Thursday, 4 June 2015

SMP Long - 21st of May, 2015 - Hosted by Rider's Choice - Back at it!

After getting my bike fixed and put back together it was time for another track day! New grips, new paint/decals and new Pirelli Supercorsa's.

Every moment since my crash, I've been looking forward to getting back on the bike and building up on what I've learned. Easier said than done.

Crashing takes a bit of life out of you. It really does. Even though I know what I did wrong and know what not to do, the fear of crashing is still there. I was riding tense and stressed the whole day. Started to relax a little bit after lunch and made some improvements but I'm still not as "fast" as I was before. On my previous days, I had no problem dragging knees in almost every corner. On this day, I was having trouble leaning off the bike since I was tensing up and not riding as relaxed as I should've been and that really put a damper on my progress.

That being said, the next time out, we are doing the FABI circuit once again. I'm looking forward to improving on what I've learned out there the last time and working on T3. I've been told that I turn in too early, so I've made a mental note of it and will try to improve my corner entry/speed.

Only time will tell.

Pictures to follow!

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

SMP Fabi - 7th of May, 2015. Hosted by Rider's Choice - Not thegreatest start of the season...

Early May, 23 degrees celsius and nothing but sunshine. It was my first track day in the new year and I couldn't ask for a better start.

We arrived a little later than we should have, needless to say, we missed the first session. We had to set up our pit area, put the warmers on and get ready all in 20 minutes... Yeah, that wasn't happening.

After my friends and I spent the first 30-45 minutes or so getting set up, it was time to go for my first session. Bike felt great, I wasn't as rusty as I thought I would be and had more confidence going around the track than ever before.

Second session out, my friend and I were playing cat and mouse for the most part, it was good. He passed me, I passed him and I set my personal best time in that session. Grew more confidence, started braking harder, trail braking longer and really making the bike work. Came back to the pits, put the warmers on and waited anxiously for next session to start we can do it all over again.

Fabi layout, T3 is a very tricky one. On the third session out, after 3-4 laps, I was behind another rider who happened to run wide on T3. I wasn't far behind him, thought I would pass on the inside since I was carrying the right corner speed, I was sure that I would be able to hold my line and complete the pass in a safe manner. I was done trail braking, I'm committed to the corner and I noticed that the rider in front of me started to cut across again to over correct for his mistake. I panicked. I didn't know how far or how fast he's going to cut across. I touched the front brake and lost the front. Thankfully it was a slow-ish corner, I managed to walk away unscathed and learned a valuable lesson while doing so.

As far as the bike goes, it got away with relatively minimal damage. The Woodcraft frame sliders worked really well, the Sharkskinz bodywork held up great. Seriously, that stuff is worth it's weight in gold. Absolutely minimal bodywork repairs required. Aside from a broken windscreen, a torn grip and a scuffed up Brembo RCS lever, there's really not much to do to get it ready again.

I couldn't just duct tape the bodywork and leave it like that for the rest of the season. I just couldn't. As soon as I got home, I took the bodywork off and took it to one of the body shops we deal with at work. He's the guy who originally painted it and now he's the guy fixing it. Should have that back by the end of the week some time.

I also noticed there is no pressure on the front brake lever. Absolutely none. It seems that when the right clip on came in contact with the asphalt, things got moved around and the banjo bolt hit the fork and came loose. Not a big deal but still. It's annoying.

The gear held up well. The suit doesn't need any repairs, boots came out fine but unfortunately, I can't say the same thing about my Shoei X12. Hit my head as I crashed and wrote it off. I was due for a replacement anyways. Most importantly, the gloves did their job! They didn't rip upon impact and I didn't break any bones. 5ive gloves should take note on how quality gear is made!

Moving on, I went to GP Bikes and tried on an Arai Corsair V, RX-Q and Signet Q and none of them seemed to fit my head like the X12 did. I wanted a graphic this time, there isn't anything in Shoei's line up that is attractive and no, I will not buy a Marc Marquez replica, I don't care if he won 2 MotoGP titles back to back. I really don't like the guy.

Ended up replacing the X12 with another solid black X12. Thanks to Rider's Choice for the great deal.

Here are a few photos of the crash damage:

As far as replacement parts go, here's what I had to order:

1. Shoei X-12
2. Woodcraft custom seat pad
3. Woodcraft frame sliders, it seems the base on mine got bent so it was more economical to buy a new set than just the one side.
4. Renthal dual compound grips

The subframe got a little tweaked during the crash, a few mm's at best. I was going to buy a Yoyodyne subframe to replace the OEM one with but I really couldn't justify the expense just yet. It's something I wanted to do for a while but I can hold off. Maybe some time later in the season.

Will post a video of one of the sessions when I get around to it.

A short video following Sean around:

Friday, 27 March 2015

Out with the old, in the with the new!

I've been playing with the idea of selling my 2006 GSX-R 750 for a while. I posted the ad on the 18th  of March, 2015 and it was sold on the 23rd. First person that came and saw it is the person that took it home. It was a sad day but I knew the replacement would be worth it and I'll soon forget all about my first bike.

A couple of days before I sold it, I posted a "WANTED" ad on Kijiji. I narrowed it down to the BMW S1000RR and it had to be a 2012 or newer model. I got a response within 24 hours from a gentleman in Barrie, Ontario. Sent me a couple of photos and I was really impressed by what I saw. Sent the pictures to a friend and he recognized the bike and the seller's house. Turns out they were friends... What a small world!

