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Old 07-06-2020, 06:08 PM   #1
Frame Maker
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questions about track days... recommendations and group level?

I may be interested in doing a track day later this year. I'm looking for recommendations on which organization would be best suited to my needs and what rider group would be most appropriate based on my experience?

First a little background as to my motivation and what I'm looking to get out of the experience. My main objective is to track test a moto project I'm hoping to have in a running state later this year. Thus I'm not looking for rider instruction, although not apposed to it either. I'm just looking for the easiest way to get a bike out on the track to see how its going to work.

About me. I'm a former racer (ARRA in mid 80s / AFM in mid 90s). That said, its been at least 20 years since I've been on a track so not sure what group level I'd be best suited to. Going by the recommendations I've seen online, it sounds like experienced track riders / racers would be in group B / intermediate, or faster. However, I'm sure to be a bit rusty having not been on the track in many years, so would I be better suited in the C / beginner group? I'm not sure, so looking for suggestions. Will any of the track day organizations move riders up or down a level if they're too fast / slow for their assigned group?

Given that my goal is to get the most track time as possible to test the bike, I'm not as concerned with extensive instruction (some would certainly be welcomed) or other amenities. Are there any recommendations for a track day organization that would have more emphasis on "just go and ride"?

Thanks!
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Old 07-06-2020, 07:54 PM   #2
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As a former racer, I’d expect you to be plenty fast enough for B group to start out. You might even want to try A by the end of the day. But.....there’s nothing at all wrong with starting in C if you want to ease into things. Any provider will be likely to let you change groups after a few sessions.
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Old 07-06-2020, 08:17 PM   #3
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I would say that your skill isn’t the limiting factor in this situation but rather, the custom bike.

The track day org may have a policy that restricts the group eligible for custom bikes, or at least may want to give it a good inspection before passing you through tech. Most likely it will be to ogle it and ask a bunch of questions; but also so they have some assurance it will stay together, at least as well as a Harley

I’d be curious to know where and when you sign up, so I can take a look as well I have an s1000rr and might like to pick your brain regarding e-bike conversion if amicable
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Old 07-06-2020, 08:29 PM   #4
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I suggest C group.

Focus on learning how trackdays work and enjoying your day at the track.

If you find you are going too fast for C group, then ask to be bumped to B group.
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Old 07-06-2020, 08:53 PM   #5
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As a former racer, Iíd expect you to be plenty fast enough for B group to start out.... Any provider will be likely to let you change groups after a few sessions.
This is reassuring to know. Thanks!

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Originally Posted by Smash Allen View Post
I would say that your skill isnít the limiting factor in this situation but rather, the custom bike....

Iíd be curious to know where and when you sign up, so I can take a look as well I have an s1000rr and might like to pick your brain regarding e-bike conversion if amicable

The last time I did a track day to test a bike, the bike(s) would eventually go on win numerous races including an AFM class championship (500 Twins in 2002). I don't build junk (see photo below). These days I normally get my custom bikes street titled, but with restricted DMV and CHP access due to C-19, I'm thinking a track day might be the most direct way to get some miles on a new project.

Quote:
Originally Posted by motomania2007 View Post
I suggest C group.

Focus on learning how trackdays work and enjoying your day at the track.

If you find you are going too fast for C group, then ask to be bumped to B group.
This isn't my first track day, just my first in about 20 years so I'm forgetting some of the small details such as if its common to get bumped up/down between groups. But generally I know what to expect.

Thanks everyone for the feedback. Just an FYI - the bike I'll be testing is an evolved version of my AK-1s, but different engine (2-stroke this time) and few other adjustments.

The photo below is two of my AK-1s at Laguna Seca in 2001 where they competed in AMA ProThunder with Tom Dorsey and Shawn Reilly riding. (oh shit, I had to look up Shawn on FB to get the correct spelling of his last name and I see he's with Z2 Trackdays. Thats what I get for not talking to him in many years. Okay, guess I know who I'll be contacting next)

DSCN0090 by andbike, on Flickr" style="max-width: 100%; height: auto; width: auto\9;">
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Old 07-06-2020, 08:55 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone for the feedback. Just an FYI - the bike I'll be testing is an evolved version of my AK-1s, but different engine (2-stroke this time) and few other adjustments.
OK, now I wanna go even if i don't ride
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Old 07-07-2020, 06:07 AM   #7
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OK, now I wanna go even if i don't ride
iknorite? This whole "no spectators" thing at trackdays is cramping my style!!
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Old 07-07-2020, 11:53 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Frame Maker View Post
Thanks everyone for the feedback. Just an FYI - the bike I'll be testing is an evolved version of my AK-1s, but different engine (2-stroke this time) and few other adjustments.

