My Phillip Island track day.
What can I say?! What an awesome day and an experience to last a lifetime!! Been to Phillip island a couple times as a spectator and it was great, but of course it was so much better on the other side of the fence!!
The day was well organised, and sign in went smooth as silk. Bike passed scrutineering with flying colours except the chain was a bit tight apparently so just tweaked that down a bit and got my sticker. "First track day?" "Yeah mate". "New tyres eh? Got tyre warmers?" "Nah is that a problem?" Nervousness kicks in... "Nah just take it easy in your first session and a few laps to warm up in the rest you'll be fine. Enjoy!" Phew!!
Started the day with 6 other riders in my pit garage, 2 of which were in my group. One on a BMW S1000rr and the other on a Ducati Panigale. The rider briefing was brief and then the beginners talk also over quick. What they do is you go out in your group for a cruise lap in single file then have at it.
Was a bit of a pain having to show your wrist tags each time. Meant having to leave your left glove off until the last minute. It was quite surreal those first few laps, and the very first thing I noticed was how bumpy it was on the outside of turn 1. No running wide there!! The rest of the track was like a baby's bottom. Beautiful. There was only 2 guys out of maybe 25 in my group that weren't faster than me, so a lot of people were passing me, especially in the first few laps. That's the disadvantage of no tyre warmers I guess.
The guy on the panigale stacked it on the second lap in the first session along with someone on a late model gixxer. In fact by the end of the day, 3 riders from my garage crashed in their first sessions, and two packed up and left then and there. The panigale guy taped up the cracks and kept at it.
The tyres worked great and felt so grippy by second lap out. Was pretty cautious in my first session but I really enjoyed it besides.
So quickly it was over and in we go. Refuelled, checked tyre wear, toilet and drink and it was back into it. Second time out I set my best time for the day, 2:09.5. After that was pretty consistent around 2:10-2:12's but I still felt like I was going fast as I dared. I'd really like to do this some more but not on my pride and joy lol. Had one moment in Siberia on my 4th session, running in too hot and the edge of the track came up fast but I stopped looking where I was going and looked where I wanted to go and made it around with my heart in my mouth. Ran some other guy wide too, must have been trying to pass at that spot too.
Scraped my toe-slider couple of times but didn't get my knee down. No chicken strips on the rear though, must need to hang off more. Favourite corners were Stoner corner (160 fastest speed through there then hard on the brakes with the tail wagging!!) and the final turn had so much grip, shaped like a bowl it pushes the bike down for more grip than I could use.
In the final session, after 3 laps, the rear started to feel real loose, almost like a puncture and all my confidence went. It started at Honda hairpin and got worse at southern loop. I tiptoed over Siberia and she wobbled all the way through the final hairpin. I pulled straight in and checked my rear and it was showing a real weird wear line on the outsides. I'm just glad it didn't put me down the track!!
What a great day it was!!
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