Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hampton Downs May Rideday

Javawocky and Evil Stig's Adventure

With the last MotoTT Taupo weekend being rained out I was certainly up for a rideday to blow out the cobwebs. Then all things aligned, and the May rideday at the Hampton Downs Motorsport Park near Meremere appeared and the Metservice promised sunshine. All ducks in a row, and Javawocky (Elton) also rearing to go, I booked online in the Green (Med-Fast) group.

Eltonio (Javawocky) with his black GSXR600 and new Sharp helmet.

And what a beautiful day it was - a little cool and foggy on the way down, but the day cleared and was brilliant. A spot or two of rain in the afternoon was nothing to worry about.

Evil Stig's black Ducati 916

Tyre pressures were adjusted down to aid tyre warm-up - I ran 29 PSI front and back. Two circuits was all that was needed to get the Metzeler M5's to grip - just up to me now to relearn the track, relearn how to ride, and get down to business.

What a Ducati of a workout!

Being in the med-fast group means that you are not cruising between corners, you are totally focused and already planning the next - all day, and using/improving skills as the day progressed has left me with sore muscles - especially the legs. The Enterprise (Suzuki Boulevard C90 cruiser) does not require you to grip with your knees - whereas the Ducati requires vice-like grip - aided by the leathers against the TechSpec Gripster tank grips I have added.

Knees to the Grindstone

Its a kind of right-of-passage - no idea what all the fuss is about - except its a bit like virginity for riders. One guy is grinding his knee slider around the corner and you are right on his back wheel and not... its a funny business. However funny or not, I can say (in a slightly deeper voice than usual) that my sliders are now scuffed up.

Video Highlights

Elton had his cameras on and captured some of the later sessions on video. It gives you a good idea of the circuit and also what a GSXR600 can get up to when unleashed.
Video of Hampton Downs GSXR 600. The later sessions had some sun between turns 1 and 2, but the track has been very well thought out with regard to the afternoon sun and its affects on visibility.

Great day, had a real blast too.



Elton said...

Nice one John, you caught me with my face all scrunched from the sun!

My knee sliders are still virgin clean. I am still of the opinion the more hanging off = less lean which means bike suspension works better. But, I am still not pushing hard enough to get that low yet.

What I learned from this time round was - go into the corner faster with less brake and use the turning forces to slow you down in stead of trail braking. Worked particularly well on turns 1, 2 and the final sweeper.

Ahh, can't wait to get out on the track again!

JohnHS said...

So are you saying your best side is in the second picture? ;-)

Trail braking decreases the rake and so changes the steering geometry such that you can turn quicker.

I have stopped doing it, opting for brake on the straight, corner quickly, rolling the power on throughout the turn. I find my issue is sometimes I have difficulty in getting that throttle roll-on started and then I am going too slow and screw up the corner.

With regard to getting out there... can't wait.