a lot weaker. I thought maybe I was imagining it as it continued to run without any ticking/clacking/terminal sounds. However, once I reached pitlane, I pulled in the clutch and the engine immediately died.

I parked the bike and started asking around if any mechanics were around for a consult troubleshoot because I wanted to make the Clubman Lightweight race. Unfortunately, the prognosis was not favorable. I ended up cancelling all of my races and started loading up with the expectation of troubleshooting the bike at home. However, the other 450 riders and Oscar from Race Pace Motorsports suggested I check in with Dave for his opinion. Dave then pointed me to talk to a guy.

The guy started asking me about the bike and also how the 450 bypass was done. As part of my explanation, I told him, "I bought a bypass harness from Marc Zarra." It turns out the guy I was talking to was Marc Zarra. He went over to inspect the bike and take a listen. He dismissed the light ticking as normal R6 noise by asking the rhetorical question of whether I'd carefully listened to this bike without earplugs in before. That would be a no. He then took the time to rewire the bypass harness to bypass problematic cylinder 1 instead of cylinder 2. And it ran! It's a good thing I only needed three of four cylinders. Of course, after this weekend, troubleshooting cylinder 1 will still be done. But it ran! At this point, I was just glad to have the chance to race on Sunday.

Owen then suggested Indian for dinner. I had no idea that there was Indian food in Buttonwillow. It was tasty, and even included entertainment by way of a random table figurine.



Sunday morning

First things first, I went to talk to Allie at registration to get re-registered. Unfortunately, I couldn't run 450SB because the cutoff time was 5PM the previous day. However, I was able to get back into F4 and 450SS in the afternoon. After resolving the registration issue, it was time for practice. I am not a fan of cold morning practices but I knew I needed to test the bike, so I took it out for two laps for shakedown. Coming across two downed bikes in the first lap alone was reason enough for me to pit-in after the engine seemed to work fine. Then began a long wait to the afternoon races.

Formula IV

Formula IV was mostly an experts race. Before the race, I had set a personal goal of hitting 2:08.

Off the line, I got a better start than the other novice rider and I was able to stay in touch with an expert rider. I was getting a better drive than the rider off the corner, and was able to get by while on the brakes.

The next rider ahead of me was on a blue bike. As I worked on slowly closing the gap, I saw that that the bike had a narrow tail (so not a GSX-R). As I got closer, I saw the tail had Feel Like A Pro stickers on it. "Oh boy, it's an ex-FLAP Ninja 300," was what crossed my mind. (More below with 450SS, but it was a 450 and wasn't a 300). In that moment, I convinced myself that I had to (a) learn from this guy's cornering and (b) utilize the higher horsepower of my bike to get by. However, I could not get a good drive on the "300" bike for the life of me. It was frustrating to say the least as I should have been packing significantly more horsepower so I kept questioning my technique corner after corner. I was staying in touch and closing up on corner entry, but the gap would slightly open on corner exit. After following the other rider through three laps, I decided to make a pass in Riverside as I was getting more comfortable through there. I know that the oft spoken rule is "don't add throttle and lean angle," but I also knew I was previously nowhere near the limit on entry to Riverside. Mentally, I convinced myself that I needed to get past this "300" so I broke the cardinal rule by increasing load on that front tire. After completing the pass, my front end went for a little slide as a big reminder to me to keep it in check. That lap was a 2:09.144.



The next lap, I got to 2:08.649 as I was trying to prevent a repass and pushed a bit more. Honestly, the set up for the pass mentally drained me. The R6 takes a noticeable amount more effort to move around than my old 300. However, on the last lap, I made some mental errors overslowing on corner entry and dropped back to 2:09.558. I could feel the other rider hanging over my shoulder, and can only hope I didn't surprise him too much with the overslowing. On the cool down lap, I glanced over my shoulder and didn't see anyone there before continuing to pit-in. It turns out I looked the wrong way as the timing shows the difference between us at the finish was only 0.3 seconds.

450SS

Very similar start to Formula IV. After the first lap, I was back following the FLAP bike. I then spent the entire race trying to understand my corner exit drives and trying to get a good run on this "300." My bike seemed to be pulling fairly strongly, so I figured it had to be a line or rider throttle application issue on my part.

