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Shane - Superlite (#43)

The Trackday for Trackday Junkies

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So I decided to get my arse back onto the race track and try and get back the skills, knowledge and feel I'd lost from not riding regularly.

First problem was getting a bike. After a bit of thinking and a couple of phone calls I asked Paul if I could hire/rent/whatever his 05 CBR600RR race bike for the day. He refused any payment for me using the bike for the day with the only condition being the standard you break it you fix/bought it. No problem with that at all as I wouldn't dream of borrowing someone elses bike if I wasn't prepared to replace it should the worst happen.

Second problem is the bike had been sitting in a shed getting covered in dust and crap since Paeroa 2008 - over 13 months. So it definitely needed some attention. New fluids, tyres, the brakes looked at and the chain de-rusted. So I hit up a mate who works for Mobil for some oil and brake fluid (decided not to change the fork fluid cos that was going to be too much of a mission and I knew I wouldn't be going fast enough by the end of the track day to need the extra control it gives) and he got it for me at a sweet price. Under $50.00 inc GST for a 4 litre of Mobil 1!!

I took the goodies out to Jonno's and wheeled the bike out of the shed. Poor bugger couldn't help himself, he just couldn't stay away from fiddling with bikes and jumped right in to help me get shit done. I could see he missed getting covered in oil, grease and dirt from messing around with bikes. Hopefully things will sort themselves out soon and he'll be able to get back to the business of riding bikes. So we change the engine oil and filter, change the brake pads for a new set Jonno had lying around, clean up the brake pistons, completely change the brake fluid and bleed the brakes. The chain was in a suprisingly good state as Jonno only had some chain wax left last time he looked at the bike in Paeroa so it'd come through amazingly well with very little rust. We did the dodgy and just used CRC to clean the chain while the engine was spinning the rear wheel. It'd be fine as long as we left the engine running and made sure all of the CRC spun off and didn't hang around to eat the o rings. After drying it off I threw more chain wax at it cos that was all I had left too!!

After a general going over and a couple of quick trips up the road to make sure everything was fine we wandered inside for some dinner and beers. We'd decided that Jonno would change the tyres sometime during the week as he didn't have a suitable attachment for the compressor.

Monday night before the track day I turn up with Brandon and his ute to pick up the bike and we find it up on stands with 1 wheel off and no Jonno in sight. So no surprise at all there!! Seeing as he'd seen fit to take the front wheel off we couldn't even tie the bike down on the back of the ute so Brandon and I got our heads down and finished off changing the tyre over. We had to shoot off to the servo to pump up the tyre. Got back and started on the rear when Jonno pulls up. Seeing as we'd already done the front he rips into the rear wheel and gets it sorted in record time. We don't bother pumping the rear up cos we won't be tying the rear end down hard like we will be with the front. So we load it up on the ute, grab the stands and tyre warmers and various bits and pieces and head off.

Brandon picks me up at about 7:15am and we point the trusty old ute towards Taupo. On the outskirts of Taupo we stopped to gas up and put some air in the rear tyre. It was a bit stubborn and I had to put 60lbs in twice but it still only popped on 1 side. Pumped it up to the desired pressure and then put water from the wind screen washing bucket around it. There weren't any bubbles forming so we figured it was on the bead even though there was only 1 pop.

We decided we'd get there at 9:30am as that's when people would be allowed on track. We'd been talking to a few people and knew the patches and Eddie's oil spill were slippery in the morning cold so we thought we'd let everyone else go out first, do a session while we sorted the last bits and pieces with the CBR (difficult to know you've done everything up when it's dark), let the tyre warmers bring the rubber up to temp and by the that time the track would be warmer and we'd have a very good idea of the condition. By the time I'd finished pissing around and had the warmers on long enough it was 11:15!! That was later than I'd planned for the first session but Frosty said we could stay out until 5:00pm so we still had over 5.5 hours.

The first session was definitely the most difficult. I hadn't been on the track for so long it almost felt like a scary place to be (but of course it isn't it's easily the safest place to be if you're getting back on a bike from a spell away), I hadn't ridden that bike before so the suspension was nowhere near suiting me and it was understeering through the middle and exit of corners, I didn't know where all of the repairs and oil were and I was definitely just going to ease myself back into it. Talk about wobbling around.

