Katana of the Month - June 2007 - UPSMAN

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At the Track Some Katana's see track duty. Some owners have multiple bikes. This is the place to chat about track days.

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Old 03-09-2009, 05:09 AM   #1
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Default First Track Day Report - How the Katana went

What an awesome day. Seriously, just first rate. I won't bore you with too many details but the Kat went really well. It was definately the slowest bike out of all the bikes there (60+), but we weren't the slowest by the last session.

I got there early and picked a spot in the pits and introduced myself to the 2 guys next to me. It turned out to be an awesome spot as one guy used to race bikes and it was his son out racing today, and the other was mechanic to maintained a gsxr thou' for his mate who raced, and this was his first track day ever. So I had track tips on one side and mechanical tips on the other.

There were 3 groups - beginners, intermediate and advanced. We were in beginners of course. I looked around at the people in my group and there were 2 guys on CBR600RR's (one street use, one track purpose), a bloke and his missus on matching track purpose R1's, a guy on a Bandit 1250S, a Ninja and some other supersports, mostly track bikes. All up about 20 people in the beginners group, with 15 on purpose built track bikes, tyre warmers, etc etc, the full setup.

We had the riders briefing that covered pretty much everything we needed or wanted to know then it was action time. There were 7 x 20 minute sessions for each group with a 10 min break for lunch for the marshalls etc. In the beginners group there was no passing on the inside of corners from the moment the person in front tips over until the apex. Passing on the outside was fine, and so was on the inside after the apex.

The advanced went first, then the intermediate then us which was great as I got to see how to enter the track and exit into the pits and got 40 mins to settle my nerves.

When it was our turn to go we rolled out of the pits and onto the track, had 2 warm up laps then we were off at full pace. As soon as 2 laps were over pretty much all the bikes that were behind me ended up in front of me. I took the first session very easy. It was frightening to be passed for the first time by these 1000cc monsters at an arms length. It was over all too soon and I was back in the pits.

The second session was much better. I took a slow first lap then worked on closing my braking distance and increasing my speed. I still got hammered by the bigger bikes but I was getting smoother and it wasn't scary any more. The third session was before lunch and I took it a bit harder and pretty much worked out the gears I needed to be in on each corner.

The fourth to the seventh sessions I absolutely hammered my bike. I was riding about 99% of what I could for most of the track. I don't think I could have tried to go faster. I hit the rev limiter at least once per session and I had my bike screaming like a banshee. I was doing 1min 44sec lap times, and the guy next to me (the old racers son in the intermediate group on a CBR600RR) was doing 1min 27secs, so I don't think that's too bad. I ended up passing 3 bikes on my last session of the day, and only got passed 5 or so times by the bigger bikes. One of the guys I passes was one on the CBR600RR on the ouside of turn 3 which had me high fiving myself. I was stoked at how much faster and smoother I was by the end.

Things I learnt (among others)....

These bigger bikes totally ripped me a new one on the front and back straights, but there were some riders there that were pretty awful on corners and I could quite easily catch them up and pass them coming out of the corner and hold them off until the straight again when they'd blast past me. Learning to corner better, learning to brake later, learning to maintain throttle through the corner, and smooth acceleration out of the corner is totally awesome and much more fun than going fast in a straight line.

My Kat did it's job without complaining and performed admirably. It did everything I asked and only faultered when I faultered. It's stock so compared with other bikes there, it is heavy, slow to accelerate, slow to brake and lacking in horses. It was exhausting to muscle it around the track on a 40+ degree celcius day. Before the next track day I'm going to get the jet kit, grind out the headers, install the bandit 600 cams, drop the side stand and centre stand and ditch my exhaust for my racier one. My friend who was at the track asks why bother? I say because I can and I want to.

You've heard it all before - Take it easy. 7 x 20 minue sessions is over 2 hours of mostly full on, bike-and-body punishing riding. Nothing like you do on the road. Take the first lap slow of every session, and take the first session or two slow. You're not missing much. A quarter of the guys there left by lunchtime. It's that full on. The three quiet sessions before lunch and the four full on ones during the afternoon left me wrecked, and I'm happy I did it that way. About a dozen guys ate track in the morning. The ambulance went out twice (although no-one was seriously hurt) and one guys bike ate it big time resulting in a 45 minute wait while they cleaned the track. Funnily enough there were no accidents in the afternoon. Darwin again at his best.

Meanstrk was right about potassium tablets. I didn't take any but got awful cramp in my legs, especially my left which made it hard to shift. Next time I'd take some or some bananas.

So that's about it. I'm sure there's more but I've said enough.
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Last edited by Robgsxf750; 03-09-2009 at 05:22 AM..
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Old 03-09-2009, 05:44 AM   #2
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Excellent write up...

Going out for my 2nd trackday in about a month... Taking the R1 this time instead of the 675 (wife will probably be out there with me on her Daytona)...

I find it interesting that you had so many track only bikes in the beginner's class... Unless the faster classes were packed full of riders...

I'm hoping to do about 3 or 4 trackdays this spring and summer...

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Old 03-09-2009, 05:46 AM   #3
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Sounds and looks like you had a blast.
Can't wait to get my first trackday.
I'm sure it is an awesome learning experience, and heaps of fun
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Old 03-09-2009, 06:34 AM   #4
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I can't wait to have a trackday now. Come on summer!

Originally Posted by jetmerritt View Post
Save up for great gear and dress for the fall before you ride. If you can't afford good quality gear, don't ride. It's like saying you can't afford seat belts for your car. There are just no laws to make gear mandatory.
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Old 03-09-2009, 08:20 AM   #5
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Sounds like a great time, good job bro!
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Old 03-09-2009, 08:54 AM   #6
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You'll learn more about how to handle your bike at one trackday than you will in years riding on the street. Even if you don't pursue racing, or more future trackdays, I recommend everybody do at least one in their lifetime. Glad you had fun
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Old 03-09-2009, 05:26 PM   #7
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Sounds like you had a great time Rob. Good job!!!
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Old 03-09-2009, 05:33 PM   #8
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sounds awesome!! and that track looks pretty cool. nice straight aways to get some high speed going. i wanna do a track day! im jealous!
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Old 03-09-2009, 07:05 PM   #9
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Cool would be Awesome!

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Old 03-09-2009, 07:12 PM   #10
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Awesome write-up and pics! I can not wait to get out on a track!!!
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