As the race progressed, the skilled riders from the following 300/400 waves started catching us. This really hurt my rhythm as they would slot in between us on corner entry. I spent the rest of the race trying to constantly close back up the gap but I could not figure out a way to set up a pass as the fast 300/400s were coming by. We held position all the way to the checkered with me 0.8 seconds behind.

One thing though about that "300" bike. In the final corner of the last lap, an actual 300 came up the inside of me. On the front straight, I easily powered back by to the finish line. This made me wonder about that FLAP bike as I knew my corner exits, while relatively slow, shouldn't have been losing out that big. Upon looking at the results in RaceHero, it looks like the other rider was actually on a 450 but maybe sponsored by FLAP rather than running an ex-FLAP bike. So at least mentally, I'm not racking my brain as hard about how I was losing out so big on corner exit drives versus what I thought was a 300.

Still, I am racking my brain over the 1:53 on a Ninja 400 by Rocco Landers. Absolutely incredible. I ended the weekend in the 2:08s, and know that there is still a lot of easy time to be had in T2-T6, Riverside, and Phil Hill.

Recap

All in all, I brought the bike home in one piece so I can't complain. I am also glad I was able to get more comfortable on the R6. Next time out, I'll hope to cut it down to 2:05 or lower. The real target is to at least visually stay in touch with the 450 pack.

I just pulled the forks and shock for a refresh service tonight, and will now also set about inspecting the engine. I haven't had time to learn about the R6 since I bought it, so I'm looking forward to reading the service manual and figuring out what is where on this bike.

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Old November 9th, 2019, 12:17 AM   #69
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AFM - Round 2 - Buttonwillow

"It'll be simple. I'll test the ignition coil and check the spark plug. Either I've got a bad ignition coil or a fouled plug." This was the thought I had as I started pulling apart my bike. I had already ordered a set of ignition coils off of eBay and live within walking distance of an Autozone and an O'Reilly's. Little did I know that this was about to be an expensive race to get to Round 2.

During practice at Round 1, my 450 triple suddenly lost power while on the run up to Phil Hill. At the time, there was no rattling or otherwise discernable sound. The group thought was that it was probably a bad ignition coil on Cyl.1. The dead cylinder was swapped, and two races were run.

Allegedly, the motor was refreshed last year. The suspension was also allegedly refreshed halfway through last year. After R1, I took the suspension over to James Morse on the recommendation of Dave Moss. In refreshing the suspension, James found a cracked internal component. Thankfully it was relatively inexpensive, and he was able to get the part. It was probably from overtightening at the last service, and was the reason for some pogo-ing in the front end. Coming from a stock Ninja 300, the bad suspension still felt better than the 300 suspension. Slowly but surely though, this good deal of a bike is turning out to be less of a good deal with each discovery.

Next came the motor. I dropped the radiator and got access to the coils. I pulled the coil and spark plug and did the age old spark test, fully expecting no spark. Instead, I got consistent spark. Uh… Okay… Next, I dropped the exhaust to check the exhaust valves. This is where I start getting nervous. Cyl. 1 has a clearly bent exhaust valve. At this point, I decide to call it a night. The next day, I ran down to Harbor Freight for an inspection camera. I tried to run the camera down into the spark plug hole but the camera wouldn't fit. (Side note: HF says the camera is 8.5mm. It is not. I miked it at 9.1mm). I then decided to take a look at the exhaust valves. Now the real fun begins.



The entire valve head on the bent valve is gone. (The photo above is the bent stem, minus head). Not good. Extra not good in that I was about to go on a 4 day hike and then travel up to the Bay.
I took the bike into GP Motomax and Jose took a look at the cylinder walls with a smaller Snap-On ($$$) inspection camera. Not good on all fronts. Piston had damage and the cylinder wall had some damage. Jose was able to source a stock motor, and they swapped it in. Admittedly, I did not give myself or GP Motomax enough time before R2, but they stayed up late Friday and got the bike running. Now I'll also have a bad motor to tear apart and learn from.

I missed Saturday, but I was just incredibly grateful to have a bike for Sunday. I picked up the bike Saturday morning, reassembled the remaining parts and bodywork, and set out for Buttonwillow.

Seven paragraphs, and we're not even at Buttonwillow yet!

Sunday
Woke up and ran into Oscar from Racepace Motorsports. He told me he had extra space in his garage due to another rider unfortunately having motor problems (hope your motor issues are easily fixed!) on Saturday, and graciously offered it. After getting the bike tech'ed, I went out for practice for a shakedown run of the bike. Thankfully, everything seemed in order.

