June 19th, 2005

racing, motorcycle

Improved / much to learn

Saturday Phil from Aftershocks showed up and gave me some good advice about -- believe it or not -- tire pressures. Apparently ex500's are weighted more towards the rear than modern sportbikes, and running 30 front and 32 rear is recommended. (actually I ran 32/34 because I use Pirelli which needs slightly higher pressures) Sure enough, that actually solve a lot of the problem. I also increased the ride height steadily about what Phil thought was best, but he agreed that as long as the front was stable there was no reason not to keep pushing it. I adjusted a few lines, slid back towards the rear when getting hard on the gas, and most of the wiggle was gone. It will never be good, but it was enough to start focusing on other problems -- namely, rolling off the throttle later in turns 1, 2, and 10.

I spent some time riding with the ex250 riders, who have to keep high corner speed due to lack of hp. I deliberately didn't motor past them on the straights, and worked on maintaining their corner speed. This was good practice, and very usefull. I owe a lot to Leigh #513 and Sue #279 for teaching me how to keep corner speed by example.

My best lap was 2:21, which was my fastest on that bike at that track. Not the mid teens I was expecting, but I have a lot to learn about riding these older bikes. (It turns out that the ex500 frame flexes quite a bit, so I need to replace some parts to stiffen it up a bit and then learn how to ride around the rest. It will never match my sv650 with Ohlins suspension :-(

But Oh My God I had a hurting to learn about AFM practice. Race practice, right? Everyone is fast and on the racing line, right? No.... It was horrible. I spent the entire session, every session finding ways to pass guys on 600s (twice the hp of my bike) and even a 1000 or two (3x the hp of my bike). It was ridiculous! Hell, I'm slow. I'm dooooog slow. But these guys are plain dangerous.
(and guys is gender correct, none of the girls had these half-crazy/over-aggressive burn/burn/burn/BRAKE/park/pitch-a-tent-in-the-corner idiotic approaches)