June 18-19 I went up to Pacific Raceways (Kent, WA) for their mini track day called “Taste of Racing”.
Introduction of the Taste of Racing.
It’s a brilliant idea in that it is a controlled (more so than a full track day anyway) environment and they have it setup so that you can ride without the full power ranger outfit and it’s only $20.00!!!!
Here is some more Taste of Racing Info
I was only a little nervous (surprisingly) when I had decided to go and try it. I had been invited a week earlier by a business friend of mine (Bob May) who races with his son. I knew I’d be doing a track day or something this year since I had bought my Frank Thomas leathers earlier. Now was the time to put up or shut up.
Before heading out there I decided that it would make sense to see, and if possible, learn the track. What better way than to ride around it over and over again. So I jumped on YouTube and spent a bunch of time doing “research” by watching lots of video footage. I learned the track and got a feel for how fast one could/should be going. Here is a good one to check out:
There was a slight chance of rain for the Sunday; It was overcast but warm, so I figured I’d go up there and if it got cancelled, so be it.
It’s a pretty casual atmosphere being in the Pacific Raceways parking area/paddock. You just find a place to park and call it your own. Bikes, mo-peds and everything else are buzzing around all over the place. It’s great.
Taste of Racing
The basics are that you sign up, they do an inspection of you bike and give you a pep talk, trying to convince you to not go nuts out there. We’re hear to have fun and be able to ride home. Check.
The first two laps are supposed to be a procession to get to know your way around and get a little heat into your tires. Start of lap two I was immediately passed, but I was a good boy and stayed behind a guy I had met that day and just cruised. He has some grunt but was pretty slow in the corners. I formed a plan of attack for next time around. Check.
Start of the lap two blurs went by that I assume were motorcycles (so much for no passing the first two laps). At the start of lap 3 I was able, after a hitting the rev limiter in 2nd, to get past. Exiting first corner and I had a pretty good gap already.
The next couple, I was on my own which was pretty good. I still had no idea how fast I should go down the front straight (meaning when do I need to break for the first turn). Turns out, you can go full out until past the wall when the road curves back to the right.
A few laps later and couple more super bikes going by and I had an instructor show up and lead me around. That was fantastic and I really got a better understanding of turn 1 (big left hander) and turn 3a (down hill right hander). I kept up pretty good with him, but I think he was playing with me.
He waived me by and took up station in front of the faster, but behind me :-), CBR600 and lead him around a bit.
All in all a great experience. Could use another day out there to work on the things that I have been analyzing and thinking about. So many little areas I think I can improve so I can’t wait (well, I can and will since they won’t be out until August) for the next one. There is one in Portland June 25th and 26th…
I highly recommend it and the 2Fast guys were great. Enthusiastic, encouraging and very friendly.