450SBK
There were three of us novice riders in this race. I had set a weekend goal of trying to get to 2:04/2:05, and went into this race with the mindset of doing my darndest to put my head down and get a tow. That didn't work out as much as I planned. I got a decent enough start to stay on the tail of the pack and tried to stick with Marc and #720 as much as I could. However, the gap started opening up, and soon I was on my own. I ended up back where I left off with a 2:08.3. The worst part about this race: finishing a lap down because of getting lapped by the SuperDino leader.


F4
Stagnation. 2:08.1. Also, I know that I'm still not having good inside arm/upper body position. I keep trying to remind myself to screwdriver hand the inside hand and drop the elbow and upper body. However, the photos are proof that I'm not doing it as I should. Also, I know that I'm over-slowing for T1, T2, and the last corner, even by my standards. I need to work on my reference points and looking farther up ahead.


450SS
More stagnation. 2:08.2. At least I can say that I am more consistent. The majority of laps I ran this weekend were in the 2:08/09s compared to only three laps at R1. I spent the race trying to figure out the Esses. I saw a lot of different lines from other riders, and couldn't quite figure out a line I liked that would let me get on the gas early. The extra heft of the R6 compared to the 300 made itself known as I tried to force different lines.


At the end of the day, I'm not happy with myself in that I wasn't able to identify and improve on a particular aspect. I thought I was carrying more cornerspeed through Riverside, but the overall laptimes didn't show it. However, I am extremely grateful for the people who helped make this weekend even possible.

Special thanks to Cycle Gear Racing for the support!
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Old November 9th, 2019, 12:19 AM   #70
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AFM - Round 3 - Thunderhill

Round 3. More friends. New friends.

Joining the AFM paddock this year has provided a lot of great conversations.
At its core, I think motorcycling is a very individualistic hobby. Tomorrow's problems, future concerns, past issues, none of it matters when your entire mental capacity is focused on the present and your entry speed into turn 1. The outside world cannot interrupt you. But at the same time, riding provides us with experiences that we want to share, often resulting in hilarious paddock conversations. It has been fun to find a group to chat motorcycles with.

For round 3, I set a goal of getting to 2:08 on the 450. I was still mentally resetting after a super slow low side at Sears in a cold first session. Originally, I had planned to run the aesthetically rough fairings that came with the bike until I could earn it with lower laptimes. But thanks to the crash, I ended up just painting and installing a new set of fairings. For my first time with an HVLP spray gun, i think it came out decent. The Valspar paint laid down decently, but I didn't mix in any reducer on the clearcoat. Unfortunately, I didn't figure out the settings right for the clear, and ended up with a rough textured clear. I did a better clear job with Spraymax 2k rattle cans on my last bike. But still, the bike is more than acceptable to me for a 10 feet paintjob.

Going into the weekend, I had a previous baseline of 2:17 at Thill on a mostly stock Ninja 300. Mentally, I was dead set that I had to beat it with a full gas K-Tech, double the horsepower 450 R6. Of course, easier said than done.

Saturday Clubman Lightweight
This was an interesting one due the number of waves. We were gridded with Afemme Lightweight to consolidate down to four waves. I only remembered a few of the bikes around my grid position, so the vast majority were unknown to me. This meant that as we headed towards Turn 1, I had no idea which bike was in which class and what risk would be for position. Without this knowledge, I just tried to take some low risk passes lest I risk throwing it all away for no reason. Since Clubman is a warm up for Sunday, I was only pushing in "safer spots" with run off in an effort to make sure I could run Sunday. It took a little while to settle in, but I eventually got some clear track and got to 2:13.

Contact. Racing incident. In turn 14, I ended up entering a bit faster than I thought. Being harder on the brakes, I ended up blowing the run down to the apex. On the drive out of 14, I wasnít carrying as much speed and did not track out wide. Turns out Ian from F40 was coming up and was trying to set up inside of me for turn 15. We ended up having some light contact, but both kept it up. Our chat afterwards ended up helping me with 14/15 on Sunday. Sorry, Ian. :laughing Ended up 4th with the 2:13. Then some Casa Ramos for dinner with the 450s.



