Re: Going faster at the track
When you are first learning, do your braking early and don't worry too much about it. It is a big impediment to early progress if you try to worry about hard braking before you get your corner entry speed handled. First, practice setting your corner entry speed well before the corner, and then holding it steady. Some of my best gains in lap time came not from charging the corner, but from easing down to my corner entry speed more gently. I took 30mph of my top straightaway speed, and actually dropped my lap times by a couple of seconds. Later, I was able to put the whole package together and go both for highest straightaway speed, and maximum braking at the end. But you may find that is not the best idea if you really want to improve at the fastest pace.
This drill gives you a greater awareness of exactly what speed you are comfortable with when tipping it in. When you are doing hard braking, your speed changes (downward) so rapidly that you can easily fool yourself into thinking that you are going much faster than you are, because 20 feet ago, you were going much faster, but your brain hasn't yet caught up with the change.
Later, you can work on braking harder and later and work that into your plan. You will probably find it is a lot less scary to brake harder and later when you do the above drill first. You will probably need to give it a few days at least before you start braking super hard. Everyone is different though. Some people are far slower or quicker to pick up the speed judgment than others. Don't despair though, even slow starters can be very good track riders.
Some people use reference markers and other judge more by the speed and looking at (and through) the whole turn than at the markers. If one way doesn't feel good, try the other.
To go faster, it is about flow. Every input must be smooth as glass. Getting on the brakes smoothly, getting off of them smoothly, hitting the gas, gradually, smoothly. If you are anything less than smooth, it will upset the bike in a hurry. When you start to gain speed, smoothness becomes more and more important. You mistakes must get smaller and smaller as you go faster and faster. That is just a fact with track riding . If you can't go at your current pace without doing everything super smooth, you are not quite ready to go much faster.
You can indeed just go faster before you have mastered being smooth at your current speed, but you generally can't keep it up without putting yourself on the ground. You simply have to polish up your act to prepare yourself first.
One of the best general tips is to keep your eyes up and way out in front of the bike. That slows everything down, and helps keep you calm and more relaxed. It is often a street rider's habit to look at the road surface to make sure there are no pot holes or debris. The track is different. Your attention is far better spent looking far ahead.
Last edited by Zippy; 10-08-2007 at 5:38 PM.