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Discussion Starter #21
@JNO Thanks mate, I'm feelin better about it 48hrs on. I'm going to down load an app to my cell phone that some of the guys are using to tell me my lap times and where I'm quickest on the track etc.
Like you said, that is a better gauge of my own progress than comparing myself to other riders on the day..
Also have to accept that a $3000 GSXR400 with standard motor specs is never going to beat tweaked SV650's.

I think it was more a fear of breaking bones rather than the bike that was holding me back! :laugh:
 

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@JNO Thanks mate, I'm feelin better about it 48hrs on. I'm going to down load an app to my cell phone that some of the guys are using to tell me my lap times and where I'm quickest on the track etc.
Like you said, that is a better gauge of my own progress than comparing myself to other riders on the day..
Also have to accept that a $3000 GSXR400 with standard motor specs is never going to beat tweaked SV650's.
I think it was more a fear of breaking bones rather than the bike that was holding me back! :laugh:
Hey KIWI - FWIW -
+1 what JNO said.

Back in the middle ages when I took up road racing, I was lucky to have a wonderful teacher at racing school.
Some of his "words of wisdom" -
After following me for a few laps where I overcooked things, botched lines and corners, and generally tried to go faster than my skill level, he said -
"If you slow down just a little, you will probably go faster."
"First you have to get good, then you will get fast."
"Friday practise is for learning. You can't win Friday practise."
 

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Discussion Starter #23 (Edited)
Any of you Northern Hemisphere guys got any track days planned for the summer?

I'm gonna give a report on Round 2 of the Southland Cup on my GSXR 400 which was today, so scroll on by if your lookin for CBR stuff, I understand fully :)

Bit of an Indian summer going on at the moment down here so we had perfect racing conditions apart from one shaded damp corner due to shallow sun angle and high trees. Unfortunately this is the fastest corner on the track (80 - 100MPH depending on skill level) and I had the rear end step out on me going around it in practice. :eek: At least it was the rear and not the front...

So the format is one practice session and then three races for which points are allocated. We kick off about 9.30 and it's normally all done and dusted by 3pm.

In the first race I was third from the back after a good start and was enjoying the racing until a guy on a motard left the track in front of me as he exited a corner too fast, then came back on and nearly lost it as he regained grip. Unfortunately as I braked for all this to avoid hitting him the other two back markers shot past me and I ended up last...:crying:

Race two I showed a bit of mongrel and wheelied the bike off the start line as I was keen to make up for the mornings poor result. Controlling the wheelie actually slowed me down and I ended up last into the first corner, which isn't necessarily a bad thing as there was a bit of fairing banging going on. Its a very competitive class. I had the bit between my teeth tho and soon picked off the slowest guy on a Ducati monster. For the rest of the race I had a great duel with a guy on a motard. I'd done a good job getting past him but then he out braked me into the tightest bend on the track. I got him back on the last lap tho by managing to slip stream him down the main straight and passed him just meters before the chequered flag :D I felt like doing a fist pump i was so hyped up but managed to keep it cool, it was only third last after all. Lol.

Race three was another great tussle, managed to dispatch with the monster rider early on and then myself and two motards had a three way duel with so much passing and re-passing going on that I cant actually remember who was in front at the flag as I was having so much fun i never saw the flag! I soon saw the RED one being waved at me tho when I came around again... :eek::eek:

One thing Ive found is that the guys on the chook chasers (motards) can out brake me easily on those modern light weight machines whereas my GSXR has 1990's era brakes.
I really need to get past the motards tho and start racing with the front guys on the SV 650's. Interestingly this year I am the only 400 four racer. As these machines get older there are less and less of them around and you are more likely to see them racing in classes like Pre '89 classics.

I was running a new app on my phone today called 'Race Chrono'. really recommend it, very user friendly.
I managed to knock a second off my PB today which doesn't sound much but in racing it is.