I borrowed a little truck from work and took the day off. I had no intention of buying the bike let alone bringing it home the same day. I picked up my buddy and off we went. Drove from Ajax to Barrie in hopes that we would be pleased with what we saw. Sure enough, we get there and the bike is stored in the seller's basement! BASEMENT!

We looked and awed for a few minutes before we got down to the nitty gritty. The bike was flawless. It was hard to resist. I had nothing to use as a negotiation tool other than the fact that he was friends with my buddy. We spoke numbers briefly, he agreed and off I went to Service Ontario with the VIN# to get a UVIP and insure that there are no liens on the bike. It was 4:30 pm at the time. I still had to make a trip to the bank, there was one near the seller's house but unfortunately, they closed at 4 pm. Managed to find another branch that was located about 15 minutes across town. Great. Got there, got the certified cheque and on the way back we rented a uhaul trailer to bring the bike home.

Needless to say, I was excited!

Haven't had a chance to take any decent photos but I will post more when the weather warms up and I actually get to ride the thing... 

In Canada, these bikes come standard with ABS, DTC and QS. The electronics were definitely a huge deciding factor as I had some questionably close calls that resulted in hard/emergency braking and ABS can't hurt. 

Initial plan was to keep it stock for the most part but there are mandatory things to be done

1. Crash protection (case covers, frame sliders, axle sliders, etc.) 

2. Rearsets - Sitting on the bike, I have to reach a little further with my knees to grip the tank, It almost feels unnatural. I'll have to wait and put some KM's on the OEM sets before I can justify the switch. This time around it's all about function over form. 

3. Radiator/oil cooler guards 

4. Levers - Only if I change the rearsets, a mild case of OCD here. 

5. Powder coating the wheels for a little contrast... Already planned the colours but I won't go into any further detail for the time being... 

That's it for now! 

Friday, 31 October 2014

2014 Off season plans!

Nothing too exciting planned for the off season but this is pretty much a summary of what I'd like to do in preparation for next year. 

I downloaded and printed the RACE Superseries Race Book. I'll be going over it in the weeks to come and make a decision on whether or not I want to race next year. I feel like I still have some improvements to make before I can confidently be on any kind of grid. I'll be spending a lot of time at Shannonville next year hoping to make some improvements and may enter in a race round or two depending on my progress. They do require a few modification in order to be race legal such as safety wiring, an oil catch can, no aftermarket wheels and so on. I'll have to have a closer look at the rule book to know exactly what I can and can't use. 

In other news, I decided to put my 750 up for sale and go a different route. I originally wanted to sell it so I can "upgrade" to a 1000 supersport. Having ridden on the track a lot this year, I no longer see the sense of an SS on the roads. Especially since you can't really use them for their intended purpose unless you ride like a complete tool which is never a smart move. 

Looking at getting a street legal supermoto, I still have to decide on what make/model I want but it looks like KTM 690 SMC is on top of the list, however since they aren't released to the Canadian market, looking for a used 2010 may be the only option and a bit difficult since there wasn't many sold back then anyway. 

I'll be at the January Super Show having a look at the different makes/models and if I find something interesting, I might just pull the trigger! 

SMP Long - 2nd of October, 2014. Hosted by Rider's Choice.

I wasn't expecting to make it this day, but the weather was in the high teens/low twenties and I was able to book the time off work. I couldn't ask for a better end to a successful year at the track. "Successful" is a relative term, made some great friends, no crashes/injuries, vast improvements with my body position, dropped my lap times and always made it home in once piece.

For the first time, I wasn't really "on" that day, I wasn't able to keep relaxed/focused and the lack of sleep sure didn't help. I managed to get 3 sessions in and called it quits before I made any bad decisions. I was a little bummed out about that since the weather was perfect and all. But what can you do? If you're not feeling, you're not feeling it. There will always be a next time. Even if it's 6 months from now. :(

On the other hand, it was great seeing Matt McBride passing people on 1 wheel and putting down some seriously fast laps. Made for an entertaining day nonetheless.

As always, Rider's Choice hosts a great day and I'm excited to go back next year. Time can't go by fast enough!

I wasn't able to get any decent footage since my track time was very little but I managed to get some photos. Thanks to Bill Murphy for the great shots and all the effort it takes to make this happen for guys like me.

That's it for 2014 folks! I'll be updating the blog in case I decide to do anything to the bike in the off season. It will be a long long winter... :(  

Monday, 29 September 2014

Photos from SMP on Sep. 18th. 2014 - Thanks to Bill Murphy for the great shots!

A big thanks to Bill Murphy for the great shots and effort it took to get these photos to me. I will be out again on the 2nd of October for my final day of the year,  hoping to get some good videos/photos to post up!

Our pit area:

A big turn out considering the crappy weather: 

Corner 1 - love it:

Corner 4a/b - Still trying to get it right: 

Random spots: 

This would have made a great photo if we didn't have black bikes and black gear: 

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Some videos from SMP on Sept. 7th + 18th, 2014.

Here's a video from the 7th: 

My lines were definitely better that day as I was more focused and not as tired, but any track time is better than no track time! 

Here's a video from the 18th: 

Two different clips from two different sessions, lines were a bit sloppy. There's tons of room for improvement and after watching this video several times, my mistakes were made clear and I know what to work on the next time out.

As of right now I'm still waiting to hear back from the photographer that was there on the 18th, but so far no luck. :(