450 SBK
Before this race, Dave Moss helped me readjust my suspension as I bottomed out the front forks in clubman. Also, before I went racing, I went up to the hill at T14 to watch the fast 450 riders in Lightweight Superbike to see how they dealt with 14 and 15. Seeing the line from up on the hill was more insightful than just following a rider, as the exit of 14 looks completely different (and with much more real estate) when viewed from above. 450 SBK was a good indicator of the amount of lap time I still need to drop. Fairly uneventful race. I spent most of my time trying to gauge myself relative to one of the expert 450 riders, and was eventually able to make a pass. I dropped another two seconds to 2:11, and was finding that I was still giving a lot on corner entry. Finished third novice, but with a sizable gap to first and second. My goal was to finish on the lead lap, but still ended up getting lapped by the Super Dinos.



F4
Formula 4 was a quiet race. I actually really like F4 because I donít worry about hindering the leaders since we start in one wave. I found myself picking up a little more speed in turn 6. Finished 2nd novice.

450SS
Last race of the day. Last chance to shave some time for the 2:08 goal. I focused on turns 2, 6, 14, and 15 in this race. I felt like I was being better on turn 6 and getting a drive out. However, I know I still need to get more aggressive on the power on drive out of corners. I have been trying to get to full throttle between each corner even if just for a second. Ended up getting passed by some of the fast riders in the following waves. Ended up getting to 2:10. Finished 2nd novice.

At the end of the day, I lowered my laptimes and brought the bike home in one piece. So Iím happy with it overall even though I didn't hit my goal of a 2:08. I am slowly whittling down my laptimes, and will hope to keep improving. The new goal for round 4 will be 2:06. The real goal as always is to eventually stay in touch with the main pack of expert riders. But regardless, Iíll be back. It has been awesome meeting everyone and learning from everyone.

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Old November 9th, 2019, 12:19 AM   #71
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AFM - Round 4 - Thunderhill

“It’s going to be 108 tomorrow,” I said as I drove towards Thunderhill.

My girlfriend was on the other end of the call. “That makes no sense. It just sounds miserable. You’re all going to be out there in 108 degree weather in your black leather suits. How is that fun?”

“It just is. The heat will not be fun. But it just is.” And so began round 4.

Thanks again this weekend go out to the 450 triples crowd as usual, especially for saving a spot for me under the canopy. Due to other commitments, I could only run Sunday this time. But I definitely wanted to make it out and continue improving. I set my personal goal of getting from 2:10 at round 3 to 2:06. Even though the 4 seconds was unlikely, I've always thought to set "stretch" goals to keep the motivation up.

I came into this weekend with the goal of not pushing too hard while still trying to improve. After watching Owen’s on-boards from round 3 and seeing the speed differential in T2, I decided to try and focus my improvements in T2 and T14 where I felt I had the most easy time to gain.

The combination of tech-ing my bike and the heat led me to skip morning practice even though I did not get to ride on Saturday. Instead, I was planning to just wing it with Race 6, but Owen got me to do the formation lap in Race 3 to at least get some movement in the suspension before Race 6.

Race 6 450SBK was a good warm up. I ended up running consistent 2:11s. Not quite the 2:10 from round 3, but ballpark. My goal in race 6 is always to not get lapped by the first wave SuperDino. This time, I got the white flag at the tower. But then the SD leader passed me on the run down to T1. We both weren't sure about the situation. He sat up and looked back at the tower since he got two white flag laps and pitted in that lap. I completed the lap to take the checkered. Turns out he beat me to the line, so I still got marked +1. Drats.

Race 9 F4 turned out to be a disaster. I was probably dehydrated or suffering from the heat as I could not keep focus. By the end, I slowed to 2:14 and was just hoping for the race to be over. At the morning riders meeting, I had originally voted to maintain the races at 6 laps instead of 5. Next time, I will be changing my vote.

Finally, race 11, 450SS. This was my last chance to improve on the 2:10. I was feeling a lot better after drinking water and also draping an ice water towel around my neck in the paddock. The top novice, Miles, was running way faster at 2:00 and mixing it up with the main pack, so I was just running my own race and trying to bring it home in one piece. I tailed an expert rider around and worked my way down to a 2:08 lap. Another 2 seconds off my personal best, but still another 8 seconds to go to actually be in the mix of things. All things considered, I was happy to bring the bike home in one piece and make improvements on my laptimes. But I am also disappointed that I'm still quite far off the pace.