So all in all an enjoyable days racing and good improvement on my debut in this class a month ago.
Four months off for the winter now and a chance to strip the bike down a bit and see if I can improve its handling.
 

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Glad you had fun and a good day man....and you came back in one piece. Please continue to keep us informed on your progress. Club racing was something I always wanted to try when I was much younger...now you are living my dream(lucky you) and I am to old and crippled to try it.
 

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Discussion Starter #25 (Edited)
Southland Cup Round three - Humbled by the R3's

So the season resumed on the weekend after a three month break for winter.

As usual it was a three race day after one practice session.

Looking at my times after race one I was dismayed to realise that I was 2.5 seconds off the pace from where I was at before winter. Talk about rusty.
Unfortunately not everyone seemed to be suffering from the same ailment and I was second last in my first race.
The guy behind me was so slow he didnt even bother contesting the other two races which put me into last spot. Oh well, it's a familiar place for me :)

There was a father and son duo racing in my class on two brand new R3's which they have converted to race bikes.
Last year the Dad was on a Ninja 300 and he reckons the R3's frame is way better handling and turns in much quicker due to the 25 vs 27 degree steering rake angle.
They've put Andreani internals in the front forks and Nitron rear shocks plus pipe and power commander.
I could almost keep up with the son but his father was a too quicker rider for me to keep in sight. I passed the son once on the main straight which isnt too surprising given I had a 78cc advantage with two more cylinders but he got me under brakes half a lap later. I was surprised how quick they were, impressive and humbling at the same time. Ive tacked a pic on of the bikes.

So I just concentrated on riding smooth lines consistently rather than getting loose and ragged by trying too hard to stay right on the tail of the main pack.
By the end of race three I was only a second off my old PB but I can see I have some speed to gain in the last two rounds. My fastest speed down the main straight for the day was 185 kph (115 Mph) which was a couple of k's down on previous rounds.

Overall, I really enjoyed the day and managed to stay on the track all day and ride consistently. I'm sure my placings will improve with more race time.

My cousins husband came out to watch and took a snap of me winding the little 400 up down the main straight:

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Discussion Starter #26 (Edited)
End of competition musings...

Last weekend was the fifth and final round of the local Cup for me so apart from some one-off races in four weeks time as part of the Burt Monroe (remember the movie 'Worlds fastest Indian'?) Rally, that's it for the racing year.

I went into last weekends round sitting second on the points table for my class, more through consistency than placings. I completed all 15 races without falling off or mechanical failure so I have been rewarded for that. If you aint crossing the finish line then you aint earning points no matter how fast you are.
Not sure where I ended up overall in the cup as the guy who tallys up the points and posts it on the internet is a bit tardy in his work. Still waiting.

The GSXR400 proved to be a reliable mount for my first season and a lot of fun to scream around the track on, but I was 25% down on power against the front runners. The only machines I could keep up with and (sometimes) pass were the R3's and RC390's.
So I had a test ride on a Suzuki SV650 for sale during practice at the last meet. Quite liked it, it's all set up for the track with Ohlins rear shock and aftermarket fork internals, power commander + pipe etc. Got an easy 200Kph out of it down the main straight without pushing it. Handling wise the more I pushed it through the corners the better it felt which is the opposite of the GSXR. A better spread of power with the torquey vee twin motor too, made me realise how hard it actually is to ride the 400 quickly with the main thrust of power being between 10K and 13K RPM.
We're thrashing out the price at the moment but it looks like it should be my ride for next year. No excuses then eh!
 

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Discussion Starter #27 (Edited)
I went to a round of the NZ SuperBikes earlier in the year and it was great to see a swarm of 300's racing in the Lightweight Production class. Sounded just like the Moto3 GP races with that flat drone. Lots of close racing action, banging fairings, handlebars together and slip streaming each other down the main straight. :D

I'd love to compete in this class on my CBR but unfortunately my local club does not run this class due to not enough numbers to form a grid. May change in the future, hope so. This is a good entry level class for guys to get into the sport cheaply and then maybe go on to faster classes latterly if they feel, but either way it keeps the sport alive.

