Track Walks

I know I have been on a Loretta Lynn’s kick, but this is probably my favorite time of year.  All of the hype around the track about who is looking fast….and who isn’t makes good racing.  For that reason, going to a track you have never been to can be pretty nerve racking.  Some people travel to a track for the area qualifier and never go there again.  Preparing the motor home and the bikes are essential, but when it comes to the new track, things tend to be rushed.  That is why it is so important to walk the track.

One of the first things I notice about a track is the soil.  Is it tacky, loose, loam or hardpacked?  This can play a huge role when the track gets rough and dried out.  Also, some spots maybe wetter than others; this shows you good lines in the morning, but not so much for the afternoon.  Finding the best dirt for optimum traction will be important.

Going along the idea of soil, a good idea is to think about it track deterioration.  Softer tracks are obviously going to have more ruts and the jumps will become chewed up.  The turns will have bigger braking bumps than a harder soil.  This can help you choose your lines more carefully.  Sometimes, you will get corners where the outside might get blown out and you will have to take the inside.  The same goes for jumps.  If you see the faces are harder than the rest of the track, you may get lucky and have smoother jump faces.  While you are walking the track, you should be able to size up what you can and can’t do.  This will save you time during practice and help you concentrate on the more important parts, like corners.

One final thing to remember is passing options.  If a track looks pretty one lined, you should be concentrating on getting a good start.  However, if the track flows well and there is plenty of options for passing, talk it over with a friend or family member.  My dad and I would always walk the track and discuss situations and line selection.  When you get through practice, you will get a better idea of which lines are worth sticking to and which could be your back up lines.

If you don’t have an opportunity to walk to the track, watching the practice sessions before you will help.  Watching the faster groups will give you an idea of what lines the locals and/or experts use.  I would always try to get to the front of the line for practice.  That way, I could go at my own pace and who ever passed me would just go around.  This leaves the slower riders behind you and you can focus on learning the track.

Posted on Mar 03 2010, under Riding Techniques | No Comments »

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