Now onward to Sonoma, where I will be trying to take it slow and easy. Sonoma has been my white whale, and I am sure to be slow as molasses there. My history in four visits has been: rained out, afternoon crash in T4 (adding throttle and lean angle lowside), slow first session front end tuck in the wet in T3, and slow first session front end tuck on a cold track in T3a. I will definitely be trying to break this record, and I will definitely be easing into trying to pick up the pace. Also, all three suits I’ve owned have seen their first falls at Sonoma. Le sigh. Hopefully, no more stupid first sessions for me.



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Old November 9th, 2019, 12:21 AM   #72
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AFM - Round 5 - Sears Point / Sonoma Raceway

Captain Ahab had his white whale. Sisyphus had his boulder. Me? I have Sears Point.

When I first started riding motorcycles, I signed up for a California Superbike School. In the first attempt, we got rained out and rescheduled. In the second attempt, I got through most of the day and even got my knee down in T4. Then I got a little greedy on corner exit and my ambition outweighed my talent. Lost the rear. Lowside. Crash.

A short while later, I went back to Sears Point to cornerwork. It was a cold and wet morning with some standing water on course still. First session out. T3. Tucked the front. Crash.

Then I took a break from motorcycles, moved to the east coast, started riding again, and then moved back to California. This year, I decided to just jump into AFM and see how much I could improve. In preparation, I signed up for an April Z2 day at Sears Point, now Sonoma. It was chilly out, but I thought I should ride as many sessions as possible. I also thought to be smart and get a tow from an instructor. To that end, I was off warmers early, sat on the grid waiting, rode some very slow early laps, and then tried to slowly ramp up the pace that first session. I thought I was at 60% effort entering T3A. Overrode the front. Tucked the front. Crash.

Three days. Three crashes. That brings us to this weekend. Saturday was painfully slow for me. I was incredibly frustrated at my laptimes and how far off pace I was. Sears is shorter and faster than Thunderhill, yet I ended the day slower than my Thill lap times. I was riding stiff and awkwardly, and I was just glad to end the day without a crash. But Saturday night still ended up being a good time hanging out with folks in the paddock. Special thanks to Mark for feeding me. Haha.



Sunday came around and I was signed up for three races. Having gotten my first crash free Sears day ever out of the way, I started to loosen up a little bit. Race 6, I cut 5 seconds off Saturday's time. Race 9, I was about the same. Race 11, one last second off the lap times. Was it slow? Definitely. But did I have fun? Definitely. And most importantly, did I bring my boat back safely to harbor? FINALLY.


Photo cred: Oxymoron Photography
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Old November 9th, 2019, 12:22 AM   #73
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2019 Ė AFM - Round 7 - Thunderhill and season recap

This year and final race weekend of 2019 were a long time in the making. Due to personal commitments, I could only ride on Saturday, but I was determined to get out to Thunderhill and at least get one final Clubman Lightweight race in to end the year.


[Sunrise at Thill]

ďRiding a motorcycle is a completely elective activity. Nobody has to ride a motorcycle. I mean, you do inside, right, but the world doesnít command it of you.Ē Ė Keith Code

Motorcycling was always kind of an abstract idea when I was younger. I knew my Dad did it as his sole means of transportation in Asia when he was younger because a car was too expensive. In college, I decided to take the MSF course and then slowly went through a progression of bikes from Nighthawk 250 to 05 R6 to 07 CBR600RR. As I put on more miles, I did some California Superbike School days, cornerworked for them, and did a few trackdays.

Soon thereafter, came a hiatus for riding as I moved to the East Coast, did graduate school, and started a new job. Finally, after settling in at work, I decided it was time to get back to riding and bought a Ninja 300 and started doing trackdays in earnest to work on my riding. Talking with Dylan Code at a school one day, he just told it like it is, ďIf you want to get faster to go racing, just go racing.Ē I got the bug, did NRS, and did a race weekend with CCS at New Jersey Motorsports Park. I ran decently mid-pack (13th out of 24), and even got a pass on a trackday control rider/instructor I knew.

ďItís faster on the West Coast,Ē said my cousin, an ex-AFMer.