So... meanwhile I'm racing Formula 3 class again this year which is triples and fours up to a maximum of 450cc and twins up to 650cc. The fastest bikes in this class are the 'cripple triples' which are a 600cc bike that has had one cylinder disabled (I think they remove the piston and conrod and fit a balance weight to the crank) which turns an R6 or what ever into a 450cc triple technically. So its a wee bit contentious but it is within the rules...
No one in my club races one (quite expensive to buy and set up) but sometimes we got one or two turn up from further afield. So generally the fastest bikes on the day are the Suzuki SV 650 twins.

Regular readers will prob remember I was punting a GSXR400R last season with pretty average results. I did get quicker over the season but had a lingering feeling that I had more to offer. They say a good tradesman doesn't blame his tools but there's always room for exceptions and I think I had the wrong tool for the job last season.
Enter the SV650 for 2017.

We had Round One of the Southland Cup wkd before last and it was a complete turn around for me.
Because we don't do qualifying to sort out grid positions we just put ourselves where we think we sit among the pack. Last season I was putting myself on row 4 at the back or row 3 by seasons end when I got a bit faster.
This season I backed myself with the new bike and put myself on the front row (must've raised a few eyebrows under some helmets!). With my low rider weight (130lb) and 75HP at the rear wheel I reckoned I could get the holeshot to the first corner. Fortunately this turned out to be the case and saved me some egg on the face. I was still expecting riders to come past me tho but I didnt dare look behind and just concentrated on my own racing. Once I got the white flag (one lap to go) I started to sweat a bit and thought surely someone will take me now. Never happened and I took my first ever chequered flag. Great feeling, had to do a couple of fist pumps!
After lunch I went on to win both my races as well, so took the hat-trick as they say.
Driving home afterwards I couldnt believe what had happened but to be fair it was a smaller than usual field that weekend and I'm sure come round two someone will put me back in my place.
Probably one of those criple triples :laugh:

I'm just happy to be going into Round two with 75 points on the table, a dream start to the season for #22 .

 

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Discussion Starter #29
So, Kiwi, are you saying your fellow competitors had bikes of matching horsepower?
Pretty much. There's about half a dozen SV650 riders in the F3 class and the guy on the green bike behind me in the photo is on a Kawasaki ER-6 650 parallel twin. He won the Cup for my class last year. The riders who are at a disadvantage are the old 400 four riders on FZR's and ZXR's etc. That was me last year. The 400's typically put out around 55-60 HP at the crank whereas the 650's are around 75-80 and most of us are running full race exhausts with power commanders etc. It is open cheque book tho so you can do engine mods if you want.

You can see a couple of Motards in the photo, that's because they lump two classes together to make the day progress faster. Those things are pretty quick as their power to weight ratio is bonkers, will out brake you into a tight turn nearly every time. Not very aerodynamic down the main straight tho! Their race results are separate to ours, just have to hope one doesn't get in your way during the race.
 

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Discussion Starter #30 (Edited)
Kiwi's local racing comp 2017 Round 2.

Like last month we were buffeted by really strong winds which is a bit scary when your the high side of 200 KPH at the end of the main straight and getting sideways blasts. But it didn't rain so the wets stayed in the car.
There was a national level rider at the meet in my class so I took a back seat to him and was second in all three races. Pretty happy with that as it collects me 66 points for the day and this guy wont be contesting the the whole competition anyways.
Still making progress on my speed tho and I shaved 1 second off my PB which was pleasing. Had some great duels with some of the motard riders too. Bike going well but rear tyre about stuffed after three race meetings and one practice afternoon.
Had my first close call with regard to coming off the bike. I got on the gas a bit savagely when cranked right over coming out of the slowest corner on the track. The rear end cut lose into a power slide and I instinctively shut the throttle which made it grip again and tried to toss me off. I just managed to hang on to it but I was dam near thrown out of the saddle...:eek:

One cool thing that happened during the day was I met the photographer who took that photo of me racing I posted a few posts back. He offered to do a portrait style shot of me by my bike which he then shopped when he got home and e-mailed to me. No charge. You meet the nicest folk racing.