The photo below is two of my AK-1s at Laguna Seca in 2001 where they competed in AMA ProThunder with Tom Dorsey and Shawn Reilly riding. (oh shit, I had to look up Shawn on FB to get the correct spelling of his last name and I see he's with Z2 Trackdays. Thats what I get for not talking to him in many years. Okay, guess I know who I'll be contacting next)

DSCN0090 by andbike, on Flickr" style="max-width: 100%; height: auto; width: auto\9;">


oh man, those were the days ...

spent a lot of time in the AFM pits gazing at the AK-1 Shawn was campaigning in the late '90s ...

here's a pic of another EX500 based racer from back in the day that I'm guessing you'll remember:



raced it in '99 and missed a chance to test it against your AK-1s, which I regretted ... guess this bike won the 500 Twins class in 1999, 2001 and 2006 ...

re: the OP, returned to the track after maybe 15 years away, and had a good experience with Z2 and Shawn ... could not believe how slow I'd gotten.

just ran in the C group with a clapped out VTR250 ... though anything like speed was gone, my lines were still smooth and predictable, so I don't recall any issues ...

will be interested to see the AK-1 fitted with a two-stroke engine (RZ350?).
Last I heard the plans for the Gibson were an electric motor ...

thanks for the memories and your cool EX500-based bikes over the years ...
always loved that Kawasaki engine ...
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Old 07-07-2020, 12:24 PM   #9
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oh man, those were the days ...

spent a lot of time in the AFM pits gazing at the AK-1 Shawn was campaigning in the late '90s ...

here's a pic of another EX500 based racer from back in the day that I'm guessing you'll remember:

raced it in '99 and missed a chance to test it against your AK-1s, which I regretted ... guess this bike won the 500 Twins class in 1999, 2001 and 2006 ...

re: the OP, returned to the track after maybe 15 years away, and had a good experience with Z2 and Shawn ... could not believe how slow I'd gotten.

just ran in the C group with a clapped out VTR250 ... though anything like speed was gone, my lines were still smooth and predictable, so I don't recall any issues ...

will be interested to see the AK-1 fitted with a two-stroke engine (RZ350?).
Last I heard the plans for the Gibson were an electric motor ...

thanks for the memories and your cool EX500-based bikes over the years ...
always loved that Kawasaki engine ...
John, Its great to hear from you after these years. I think I still have photos of The Gibson taken in your driveway just before it went to Kevin.

Ya, Shawn and Tom had some epic battles with Kevin in 2001. If we hadn't missed the first race of the season the ending might have been different... but that's racing.

Wow, I knew that Kevin still had the bike, but didn't know he was planning to go 'lectric with it. I'm not sure if I like that idea or not... humm?

Ya, the new bikes will use RZ350 engines. I've had so many people asking me about frames for those, and now they are making a big resurgence. With all of the aftermarket RZ/Banshee engine parts available its now possible to get big Hp out of those engines. Since building the AK-1s, I've continued building custom bikes, but none were really race bikes. So these new bikes will be back in that territory.

I'm anticipating exactly what you described going back to the track after many years away.... I still know what to do (and not to do), I just don't think I'll be very fast.

Likewise, thanks for the memories!
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Old 07-06-2020, 08:53 PM   #10
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Hey Julian!

My thoughts: sign up for B group. I'd imagine you're looking for a few clean corners or laps to get some consistency and a read on your build. C might make that tough.

I know groups somewhat vary between trackday providers, but I think B is a safe bet considering your background.

As for organizers, most have served me well. Z2 might be worth a try in your situation. I've seen them be pretty flexible on group changes and I'm sure they'd be open to providing some guidance before hand.

Also, let me know when and where you sign up so I can join you see what you're building. I need an excuse to break in my new(ish) SV
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Old 07-07-2020, 07:38 AM   #11
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... I need an excuse to break in my new(ish) SV
By the way, I'm planning to visit Zoran sometime in the next few days if you need anything shuttled to / from. Just thought I'd mention.
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Old 07-08-2020, 12:23 PM   #12
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By the way, I'm planning to visit Zoran sometime in the next few days if you need anything shuttled to / from. Just thought I'd mention.
As of now, I think I'm good. Thanks for letting me know tho!
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Old 07-07-2020, 12:22 PM   #13
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I suggest C group.

Focus on learning how trackdays work and enjoying your day at the track.

If you find you are going too fast for C group, then ask to be bumped to B group.
Julian,

This is not a bad route.. get your feet wet first and check the bike out without having to try to push it.

Then move up. Most will accommodate that for safety reasons.

Have a fricking blast.!
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Old 07-07-2020, 12:27 PM   #14
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... get your feet wet first and check the bike out without having to try to push it.

Then move up...
Yep, this is exactly the plan
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Old 07-07-2020, 11:08 AM   #15
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I recommend PTT or Z2. They're very accommodating with custom requests. So long as bike has brakes and tyres that pass inspection, you can get on track with it. Z2 also has great Sat. night parties on 2-day events.

Let us know which weekend you sign up, I'd love so see your project and volunteer to follow you around to get video.
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