Thunderhill track day
Hey guys, just thought I'd tell you about my first track day on my RC51. Two of my good friends and I went to Thunderhill, outside of Willows CA. Since it was my first time, I was nervous, but stoked. Gonna keep it calm, learn my way around, watch other riders, and just learn the track. That was the plan.
Safety meeting and registration. Talked about the right tool for the job and discouraged street tires. Even the so called street/track tires. I took heed of that, but I ran my Q2's anyway.
First session, I missed. Late registering, had to loosen my chain and a couple other adjustments for Inspection. No worries. B and A group were combined so my C group was up for 2nd session quick enough.
So I lined up in the back of pit lane and let most everyone go out first.
Turn one- stay clear to the right, turn 2 start getting a little speed and watching the lines of a couple guys in front of me. It's 180 degree turn so takes a bit to get thru it. A couple more left and rights, and then Turn 5 is a hard apex at the lip of a little hill, then it drops down to the right into a semi gentle sweeper. Nothing like the corkscrew at Leguna Seca, but you get the picture.
Then 6, 7 and 8 - very fast! 4th and 5th gear. I'm not sure how fast but over 100 mph. Turn 10 and 11 are fun too, 10 is mild-short straight then 11 tightens up. The straight stretch coming to the finish line and on into turn 1 is long. I hit 130 a couple times later on.
I got to do 5 sessions. Second session, I asked an instructor to let me follow him around the track for 2 laps. We did, then he had me pull over in pit lane, and ride 2-up with him. HolyShit!!! I about soiled myself the first lap, but the second lap I was able to take in some tof the things he was doing, namely how late you can brake. Then he dropped me back off at my bike and finished the session feeling pretty good about coming back out for the next sessions. My 3rd and 4th were so phenomenal! I was picking up speed more and more, and getting comfortable with the brake and shifting markers I was learning, and I think I was hanging off a decent amount when appropriate.
Then Session 5. It's pretty hot now, 90F degrees outside so the track was pretty warm. I'm guessing maybe 130 or so? Maybe more. Warmed up the tires on the first lap, started pushing a little faster, and trying to learn turns 10 and 11 better. It's easy to go wide. Anyway, I'm in the apex of turn 11, nuetral throttle, just getting ready to accelerate a tiny bit out of the apex, had a lot of lean, and BAM - front washes out! My bike lowsides and I was already close to the ground so I didn't drop very far and hit the track on my left side and rolled on my back. The bike and me skidded into the gravel. That was quite a sensation. I guess I slid for about 25 feet or so, half on the track and half on the gravel.
So I did what they said that morning in the safety meeting - leave the bike and get away from the track until an instructor comes around. He did pretty quick, and of course there were yellow flags. We checked out my bike, it was operational and it started ok, so I rode it back to the pit.
That was around 2;30pm., I pretty much just chilled for a while, gathered my thoughts and then went and filed the accident form. I got a lot of good conversation from some of the crew at PTT about how and what happened.
In the end, I think I had the wrong tires for those conditions and possibly they were heat-cycled out and just gave out on me. I also think I don't have enough experience to know the tell-tale signs of the tires were getting sketchy.
From now on I will only run track tires at the track. Not going to take that chance again.