After a bunch of slow laps I came in and talked to Chris Osbourne as the bike was understeering and wouldn't hold a line. After some fiddling with the suspension, plenty to drink and something to nibble on to keep my energy up it was back out for session number 2. The bike was much better and after a few laps I nipped in and adjusted the suspension somemore. Back out and I miss judge how much of a difference the change would make, understeering out of turn 4 straight onto the outside ripple strip. Seeing as I had no idea if they were slippery etc I just stood it up and rolled into the kitty litter. After extracting the bike from the sand pit (that shit is deep and bloody difficult to get out of even when the bike hasn't gone down) I did a few more laps to get a better idea of what the adjustments had done then head back in.

More talking to Chris and more fiddling and I find out I'm out of adjustment on the hydraulic preload adjuster. Bugger. Not pulling the shock out to adjust the collars to get the hydraulic adjuster somemore gain so it's fiddle with other stuff to try and compensate. Back out again and I'm starting to feel comfortable. The bikes still understeering a little but nowhere near as much as earlier.

Somemore adjustments and more laps, rinse and repeat a few times and the bike is as good as it's going to get for me. I tell Scracha he can take it out for a few laps under the same conditions I'm riding the bike, ie break it ... bought it. He contemplates things for about 5 seconds and grabs his helmet. He's out there and straight into it, lapping faster than I have all day. He chases after Brandon's Pro Twin SV and eventually works his way past. I figure he'll come in once he's past Brandon but the bastard goes around again. If he does anymore laps I'm waving the chequered flag at him, but he decides he'd better come in before I get pissed off and hands it over. Not surprisingly there's no understeering for the skinny bugger. He's at least 20kgs lighter than me and he reckons the front end is set up for a fat bastard. Cheers mate.

So I'm out for what I decide will be my last session as it's getting close to 4:30. I figure I'll stay out as long as I feel I can and see how I go. I start clocking up laps and see Frosty in the distance on Clive's new toy and gradually reel him in as he's just cruising and waiting for me to catch up. He lets me past and prepares to chase me. However, just when I think I'll wick it up a bit I head into turn one and at the exit there's a bright red bike and body lying in the middle of the track. Shit. Shit. Shit. I pull up and run over to him, telling him to stay lying down and don't move. It was Xan. He got some serious sideways action before the bike hooked up and spat him out the top. He landed on his face and slide down the track like on his head. The ambo rushed over and started checking him out. Typical of someone in lala land he was trying to sit up and looking around for his bike and doing everything except what he was being told to do. Luckily they didn't find anything major wrong. However, after that I'd pretty much decided that was it for the day and so had everyone else so I cruised back to the pits.

I give Xan a bunch of advice about what to look out for after a concussion and give him kiwifuit's number just in case he can't make it home. We hit the road, BK for dinner at Tokoroa with Scracha and onwards to Jonno's. Drop the bike and gear off and then home. I find there's no beer in the fridge so I put some in and 1 goes in the freezer. A quick shower and pull the beer out of the freezer.

Shit hot day. Man was I wiped out at work the next day haha.

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  1. Quasievil's Avatar
    good write up bro, need to borrow those warmers back again hah for racing on Sunday mate
  2. Xan's Avatar
    Sorry can't remember a thing but my thighs are telling me I had a great day! Nah really the only bit I can't remember is maybe 30 seconds or so between the time my head hit the pavement & the ambo turned up.

    would love to know why the rear stepped out such big time, maybe I got a bit wide coming out of turn 1 & got into some rubber or something, didn't think I was doing anything my different to the 100 other laps that day!

    Cheers, Xan
  3. Peter Smith's Avatar
    A good bed time story there mate, except for Xan's spill.
    I had already headed home, I was completely knackered but very happy, and was unaware Xan had gone down.
    Damn shame as that was a really nice bike.

    see you at the next one.
  4. jahrasti's Avatar
    Cool write up. It was an awesome day. Now you have been back on a bike again you need to keep it up or at least use that as an excuse haha.
  5. Nicksta's Avatar
    awesome write up dude its cool to see/hear you back on a bike again
  6. Frenchy's Avatar
    wicked mate! and once more please don't start racing as these reports are long enough