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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,
I'm Nik. New here, as I just bought my Fireblade. I've always loved racing, but work in public service, so I can't afford most racing! I have been bitten by the track day/club racing bug! Sucks that I'm 2.5 hours from the nearest track, but it could be worse!

So, I am curious. Is high siding, low siding, getting rear ended by some doofus coming into a corner way too hot just part of it, or do a lot of guys get pretty proficient and fast without crashing? I've crashed a lot in my life. I'm not particularly afraid of it, I am financially stable, and have great insurance! So, I'm not going to shy away from pursuing the sport because I'll likely wad up my bike. I started out with something cheap(actually traded a KTM 525 EXC for it). So, aside from my buying frenzy that has ensued (two jackets, two piece Joe Rocket race leathers, new helmet, front and rear paddock stands, two new tires, a second set of wheels for street tires, gloves, then another pair of gloves, as the first pair weren't gauntlet gloves, gear bag, boots, db killer for track sound rules, etc. .) I don't really have much cash wrapped up into it all YET! I picked up a CBR954RR. Then, really started reading/listening/watching a lot, only to realize that I don't want to be "that guy" on a liter bike that CREEPS into corners! So, I am going to start looking into getting something that will be a better track bike, like a Daytona 675, R6 or 600RR. Unless I just absolutely love the 954RR on the track, I suppose!?

Anyway, cheap bike, not much money... I digress. So, is crashing just part of it? I'm assuming that it is. I'm a little nervous, as at 38 years old, with previously broken shoulders, hands, feet, ribs and sternum, I don't bounce as well as I used to! I understand that if you go out and hang it all out there, with no training, on a big bike, you're likely going to high side!! I want to have a technical approach, with lots of instruction. How frequently should I anticipate crashes, and to what severity? What's the "norm", I guess I'm asking? Are most track accidents a "dust yourself off, bend some stuff back into shape, then get back after it"? Or are most an expensive ambulance ride, and a couple grand to get your junk track worthy again?

My goals are to get to a level at which I can participate in club level racing. I have already signed up for my first track day. I'm sure that it will be a long path, but I'm super pumped!

Thanks for entertaining this "noob"!!! 馃槵
 

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Discussion Starter #2
FWIW, I am not a total newbie to riding. I've ridden motorcycles since I was 12 years old. But, new to track riding. I was more curious about generalities, and the experience of others.
 

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Hi Nik, I too wanted to get into the track scene, but never had the opportunity to until I was 46. I got my dream track bike (a crashed carbed 900RR) and had to bring it back from the grave. I ended up gutting the wire harness and making it track only. No competition for me at this age, I鈥檓 just happy to not have to avoid oncoming traffic and animals lol. I鈥檓 not fast at all, and don鈥檛 particularly care to be, as long as each time I鈥檓 out I don鈥檛 crash and have a smile on my face. It costs money at any level though. That鈥檚 another deterrent for me. A 2 day $450 track day plus travel and other expenses added up quick for me. So I accept that maybe 2 a year is what I can expect. The bike is awesome. Big, heavy (relatively speaking) and powerful. I have. Q3+鈥檚 on them which for me are awesome. I can鈥檛 lose time at work for broken bones, and at my age recovery I would expect would be even longer.

As far as other riders plowing into you or you plowing into them, it kinda depends on where you start out. I did a couple track days with the Penguin School here in the northeast where I was able to go out and run my own pace with similarly inexperienced (new to track) riders. Moved up to the next group at the next outing and had a great time. With the same racing school at a different track I was in what I thought was the same group of riders but learned that there was a more wide range of riders. In the end, I rode my pace (slow) and paid no attention to who was behind me. It was a great experience each time. When you get into competition it鈥檚 different, but that鈥檚 the beauty of it.

I don鈥檛 believe crashing is a rite of passage. In over 30 years of street riding I鈥檝e come off the bike once, in a parking lot on a KTM65sx that lost the front on a swath of sealant filling a crack. I don鈥檛 want to crash, 1 because it will hurt lol, and 2 because I can鈥檛 afford to rebuild the bike if it cartwheels. I guess you get out of it what you put in it.
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Discussion Starter #4
IanDoohan,
Thank you for your thoughtful and thorough response. I appreciate it! You've got me thinking that I may just end up happy, at least for a good while, with my '03 CBR954RR. I'll go check out your build thread for your bike. I've been eyeballing the Hot Bodies race fairing kit for my bike, but need to slow my roll and just ease into it a bit. It's hard for me to wait for the next track day, so that means that I start buying parts and "stuff" that I don't really need. I'd rather invest that money into riding.