After seven years out east, I found myself wanting to return to California, where all my family is. I took a new job, moved to Orange County, and began anew. I did the last AFM round of 2018 on the Ninja 300 to see how I would go. It was a struggle fighting to not finish dead last, and a lot of fun with safe back and forth passes. I got down to a 2:17 with the 300 at Thunderhill, which Iím sure was faster than I ever was on the 600s. With the new 400s coming, I decided to sell the 300 and run in 450 triples for 2019.

Which all brings us back to this past weekend, completing almost a full rookie season (6 of 7 weekends, though only 5 Sunday rounds). I went into the weekend with the goal of hitting a 2:06. Letís just say the weekend did not start well. One issue I have been working on for forever is front end feel. I donít have it. Haha. I got out on track and was taking it at 80% on the warm up lap, trying to keep heat in the tires. As I headed towards the apex of T14, I lost the front and went for a small slide. Doh. Luckily, the bike suffered only minor damage to the fairings and a bent footpeg. I patched it up with some duct tape and re-teched.


[Not too bad for duct tape...]

Onward to the only race of the weekend for me, Clubman Lightweight. Last time out at Thunderhill, I had gotten down to a 2:08. I was hoping to improve on that, but I wasnít mentally able to push after the morning crash. Clubman and Afemme were gridded together (much better than two waves), so there were 13 of us on the grid, with Clubman in back. I wasnít sure what to expect, but the plan was to try and get through the crowd and stick with whoever got the holeshot. T1 was a bit of a mess as we stacked up on eachother. One rider in Clubman was making quick work cutting through, and I tried to follow. By lap 2, the two of us had cleared the pack and he was off to the races. I could tell by my laptimer that I was only hitting 2:11s, and the gap to the other rider continued to increase. In the end, I just couldnít get there mentally and rode it on home to 2nd in my last clubman race of the year. So I didn't even get back to the 2:08 of last time. Next year though...


[Photo creds to Oxymoron Photography for the great photos all year!]

And with that, it concludes my rookie year. Running my novice year has been an awesome adventure. The 450 class was perfect for me, and I highly recommend the 450 triple R6. Marcus Zarra makes a plug and play harness that is incredibly easy to install. The entire 450 group has been awesome and welcoming to the newcomer.

Major thanks go out to the 450 regulars Owen (extra thanks), Brandon, and Ian for introducing me to everyone and guiding me in my rookie year. And thanks to everyone in the 450s that are too numerous to name.

I will look forward to bringing up the rear of the 450s next year and hope I can cut some more time off to actually get into the main expert pack at some point.
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Old October 13th, 2020, 08:09 PM   #74
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Changes made:
Overall lower body position - This year, I've been hanging off much more aggressively, but it has affected my connection with the bike. Working with the CSS guys, I switched to a less off-seat position, so that I can keep a better lock on the tank with the outside leg. Instead, the focus was to try to get the upper body off the bike a bit more in exchange for the lower body.

i have some questions. how important was your body position change to reducing you lap times?
i ask because i ride slightly crossed up, when i have scooted back and opened my hips into the turn i feel very disconnected from the bike.
if you have seen simon crafor moto vudo vids i ride pretty much like him.
just trying to figure out if its worth pursuing. or look for time elsewhere.
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Old October 15th, 2020, 11:27 PM   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrshooter View Post
i have some questions. how important was your body position change to reducing you lap times?
i ask because i ride slightly crossed up, when i have scooted back and opened my hips into the turn i feel very disconnected from the bike.
if you have seen simon crafor moto vudo vids i ride pretty much like him.
just trying to figure out if its worth pursuing. or look for time elsewhere.
I hate it when people answer me with this, but: It depends.

The post you're quoting was when I was on a Ninja 300. At that time, the lower body position change was absolutely critical, but that is also a by-product of the bike.

At the time, my inside foot position was like Troy Corser and Ken Hill--roughly 45 degrees with the toes of my foot hanging slightly over the end of the peg and the heel on the guard. The low footpegs of the Ninja 300 meant that I was dragging toe nearly at the same time as I was dragging knee. This was really unsettling for me.

Some trackday rider coaches were suggesting that I hang off more to compensate. This was the wrong approach. Instead, Jon Groom and Dylan Code at California Superbike helped me realize that I was giving up lean angle due to the foot angle. By switching my lower body to hang off less and instead adopting the parallel foot position, I was giving myself extra clearance had an increased margin between knee down and dragging anything else. So in the case of the Ninja 300, the body position was critical.

