So I had to do a little write up about my trip and figured I would share:
This last Memorial day weekend I had the opportunity to ride Virginia International Raceway’s Grand Course which is 4.20 miles long with 24 turns (checkout the track map
). It is a complex layout with a mix of fast and slow sections, and tests your cajones in some places. VIR has a long history as an excellent racing venue, and has become one of my favorite tracks to visit. It was repaved a few years ago, offers a ton of grip and is very smooth, which is just a pleasure to ride on. After getting in an abundance of track days last year, and going to ride both the North and Full course at the end of last season I had to give it a try.
The entire week leading up to the event I watched the weather in anticipation, which turned into its own little stressful rollercoaster ride. One day it was 100% chance of thunderstorms, the next sunny and mid 80’s. Luckily on the way down we hit just a light drizzle and by the morning of the track day it was damp but drying out. Thank you mother nature! The damp conditions gave everyone a good chance to take it slow and learn the line in the first few sessions and then we all turned it up as the day progressed. I think the weather really helped keep everyone on track since only a few people had any off track excursions and no red flags all day.
The track day is put on by Cornerspeed, who are the only motorcycle organization who runs this layout, and they only do it once per year. The Coaching staff is out all day in every group and was more than willing to talk with riders, give you a tow while on track, and overall have a blast helping everyone improve and have fun. For the novice group Aaron Stevens, owner of Cornerspeed and Cornerspin schools, has classroom sessions until lunch to go over the track layout, talk track basics, and answer any questions riders may have to help them get better on track.
Cornerspeed elected to have 3 groups, a novice, intermediate, and advanced group which spreads out the riders very well. Over a 4.2 mile track most of the time I felt like I had the place to myself. 20 minute sessions resulted in approximately 5 laps for me and by the end of the sessions I was always looking for the checkered flag. Having done both North and Full courses before I had a pretty good idea of the track layout and only had to learn the Patriot section from T13 through T17d which involved one of the steepest downhill elevation changes I have encountered, combined with a slightly off camber turn at T15a and T15b (the video doesn’t do it justice). That said, the uphill esses section of T8-T9 is by far my favorite part of the track. Accelerating up the hill while having to get the bike left, right, left, and then right one last time all over 100mph! It’s a workout but so satisfying when done right.
Overall I got back very close to the pace I had at the end of last year when I visited Full course and had a blast riding this grand layout. If you are ever looking for a fun technical track in a beautiful area VIR should be high on your list and Grand Course is definitely worth the trip! Youtube Final Session