Only 17 more days to wait, but at least there's a 4 day trip to Disneyland in there, so it'll fly by! I'm gonna try to ride at one track day a month, and see how that goes.

I've already been shopping for a box trailer to haul bikes in. Even been discussing the possibility of helping my 18 year old son purchase a bike, and get him riding on the track, as well. I don't particularly want him riding on the street, but if putting him on a track helps him channel some of his "18-year-old-ness", it may not be a bad idea. Would be good bonding, too. I was thinking of something to the effect of an RC390, or Ninja 400, etc. for him. Maybe a 600!? Anyway, I've been doing a ton of reading, watching tons of video, and listening to Ken Hill's podcast. It's been information overload, for sure. Lots of info!
 

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The 400's are a super cool and up and coming class. Even for you, you might even find yourself going faster on one, but the 954 is a helluva track bike. Get your suspension sorted, and put good tires on. You should find the Q3+'s are a fantastic deal and stick like glue. There is a huge learning curve for track guys to be fast. Like I said, I don't care how fast I am or get. The rush of being open and free on a track is amazing. I love it.........as long as I stay healthy at it and the bike doesn't break lol.

Keep a level head and you'll do fine. And your son will learn from you, and then pass you like you're standing still 馃槈
 

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Hi.

I have done around 12 Track days in my life and started with a 96 Fireblade and then a 00 Fireblade. Now bought a 954 that i will use mostly for Track Days to.
When i started riding Track days i went to slow group first and then worked my way up and did reach fast group after 6-7 Track days.
Best way is to start slow and ask if there are any good instructor on Track that can show you lines on track that will make you so much faster and days will be more fun.

My first Track day will be 15 May this year and i am looking forward to start of season then.
 

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Not sure a 'badge of honour' is an apt label.

Crashes (on track) are inevitable when chasing and establishing limits. Speed and times in a race are bettered by higher corner speed and that can only be done by assessing maximum lean angles to find the limit. Obviously, we will only learn that limit by a slide or the unfortunate crash.

On a track day, one can and might ride more conservatively with prospective injury and bike repairs as a safety net. In a race though, all that is cast aside and only winning is the goal. And therein lies risk!
 

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A 400cc for the lad is a good idea, you might want a try on it yourself , believe it or not they can get into and out of bends on some tracks quicker than the big bikes ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Not sure a 'badge of honour' is an apt label...
As soon as I posted that, I realized that "rite of passage" would have better stated what I was wanting to know. Just wondering how neccessary they are, to get respectably fast. Im certainly not looking for a career change, or sponsorships. Just thought that Club level racing would be a lot of fun!
 

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Started doing track days in 1999 (at age 38) and finally gave up the track in 2012 after about 60 track days. Got hooked doing a Keith Code school in 1999. Did the Freddie Spencer school 3 times in the early 2000's. Did the Jason Pridmore school 3 times in the mid 2000's. Every school day included a crash by someone. In fact, at Keith Code (at my very first track experience) someone crashed in every single session I was in. At Jason Pridmore I asked James Lickwar (one of the instructors) how he felt about student crashes, his answer "you get used to it, someone crashes at every school, you just have to accept it".

I bought a 2000 929 specifically for track days. The 929 got high sided at a track day in September 2002 and was totally destroyed. I was laid off the day before and was seriously considering skipping this day even though it was all paid for in advance. My advice, if you're not 100% focused on the ride, take the day off.

The 929 was insured and gave me enough money to buy a 954 (which I still have and ride regularly). I also bought a 2003 ZX636 the following Spring for the track. The 636 had about 10,000 track miles on it when I sold it. It never went down.

I don't think crashing at the track is any kind of right of passage, but it does happen. You have to accept it as a possibility if you want to go to the track. That advice is for someone who's only goal is to use the track to improve their riding.

If you want to become a professional racer, find someone to sponsor you. You will crash pushing the bike to the limits.
 

