Track Day!

Photo Album
March 4th, 2007

Friday I happened to spot a thread on the Colorado Sportbike Forums inviting people to go to the track at IMI in Erie Co. I was surprised to find there was a track and immediately posted that I wanted to go. Saturday, I replaced the oil and filter, replaced the plugs and checked out the air filter.

Sunday at 1am I had some work to do that took 2.5 hours to get done (Daylight Savings Time patching). I got to bed at 3:30am or so and set my alarm to 9:30 since we were to meet at 11am. I grabbed a bagel and headed on up to the track getting there at about 10 of. Jen and Cathy were in front of me at the gate and we waved. Since I only had a credit card, I went into the office to pay. $35.00 entrance fee. Apparently they'd raised the rates because they were repaving the road track soon.

Once I got that all straightened out, I headed over to the parking area (the white line to the right of the track in the picture) to chat with two of the CSC crew, Jen (sky_blue) on a yellow Suzuki GS500 and Cathy (mtnairlover) on a Kawasaki Z750S. We headed into the office to see what we needed to do to get on the track, anything we should know. The guy behind the counter said nope so we headed back to the bikes.

Then Dave (Bueller) came over and offered some advise. Be careful of cold tires and cold track. Take it easy until you're comfortable with the track. He said that we should remove or fold back the mirrors. You should not be concerned about the folks behind you. Just the ones in front. The folks behind will be able to take the right line as long as they can anticipate where you're going. And he also suggested dropping the air pressure in the tires to 31 psi.

We thanked him for the sage advise and started in on the suggestions. Cathy's air guage popped its cork so she borrowed mine. Jen borrowed my hex wrench so she could remove her mirrors. Cathy folded her mirrors down. I tried that but I would hit my hands on the mirrors so I just turned them down so I wouldn't see anything. And we were ready to head out.

Cathy, Jen's bike and me

Prior to coming up, I mounted the Sony Handycam to the bike. I'd hunted for the Sony accessory cable so I could just run it all day, or as long as I had tape but no such luck and the battery only lasts for about 90 minutes. There was some pixelation, due to the harder acceleration but I was able to extract a 2:18 minute run (7 megs) and a 7:56 minute run (23 megs).

Jen saddled up and left just before I did so I followed her out to the track. She'd been on a track before so she had more experience. I was close behind her at the beginning but she slowly pulled away from me. I'm not racing so no big deal. I kept to my own pace but at the inside left turn (see the big dark patch on the photo) she cut it a little short, stood the bike up and tried to run into the dirt. Apparently she was still a little leaned over becase when she hit the soft dirt, the bike lowsided hitting the top of the fairing on the asphalt.

A little fairing rash

Cracks in the fairing

She said there are broken tabs and the supports for the fairing are a tad tweaked ("nothing that can't be fixed with epoxy and a hammer"). I stopped to make sure she was ok (I didn't see the crash, just the bike sideways on the dirt). She shook it off and we 1-2-3'd her bike standing again. I helped push it out of the dirt and back on to the track (watching for traffic the whole time). She tried to start it a couple of times (flooded) and then it lit up. She paused for a moment to get her breath and check out the bike and she headed back to the parking area to settle down and get over the shakes.

When I finally got back to the parking area (I took another lap or two) I talked about how light my throttle is and that I'd like to bring Rita's Ninja 250 out and give it a try and then Jen offered to let me ride hers around the track. After some hesitation I took her up on the offer and of course offered mine if she wanted to give it a nice run around the track. She admitted she'd like to try it but only around the parking lot, and maybe later.

When I got on hers, I found it felt a lot like Rita's. The pegs were a little higher but I think it's because they are the stock ones with the big rubber bits on it. I took about half a lap pretty easily and steadily wicked it up. One problem with it was the seat. On the Hayabusa, the seat's slick so I can move my butt around pretty easily but her seat was rougher making it harder to slide. I had to lift up a little to get to either side of the bike. I made a few laps with the group standing at the barricade watching as I went by which was cool. Then I finally brought it in. Nice ride for the track. I had to keep it up to 6 or 8 thousand for it to be powerful enough.

Coming around the corner on the GS

I made the comment to Dirk (dirkterrell) that the throttle was much nicer on Jen's bike and he suggested I should try running in second gear instead of first. I tried that on my next runs and it made a big difference. The laps were much better and I was able to concentrate on my lines instead of feathering the throttle.

I really enjoyed making the loop after that.

I spotted Jen taking pics and flashed a peace sign

Coming around the final curve

After making a pit stop, I was standing around and spotted my rear tire.

No chicken strip! This is the best I've been able to do.

Cathy's chicken strip

Jen's chicken strip

At the end of the day (I stuck around until 3pm), I'd mentioned that one of the problems with Jen's seat was it wasn't slick like the 'busa seat. I can slide around on my seat but I had to pick myself up to shift on hers. Jen hopped on the 'busa and decided she wanted to try it around the lot and if she was comfortable, maybe a lap on the track. She said she'd pay for any repairs if she dropped it. I said she'd have pay for bent parts but rashing the plastic wasn't going to be a big issue to me. She started it and gave me a big grin. She has the 500 so 1300 was pretty powerful, but no problem, says I and I snapped a pic.

Jen tippy-toeing the 'busa

Once around the parking lot then out to the track

That's where the patch is

As she came around the end of the track, she flashed a thumbs up and a grin you could see through the helmet and she took it around the track one more time.

And in to the parking area. When she got off the 'busa, she danced a little jig. She really enjoyed riding it. It might have spoiled riding the GS for her :D
ll in all, I really enjoyed my first track day. I look forward to others and even a trip to Pueblo.