There May Be Help For Me Yet, And Maybe For You Too - ZX6R Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 02-08-2017, 08:55 AM Thread Starter
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There May Be Help For Me Yet, And Maybe For You Too

Simon Crafarís Better Riding Tips: Itís all in your head, son


One of the great things about riding sportsbikes on circuit is itís all in your head. Until you get to racing levels, itís not about how old you are, how fit you are, or even what gender you are.

Iíll give you one of my favourite examples: I was at Cartagena and was introduced to the three people I was giving instruction to that day. An early 30-year-old, tall, polite guy in good physical condition (we have since become good friends). He then introduced me to his buddy who he said was a K1 kick-boxer. I guess the kick-boxer was late 20s, shaved head, tattoos and not an ounce of fat on him. He was quietly spoken and quick to smile. The third guy was on his own, nice bloke, mid-60s, with a paunch and handshake that belied office work



All said they had not ridden on circuit before, but had ridden on the road. You can guess what my preconceptions were. I will try not to make that mistake again. As I said, itís all in your head. The older guy soaked up what I told him and was prepared to trust what I showed him without hesitation, getting off the brakes and following me into the turns. The younger, fitter guys werenít prepared to do this. They would not relax and trust their bike and tyres. I canít remember the lap times exactly, but by the end of the day the older bloke was ten seconds seconds a lap faster that the others, and doing it smoothly, accurately, and safely.

I believe a part of our sport is about calculated risk. No matter what your maximum speed is, when you get there it feels like if you go any faster, or lean any further, you will crash. Everyone gets to that place, and to go faster you have to decide, or be told, where exactly you can push to drop more time. Once you decide where that time is, you need to be able to make yourself take a small step at a time into the unknown and see what happens.

Itís almost like you have to be prepared to crash to make that next step and hopefully find out that you were nowhere near crashing. From then on, that will be your new limit. The trick is knowing the places you are already near the limit and where your slow sections are.

A rider I worked with lot with in 2012 reached his personal limit at an incredibly slow speed. I even joked with him that my mum would pass him around the outside. After a lot of practice and instruction over 12 months, he literally went from Ďslow in the slow groupí, to Ďfast in the fast groupí. To me he proved that the Ďcalculated riskí thing, even if you donít have it at first, can be learned.

Iíve also worked with riders at the other extreme who push hard to go fast but in many of the wrong places, taking big risks to achieve their laptimes. I stop them immediately to explain that unless we go all the way back to basics and start again, thereís going to be a crash. It may take half a day for them to understand the different way of riding, but because they are not afraid to have a go they figure it out. Even if they donít beat their personal best by the end of that first day, their new style of riding is not limited to the speed they were going before, and they do these times easier and more safely.

Another thing that I see as an important part of learning to go fast is to being able to memorise a circuit. Some do it quicker than others, which is no problem as long as you can do it. If you are not lost on track, you can replicate brake markers, turn in points, speed sensations and gear positions. I show many riders how to ride a circuit faster and safer, explaining why it works and why it will work on other circuits, but if they canít replicate what they are doing each lap, or at least remember exactly where they are on track and what they are trying to replicate, it will never feel or look safe. This is something thatís not easily taught. People seem to have this or they donít.

I have instructed many female riders. They seem to have less ego about getting instruction and are keen to listen and learn. Recently at Valencia I instructed a woman that was on her second or third circuit event. Within a few laps behind me we were carving through literally half of the riders in her group because she was prepared to trust me and she was not lost on circuit. She knew exactly where she was and could replicate what we did lap after lap.

This really is the difference between doing it with risk, or safely. I believe that if you can memorise a circuit and understand exactly where you are on it, your age, fitness, and/or gender will not stop you from being a Ďfast groupí track-day riderí. Like anything, itís just a matter of committing to it, and getting enough quality practice.

Crafar is a legend, 500GP race winner and the brains behind Motovudu, the complete riding experience. Click here to find out more

- See more at: Simon Crafar?s Better Riding Tips: It?s all in your head, son - Bikesport News






Continuing Education anybody?

Black care rarely sits behind a rider whose pace is fast enough.
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post #2 of 14 Old 02-08-2017, 09:57 AM
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Love Simon, he is an inspiration. Plus he's a Kiwi

Check out his Motovudu series. I got his second book for Xmas!!

A play on words, or words on play
Last chapter, verse in the final act
Words well scripted, each sentence choking
Inaudible gag, blanket which suffocates
As you eat another's words
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post #3 of 14 Old 02-08-2017, 10:31 AM
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I can concur with that...