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The best advise I can give is to ride at your comfort level to remain relaxed. If something does not feel right, call it a day. The two time I crashed at the track, the signs were there to call it a day and I kept pushing. You can go many years riding track without crashing or you can crash at every outing. You can get hurt the first time you crash or you can crash many time and never get hurt. No one can answer what you are really asking. All we can do is give you advise from experience. And with that only you know what kind of person you are with the learning curves. Some people grasp things fast and can be at a high level very quickly without putting their wellbeing in jeopardy, while another person would put their wellbeing at jeopardy to be at that same level. Here are some things I learned from track days that made the day a good one:

1) Make sure you are having fun. If you are not having fun then you are likely frustrated or annoyed and will not be focused on what you are doing. This can lead to a crash
2) Make sure your bike is sound. A subpar bike can lead to a crash
3) If you start getting nervous at your pace, slow down or bring it in, it's not a race. You need to remain relaxed
4) Take care of yourself. Keep hydrated, eat, and stay out of the inclement weather, being sun or rain
5) analyze YouTube videos and maps of the track. Knowing what the next turn is, allows you to be more relaxed
6) speak with everyone. People are a wealth of knowledge
7) Bring tools. A simple tool kit will save you a lot of anxiety if you have an issue
8) Try to bring a friend. This promotes the having fun thing which keeps you relaxed
9) Until being competitive is the fun, don't get sucked into it, you'll likely just end up riding over your ability.

There are many other technique and stuff I can discuss but the moral of my post is just promoting having fun and being relaxed. With that, I feel whatever direction you go with riding track will have everything else fall into place.

Following guidelines are easier said then done. The two crashes I had could have been avoided. My first crash after two years of track riding was a blown engine. The bike didn't feel right, it felt slow but I kept pushing to go faster and the engine blew up on me which lead to a high-side and a broken collar bone. The Second crash was over a year later. That was the first time being back from the crash and I just finished building my new bike. I was slow and I tried to push to get back to where I was and ended up losing the front on a corner. No damage to me but the bike took a good licking. That was 2018 and I have not gone to the track since due to other financial responsibilities. I hope to start again this year but if I do, I'm going back to just having fun and enjoying the day while staying relaxed
 

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The best advise I can give is to ride at your comfort level to remain relaxed. If something does not feel right, call it a day. The two time I crashed at the track, the signs were there to call it a day and I kept pushing. You can go many years riding track without crashing or you can crash at every outing. You can get hurt the first time you crash or you can crash many time and never get hurt. No one can answer what you are really asking. All we can do is give you advise from experience. And with that only you know what kind of person you are with the learning curves. Some people grasp things fast and can be at a high level very quickly without putting their wellbeing in jeopardy, while another person would put their wellbeing at jeopardy to be at that same level. Here are some things I learned from track days that made the day a good one:

1) Make sure you are having fun. If you are not having fun then you are likely frustrated or annoyed and will not be focused on what you are doing. This can lead to a crash
2) Make sure your bike is sound. A subpar bike can lead to a crash
3) If you start getting nervous at your pace, slow down or bring it in, it's not a race. You need to remain relaxed
4) Take care of yourself. Keep hydrated, eat, and stay out of the inclement weather, being sun or rain
5) analyze YouTube videos and maps of the track. Knowing what the next turn is, allows you to be more relaxed
6) speak with everyone. People are a wealth of knowledge
7) Bring tools. A simple tool kit will save you a lot of anxiety if you have an issue
8) Try to bring a friend. This promotes the having fun thing which keeps you relaxed
9) Until being competitive is the fun, don't get sucked into it, you'll likely just end up riding over your ability.

There are many other technique and stuff I can discuss but the moral of my post is just promoting having fun and being relaxed. With that, I feel whatever direction you go with riding track will have everything else fall into place.

Following guidelines are easier said then done. The two crashes I had could have been avoided. My first crash after two years of track riding was a blown engine. The bike didn't feel right, it felt slow but I kept pushing to go faster and the engine blew up on me which lead to a high-side and a broken collar bone. The Second crash was over a year later. That was the first time being back from the crash and I just finished building my new bike. I was slow and I tried to push to get back to where I was and ended up losing the front on a corner. No damage to me but the bike took a good licking. That was 2018 and I have not gone to the track since due to other financial responsibilities. I hope to start again this year but if I do, I'm going back to just having fun and enjoying the day while staying relaxed

Lets go to NYST or Loudon kid! You can follow me around, I'm slow af 馃槃
 

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I'd love to go to NYST with you Ian... Let me know when you're planning to think about going and I'll try to work around it. I'd prefer a Sunday though...
 

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I'd love to go to NYST with you Ian... Let me know when you're planning to think about going and I'll try to work around it. I'd prefer a Sunday though...
I'll be looking into dates soon brotha, I'll certainly let you know. I'm hoping for at least one track day this year. I hope all is well with you and your family (y)
 
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