On the R6, which has much higher footpegs, clearance is not an issue. Actually, I have been toying with switching my foot position back to angled from parallel because I have an easier time supporting with my legs when I move my upper body off the bike.

With that all being said, I do not think body position is "that" important, relative to everything else like vision and throttle control. Modern body position will theoretically increase your safety margin as your bike will be more upright for any given situation than a crossed up position. But Mick Doohan would still ride circles around nearly everyone with his crossed-up position.
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Old October 16th, 2020, 06:10 AM   #76
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Originally Posted by Mechanikrazy View Post
I hate it when people answer me with this, but: It depends.

The post you're quoting was when I was on a Ninja 300. At that time, the lower body position change was absolutely critical, but that is also a by-product of the bike.

At the time, my inside foot position was like Troy Corser and Ken Hill--roughly 45 degrees with the toes of my foot hanging slightly over the end of the peg and the heel on the guard. The low footpegs of the Ninja 300 meant that I was dragging toe nearly at the same time as I was dragging knee. This was really unsettling for me.

Some trackday rider coaches were suggesting that I hang off more to compensate. This was the wrong approach. Instead, Jon Groom and Dylan Code at California Superbike helped me realize that I was giving up lean angle due to the foot angle. By switching my lower body to hang off less and instead adopting the parallel foot position, I was giving myself extra clearance had an increased margin between knee down and dragging anything else. So in the case of the Ninja 300, the body position was critical.

On the R6, which has much higher footpegs, clearance is not an issue. Actually, I have been toying with switching my foot position back to angled from parallel because I have an easier time supporting with my legs when I move my upper body off the bike.

With that all being said, I do not think body position is "that" important, relative to everything else like vision and throttle control. Modern body position will theoretically increase your safety margin as your bike will be more upright for any given situation than a crossed up position. But Mick Doohan would still ride circles around nearly everyone with his crossed-up position.
turn 10 and 14 at thill. how are these peeps staying a few inches off the tank so they dont rotate around the tnk at tip in? im seriousy pushed up against the tank under hard braking.
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Old October 16th, 2020, 08:57 AM   #77
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turn 10 and 14 at thill. how are these peeps staying a few inches off the tank so they dont rotate around the tnk at tip in? im seriousy pushed up against the tank under hard braking.
I don't know about others, but I keep both knees on the tank when I get on the brakes. I am definitely not a "hard braker" though, as the fast guys make it look like I am standing still when they come up underneath me into 14 on the brakes. That being said, I pre-position off to the side of the bike and keep both knees in contact when I start braking. This helps prevent me from rotating around. I can't tell for certain right now sitting in a chair, but I think I get the knee out right around tip in.

I think the aggressive knurling on my footpegs (Driven footpegs on the R6) helps also. On the 300, I switched out the oem pegs for PSR pegs, which were more aggressively knurled. While engaging the leg muscles, the knurling helps resist sliding forward.

Are you going to be at the PTT days this weekend? I'll be there on the R6 trying to whittle down the times.
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Old October 16th, 2020, 11:08 AM   #78
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I place one thigh 90-degrees at back of tank. Braking forces help me get upper-body down next to tank.
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Old October 16th, 2020, 03:56 PM   #79
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I don't know about others, but I keep both knees on the tank when I get on the brakes. I am definitely not a "hard braker" though, as the fast guys make it look like I am standing still when they come up underneath me into 14 on the brakes. That being said, I pre-position off to the side of the bike and keep both knees in contact when I start braking. This helps prevent me from rotating around. I can't tell for certain right now sitting in a chair, but I think I get the knee out right around tip in.

I think the aggressive knurling on my footpegs (Driven footpegs on the R6) helps also. On the 300, I switched out the oem pegs for PSR pegs, which were more aggressively knurled. While engaging the leg muscles, the knurling helps resist sliding forward.

Are you going to be at the PTT days this weekend? I'll be there on the R6 trying to whittle down the times.
trying to fanagle my way in, 50/50 chance ill be there.
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Old October 16th, 2020, 06:28 PM   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
I place one thigh 90-degrees at back of tank. Braking forces help me get upper-body down next to tank.
I do the same. Also letís me set my lower body up for the corner much earlier. Personally I think there are a lot of benefits that come from sitting close the tank while corning.
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Motorcycle Safety Foundation

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