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Discussion Starter #32
Kwi, and he let you wear the sunglasses for the shoot? Tsk, tsk :)
Yeah I didnt realise I had them on until I saw the photo. It was sunny out and I've found as I age my eyes have become more light sensitive. I wear them when I'm racing too if the suns out.

Hmm that's a good point. I was thinking that because it is at the track I would be fine as there is plenty left on the sides and it is the center that is getting close to the wear bars but that is probably not the greatest way to frame this choice... I think I will swing by my buddy's house to pick up the new ones this week then. Appreciate the input! Still quite a noob when it comes to bikes.
Yes you typically get most of your wear on the sides when track riding. The left hand side of my rear is shot because we race anti-clockwise. I'm going to turn it around for the next meet to ride on the other side then I will replace it in the winter.
If depends how worn your rear is but if it's got a square edge then it wont roll/fall into the corners nicely. How many miles you done on it?
 

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Discussion Starter #33 (Edited)
Southland Cup Rnd 3

Last weekend was round three of my local competition and the final round before the winter break. Ironically the weather was the best of the year's rounds so far. Not a breath of wind and sunny all day reaching a high of 17 degrees in the afternoon. So apart from some damp track in the mornings practice session we had fairly good grip all day.

I struggled in the first race before lunch and only just managed to hold out the other 650cc riders, one of whom made a challenge on the last corner before the flag by going up the inside of me. I had the faster line tho and he couldn't pull it off, but I knew it had been a close race. I crossed the line second behind a rider on a GSXR600 with one cylinder disabled (called a 'cripple triple').
I was riding a bit tentatively after my slide at the previous meeting and just didnt have my usual confidence on the bike.

The two races after lunch were a repeat of the first as far as finishing order went but I found my mojo on the drier, warmer track and was able to put some distance between myself and the third place getters. The GSXR laps about four seconds quicker than me so there's not much of a contest there, esp as the rider has not long finished competing in the National series. When your beat your beat!
I always get a good start tho with my power to weight advantage, see pic below.

So I took 66 points for the day (3 x 22) which still sees me leading the competition table at this stage.
A chance now to do some work on the bike over the winter hiatus. I want to replace the seals in the front brake master cylinder and the calipers and also check the valve clearances. A local Auto electrician who is my main sponsor is going to tidy up the wiring loom and get rid of some of the bulky connectors that were used once for lighting etc. Plus I want to paint the front forks now the rest of the bike has been done. Enough to keep me out of trouble till round four in September.

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Last weekend was round three of my local competition.......
Well done. You're really coming along, eh?

Does 'crippling' a gixxer in that way even things out in terms of power and torque? It sounds like he has quite an advantage, though his experience will give him a lot of that. Guys like that used to turn up at the club meetings I did in karts - former national-level racers on the very best equipment. We called them 'pot hunters'. They were usually midfield runners at national level who were hungry for some silverware and so came to spoil things for us poor clubbie racers. I was run off the track by one of them once. He wasn't pot-hunting but needed some track time at a circuit he hadn't raced much. Nasty piece of work with an entitled attitude.

You'll find it hard to beat Mr Gixxer even when you put more miles under your belt (because he has a head start in that respect) but if the track you race at has any 'technical' sections, you might learn some tricks that he doesn't know, just for that track. Sometimes that can be pretty significant.

Go get him!
 

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Discussion Starter #35
Well done. You're really coming along, eh?

