Lessons Learned from Motorcycle Riding
It is half a year since I have started practicing on a racing track. Here I would like to sum up my experience, mistakes I made and advices I got.
In essence a good line helps to open throttle early and on 100%. You can do it safely if a bike is in up straight position. Also, every racing track is curvy, so the goal is to find straight lines there.
On a straight line you should be going wide i.e. use the whole track width, so you will have more space to turn and therefore carry more cornering speed.
You should have a clear plan of what you be doing next. Keep you vision one step ahead and look inside a turn.
Preposition a body for a turn:
- move one buttock off the seat inside the turn
- straighten your upper body and arms
- move your inside foot so toes would turn outwards and the heel is up pressing itself to the frame; it helps to move a leg on hang-off
and use trail braking technique:
- start braking later
- you should finish most of braking on a “straight bike” position
- move to a turning point and gradually lean your upper body forward as decreasing break pressure and hang-off
- drop inside elbow, so your upper body follows it
- keep looking inside a turn to reduce a sense of speed, force your vision not to narrow down.
Seat as it is most natural for you, relax and try to reduce tension, otherwise you will get tired soon. Do not think too much about body position while riding. It should feel natural and “your style”.
If there are several turns into the same side — keep your lower body down.
I did not get close enough to an apex and/or wide enter/exit a turn, hence I couldn’t make a straight line afterwards.
Early braking lead to losing of cornering speed. Early leaning was disadvantageous, as well. Instead I should have gone deeper inside a turn without leaning much.
Getting tired quickly because of extra tension, unnecessary body movements is a mistake too. For example, there is no need to return to a center riding position after a turn if you can move to another leaning side directly as in S-turn.
Extra line change was redundant and costed time, I should have been going as straight as possible.
There could be such thing as trying too hard to apply all cool racing techniques and forgetting about having fun. Every rider has its own style, so take it easy and find out what works for you. Think about smooth braking and accelerating, being on the line and relaxed. Slow in — fast out.
In some turns it might feel slow in the middle of a turn but it is needed to sacrifice speed to prepare for a longer straight line.
In August 2015, I participated in Racing Project Academy with Gino Rea. He had inspired everyone, shared his experience both on blackboard and on track. My best lap time was 58 seconds on that day and I reduced it to 52.57 recently.
Here are a few video tips from Gino Rea at the Racing Project Academy.
Update: My first race went well — third place in 1000cc class (beginners).