Talk about knackered!!
Nanny Ann and I rode up to Manfield with Bazza57 today for a training day with Brian Bernard.
We got away from home at 0645 to meet Barry at BP J'ville and left there about 0700, travelling up SH1. It was only 14° when we left but the temp soon got up to 20° and the trip up was, as usual, pretty uneventful with us topping-up at the Mobil station by the track at around 0845 before going in to meet the others who were participating. The event was organised by the Wanganui Ulysses but was attended by a range of 30 riders, from relatively new riders to some very experienced ones with machines including cruisers, adventure, sprotties a few tourers and a couple that aren't used on the road.
The training commenced with a briefing then walk out on to the track to get a look at the surface and discuss riding lines and protocols etc. Next was half a dozen warm-up / familiarisation laps, then a debrief and discussion on cornering with focus on looking through the corner before heading back-out on to the track to work on that aspect.
After another debrief the Sprotties went out for a few quick laps then the rest of us followed before enjoying a lunch break. By this time the temp was up to 24° and I was sucking in heaps of water to keep fresh.
After lunch we focused on emergency braking and went out to the back straight, which had been set-up with some cones, we lined up in pairs and on signal, took the bikes up to at least 100kph, then hit the anchors at arrival to the first cone and stop as quick as possible. We had four attempts at this, the first using both brakes, the second and forth just front and the third just rear. I was buddied-up with Baz and both the ST & FJR certainly displayed how efficient the linked brakes with ABS are, but it was a little disconcerting to take one run up over 120 and note the extra 15 – 20 metres it took to stop.
With that done we had our last session where we were to focus on not using any brakes. For me, that was the most unnerving but beneficial session. I baled a couple of times with a tap on the brakes and had to tap them a couple of other times as I came up on other riders going into a corner, but there were several occasions where I thought I was over cooked but held my nerve and whistled through the corner easily....whew!!
We finished off by observing one of the instructors give it heaps. He was going through Dunlop at around 160 where I had been really brave taking it at 100 – 120 and it was quite awesome to watch from inside the middle of that corner where we could closely observe him going through there and the hairpin.
With that done we packed-up and headed for home and thought about heading back via the 'Track' and 'Hill' but I was had-it with my athritic hip playing-up, so back down SH1 it was, arriving home having done 461 Kms for the day, 145 on the track. I had only done 307 Km since filling and was down to 2bars on the gauge so I would expect to only get 400Km out of the tank....worst ever economy, bottoming at 11.5 k/ltr during the day.
The day, for me, achieved what it was supposed to by highlighting a few shortfalls with my riding and also how much grunt the ST has, as it was the first time I've really given it heaps, getting it a bit over 160 on the middle and back straights and a tad over 180 on the home straight. I found my cornering to be a bit inconsistent and over cautious and the effect of riding a lot of sub-standard roads has left me picking my way through corners rather than looking well ahead and flowing through them...and I am loathe to push the 300Kg ST to anywhere near it's limits. No worries....I am enjoying my riding and keen to stay safe. Maybe one day I'll push it....or not!! One thing's for sure, I think this day took more out of me than a grand challenge.
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.