Does 'crippling' a gixxer in that way even things out in terms of power and torque? It sounds like he has quite an advantage, though his experience will give him a lot of that. Guys like that used to turn up at the club meetings I did in karts - former national-level racers on the very best equipment. We called them 'pot hunters'. They were usually midfield runners at national level who were hungry for some silverware and so came to spoil things for us poor clubbie racers. I was run off the track by one of them once. He wasn't pot-hunting but needed some track time at a circuit he hadn't raced much. Nasty piece of work with an entitled attitude.

You'll find it hard to beat Mr Gixxer even when you put more miles under your belt (because he has a head start in that respect) but if the track you race at has any 'technical' sections, you might learn some tricks that he doesn't know, just for that track. Sometimes that can be pretty significant.

Go get him!
Thanks for the encouragement JNO. He is a local guy who knows the track well and puts in 1:05min laps which is only 3 or 4 seconds behind the formula 1 guys with 200HP's. If I've got all my ducks in a row I can do 1:09's and the guy who had the bike before me got a 1:07 out of it once but usually 1:08's. So it's a big ask but I like a challenge!

Ive heard mixed figures regarding the power outputs of the GSXR cripples. One magazine quoted 96Hp at the crank which sounds a bit high but the guy I race against said about 81/82 at the rear wheel and that was on a dyno so I believe him. That gives him a 6-7 RWHP advantage over me and obviously his bike has a pretty up to date frame and suspension package.

To make them eligible for the Formula 3/ Superlite class they remove one piston and add a bob-weight to the crank. Then the valves, shim buckets and springs are removed from that cylinder and blanks are fitted into the exhaust and inlet seats. A cunning way to get a class advantage and an interesting engineering exercise.
The rules for F3/Superlite state 'Multi-cylinder four strokes up to 450cc or four stroke twins up to 650cc'.
 

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The guy I mentioned - who pushed me off the track - was a top-level racer in one of the best teams. It was a tightly-controlled class, so he was on more or less the same equipment as me, though we all know money can open up loopholes in regulations.

I had managed to keep him behind me for a few laps but, when he got a run on me out of a very fast corner, he drew alongside and quite literally pushed me onto the outside grass. When I 'spoke' to him afterwards, he was genuinely angry that a clubbie racer had "messed up his race by getting in the way".

When you turn up to a paddock full of karts on little trailers, driving a huge motorhome emblazoned with team insignia, you're at the wrong event, IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter #37 (Edited)
Kiwi's SV650 racing thread

Ive decided to split my race reports off from the Track day thread so that folk looking for CBR racing/track day info have a clearer path.

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Southland Cup Round 4

So we got back into it last weekend after a 4 month hiatus for winter to pass. Though it was dry and calm the air temp only got up to 8 deg C so there wasnt a lot of track temp to provide grip and the thermals were on under the race suit!

Last year I was rusty coming back from the winter break so I was keen not to repeat that this year esp as I had a 45 point lead to protect.
Unfortunately some front end suspension tweaks over the winter break back fired on me and I knew straight away in practice that all was not well up front. Bugger...

In the first race I was 2 seconds off my PB time but still managed second place despite a lot of pressure from riders behind. The bike was not inspiring confidence with the handling instability. The SV's dont have external adjustment for rebound and compression damping on the forks so there's not much you can do between races. Compression damping is altered via a gold valve emulator that sits internally underneath the fork springs and the rebound is adjusted by changing your fork oil viscosity.

In the next race I was second again even though I went the wrong way on the gear box coming onto the main straight. The rider behind me (looking to get a slip stream) almost hit my rear wheel which could have easily knocked us both off. He said he saw flames shoot out my muffler, good thing the SV motors are fairly bullet proof eh! I'm finding the race shift pattern takes time to adjust to before it's instinctive.

The third race was my worst of the season. I got another bad start and was then spooked by another rider cutting up on the inside of me so i backed off the throttle which allowed another rider through and soon I was in fourth place and rattled. I tried to settle myself and crack on but the damage was already done and the main group soon had a break on me that I just couldnt reel in. The harder I tried the more ragged my lines got and I had a front end slide when I went wide off the racing line and got on to some slippery track surface. Luckily it didnt tuck on me and I lived to take the 18 points for fourth spot.