For the most part "It is in your head"...

Couple things come to mine for me. I remember Keith Code's book "twist of the wrist" talking about survival mode.
That's when you hit your limit. Same as fear factor... Fear is the main thing slowing you down...

Also as Slo once said... people don't always use their machine as a tool...to the average rider it's their baby.. and they can't afford to throw it in a dumpster...so they ride to protect.

I am a firm believer that coaching can help a person overcome and learn to ride fast...but safe. Learning to do it right brings speed.


.

2010 Wera N.E. / Mid-A. Hwt. Senior Superbike Expert Champion

www.sichertengraving.com - www.Karns-performance.com -

Last edited by Backmarker; 02-08-2017 at 10:33 AM.
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post #4 of 14 Old 02-08-2017, 04:36 PM
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You have to believe it to do it. Otherwise it's just luck.

It's taken me a while, but I'm getting there.
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post #5 of 14 Old 02-08-2017, 05:41 PM
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The "Inner Game" books are perfect for this stuff...

A play on words, or words on play
Last chapter, verse in the final act
Words well scripted, each sentence choking
Inaudible gag, blanket which suffocates
As you eat another's words
Malnourished, you starve.
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post #6 of 14 Old 02-08-2017, 07:25 PM
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That's a great read. Saved the link for future reading. Thanks for posting!

ďWhy do I ride as number 69? Well, itís a number that you can still read when the bike is upside down after a crash." - Nicky Hayden

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post #7 of 14 Old 02-09-2017, 02:40 AM
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Thanks for posting this!

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post #8 of 14 Old 02-09-2017, 06:51 AM
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All true, and very good stuff. I guess I just take that for granted :-p
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post #9 of 14 Old 02-09-2017, 11:42 AM
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Thank you for the informative post! As a beginner rider with only 6 months under my belt of mostly freeway/highway riding, this really made me realize that I'm an extremely conservative rider not because I choose to be, but because of the fear I have floating in and around me at all times (especially with turning). I'm learning to shed small amounts of fear here and there, but it is definitely a slow-moving process that will take years to work on. As far as a circuit goes, well, I'm nowhere near that point yet.. But this was still a great read nonetheless.
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post #10 of 14 Old 02-09-2017, 12:38 PM
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I haven't ridden on a track yet, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

If you can ride on the highway you can ride on a track in the rookie/novice group. Better to push the limit and your fears in a controlled environment than on an off ramp with a guard rail.
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post #11 of 14 Old 02-09-2017, 01:02 PM
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As above. You'll learn more about your bike in a controlled environment than you will "pushing it" on the street. I'd also recommend someone actually coaching you who has a bit of experience. At the bare minimum, get someone to show you the correct lines around a track.
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A play on words, or words on play
Last chapter, verse in the final act
Words well scripted, each sentence choking
Inaudible gag, blanket which suffocates
As you eat another's words
Malnourished, you starve.
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post #12 of 14 Old 02-09-2017, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by capitalcrew View Post
I haven't ridden on a track yet, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

If you can ride on the highway you can ride on a track in the rookie/novice group. Better to push the limit and your fears in a controlled environment than on an off ramp with a guard rail.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sanctuary View Post
As above. You'll learn more about your bike in a controlled environment than you will "pushing it" on the street. I'd also recommend someone actually coaching you who has a bit of experience. At the bare minimum, get someone to show you the correct lines around a track.
All very good points. I cringe every time I see a rider trying to drag knee on a street. So many variables that are out of your control there. Ugh.

Getting instruction early on can really help to get you started off right before you teach yourself some bad habits that will be a real bitch to undo later on once they have become muscle memory.

Plus it gives old washed up has beens like me something to do besides talk about the glory days :-p
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post #13 of 14 Old 02-09-2017, 02:55 PM
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Maybe I can meet you this season and have you show me the ropes, I'm not too far away and I plan on doing a good amount of track riding this year. As much as I can afford anyways
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post #14 of 14 Old 02-09-2017, 03:12 PM
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Do it. You won't regret it. I'm working with one of the top racers (who's off to race with Aprilia in Italy soon) and it's made a huge difference to my riding. Plus I'm helping him out (as PainfullySlo alludes) in a small way to help overcome the shortfall in funds he needs to compete. What's the point in having all this great knowledge/skill if you can't share it with others?

A play on words, or words on play
Last chapter, verse in the final act
Words well scripted, each sentence choking
Inaudible gag, blanket which suffocates
As you eat another's words
Malnourished, you starve.
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