So Ive had better days at the track and there was a bit of pondering going on inside my head on the drive home. I need to do some work on my starts and get more aggressive. And I'm pretty sure the problem with the front end is a lack of rebound damping due to the 10W oil I put in. Turns out I should have used 20w because I have emulators fitted. Never stop learning.
Will see how things go in four weeks time. :)

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Overall, not a bad day, eh? Great pic and the bike's look good, too. Well done.

Oh and stop fibbing about having thermals on under your leathers, ya bat fastard.
 

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Discussion Starter #39
Overall, not a bad day, eh? Great pic and the bike's look good, too. Well done.

Oh and stop fibbing about having thermals on under your leathers, ya bat fastard.
Cheers, yeah I didnt do my standings in the comp any harm despite a few hiccups. Just a good thing I didnt go down with that front end slide. First time I've lost the front, bit more scary than hanging the rear out.
Two more rounds to go. I know last year I was doing my best lap times at the very end of the season so there's hope there.
I think the hardest thing is not being able to practice between rounds. Just gotta rock up on the day and see where you pick up from last time.
All good fun tho. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #40
Southland Cup Round 5

Well my upper shoulders and biceps have been aching a little all day so I must have been using a bit of body english yesterday to punt the SV around the track!

I went into this round with a 48pt lead in the competition standings which I was keen to at least maintain, if not increase. The weather was perfect. Calm and sunny with temps in the mid teens.

Practice went pretty well until one of the top motard riders decided to give me a bit of a hurry along and cut across my bow a bit as he passed me and we touched bikes. He reckons I stood my bike up a bit which created the contact. Either way he was passing too closely for a practice session IMO. :mad: If I crash in practice that could be the bike out of action for the day (or me!) and 75 points goes begging, a scenario I'm keen to avoid.

First race went really well and I got a blinding start which was something I was keen to improve on this round. I took the holeshot and went on to win the race in clear space. Nice start to the day, gave me confidence. Bike going really well too.

Race 2 after lunch I got too eager on the start line and nearly jumped it. I had to pull my clutch back in and lost my timing. Surprisingly I still managed to clear the first corner in the lead but I had to rely on my power to weight ratio advantage to get there. One of the top Motard riders soon manged to get past me on the back part of the course through the bends but I slipped him down the main straight with my superior power and aerodynamics. Not that it really matters as these guys are in a different class for points. I did go on to take the win though, it's always nice to be the one who takes the flag first regardless of class.

In the last race I was so conscious of not jumping the start that I got away slowly and was beaten to the first corner by one of my arch rivals on a Ninja 650, I know his bike well and just had to keep on his tail until the main straight and get good drive leading onto it. I knew if I slip streamed him I would be able to pull past him as my bike is slightly more powerful than his. Must really piss him off! There's not much you can do when someone does that to you. I braked late into the first corner off the main straight in the lead and then just put my head down and rode as hard and smooth as I could to fend off any further challenges. I was pretty chuffed to cross the line first and take the hat-trick for the day. First time I have done that since round one. But to be fair 'the fast guy' on the GSXR450 didnt show up to race this weekend so that helped somewhat.

So overall I was really happy with the day. My lap times were very consistent and in the last race I managed to equal my PB time. There's room for improvement though as I'm still having a few handling issues with the front end. As the day wore on and my fork oil got hotter and more viscous the handling worsened, so I'm going to wind a bit more compression damping on my emulators and hopefully that will sort that out.

I now have a 73 point lead over the second placed rider in the comp so as long as I show up for the first race of Round six and finish the race with at least three points then the championship is mine. Not counting any chickens though, anything could happen between now and then.

I never expected the season to pan out this well, hope it doesn't read like a brag blog!
Still gotta ride that last race yet... :D
 
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