Donington Park GP Trackday - 2/5/22

@pricetta and I made the trip up to Donington Park over the bank holiday weekend for our second trackday of the year. We decided to do things a bit better this time and hired a van and hotel so we could be comfortable going up the night before, and carrying everything we need with us (chairs were probably the most appreciated items).

The organiser was No Limits. Claire booked into Lower as it’s her second trackday, I went into the one below Advanced, think it was Intermediate 1, or 2, I forget, their naming scheme is confusing. I’m still getting back into trackdays after seven years off, but feel ready to go back up to Advanced now.

After some bother with briefing videos being watched/not being watched, we got our wrist bands, had our 5 min briefing and got out on track for our sighting laps. Whoah! Forgot how flowing this circuit is! (Was here last in 2005 I believe), felt completely out of sorts, didn’t know where I should be on track, what gear I should use, when to brake. Some anxiety kicks in, wondering if I’m safe, have done the right thing. What about Claire?

Both of us felt the same. After some soul-searching and tears, where were both in a completely different mindset by the end of our second session. Smiles and scuffed sliders were abound. It’s amazing what a single session can do, when things start to suddenly click and muscle memory starts to come back and you recalibrate your mind for the corner speed required at this circuit. From there it got better and better.

The event seemed a little over-popular. With four groups there should have been a clear uniformity in speed of riders out in each session, but there were some people out in the Lower group who clearly should have been in the Intermediate groups, or higher. This created quite a delta in speed between riders, which was a little intimidating for some of the new riders. I suspect the day was so popular that people ended up booking themselves into whatever group had room. I assume this is an abnormality. I certainly don’t remember this ever being an issue.

Donington Park GP is such an amazing circuit. It’s got it all, it’s fast, it has hairpins, it has crests, blind corners, long hills, wide open corners, positive camber, negative camber corners, bumps and dips, run-off at important points. You name it, it’s got it. It’s a track that requires some real commitment to get the most out of it, and one you can build up on slowly.

Think I’ve found the limit of the OEM-fitment Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa II tyres. On a number of right-handers the rear was sliding and triggering the traction-control non-stop. Amazing tyre with it’s triple compound rear and double compound front, but I think it might be time to move up to the Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP.

As mentioned, the bike was moving around all over the place on corner exit, but even with this going on, the bike felt amazing and supremely confidence inspiring. it never felt out of control, like I’ve had before when the rear is moving or the front wags (it hasn’t yet on the V2). I’m actually kind of shocked how good the V2 handles. I knew it would be good from the test-rides on the road, but did not expect it to be anywhere near as good on track as my old Aprilia RSV4 APRC Factory with all it’s bling bling Ohlins suspension. Hopefully with a firmer tyre with more edge grip it’ll feel even more planted.

All in all, we had an absolutely amazing time, but by the end of the day were knackered. We didn’t do the last session, so got changed, packed up and headed home. Had to stop off at some services on the way home for a brief nap and some food, and then sloped on home.

Can’t wait for the next trackday! We also looked into California Superbike School. Glad to see that’s resumed. I’m super eager to attend; I really need to improve on my corner entry. I’m far too conservative at times. Hoping CSS would help with that, and more. Think it would be a great accelerator for Claire as well.

Anyone want to come along on the next one?

Feedback for No Limits would be:

  • Improve the online checking-in/briefing experience. You should be able to have multiple people go through it at once, i.e. how you check-in and sort out your flights for multiple people at once. We got there to be told Claire hadn’t watched the briefing, when she had, with me, for example.
  • Timetable? We didn’t get/see anything. When does registration open? What order do groups go out, and when? When is lunch? Providing this information clearly, up-front by email/website would reduce stress considerably.
  • Announcements, can’t hear them. Same at all circuits, but surely we can fix this in 2022? Petition the circuit owners for louder PA systems, use in-app notifications?
  • Following on from that, what about an app? This could smooth so much over, i.e. booking, checking-in, briefings, FAQs, timetables, session notifications, event chat, i.e. talk to other attendees (anyone got a tyre gauge??) etc.
  • Fix the group naming scheme… Lower/Middle 2/Middle 1/Advanced… Advanced should be Upper going by the other names, or use Novice/Intermediate 1/Intermediate 2/Advanced.
  • Use neck straps instead of wrist straps? It’s always such a complete and utter ball-ache and stress trying to show the wrist-strap to the marshals that’s buried under your gloves and leathers. This system doesn’t work. I get that you don’t want to make it easy to take them off on the day, but there must be a better way that makes it clear what group you’re in when you have all your gear on.

Things we took (in case anyone else is thinking of doing this for the first time):

  • Bikes
  • Leathers/Boots/Gloves/Back Protectors/Airbag vest, etc.
  • Bike Ramp & straps
  • Spare clothes for the trip home
  • Fold-up chairs
  • Fuel canisters (2x 10L, need to buy a fuel dispenser though, pouring these was troublesome)
  • Tools (spanners, sockets, screwdrivers, snips, scissors, etc.)
  • Masking tape for taping up the mirrors
  • Duct tape and cable-ties (for potential repairs)
  • Pressure gauge and pump
  • Water bottles
  • Food (fruit, energy bars, etc.)
  • Visor cleaner & microfibre cloths
  • GoPro & spare batteries

Obviously if you have a track-bike, you’ll want to take a load more, i.e. spare parts (clipons/levers/rearsets), tyre warmers, paddock stands, electrical extensions, pit mat, pit crew (mum/dad/mate) etc.

The V2 held her own in this group. Fending off all but a racer on a Moto2 bike (really) and another litre race bike. Onboard footage to come shortly…

I have no idea where this was taken from. Inside the Melbourne Hairpin?

Goddards, coming on to the straight. I’m taking this in first after looking at the onboard video, which seems wayyy too low, but felt right. My corner entry speed sucks I think.

Down the pit lane straight. Wheeeeeeee…

Absolutely no idea where this is. Answers on the back of a post-card to the usual address please.

Loaded up, ready to go. Yes that very narrow loading ramp was anxiety-inducing

Points for knobber parking? Desperately needed a wee.

Us two, perched on the ends. Turns out the other folks in our garage were super friendly and helpful.

New trackday friend, Shaun’s beautiful Gixxer Thou. PHWOAR!

Someone showing me their Panigale V2 baffle. Guy was very happy with it. Cost about £70 iirc, though making a £2-3k exhaust sound just a tad bit better than the standard exhaust seemed of questionable economic value.

A stunning Panigale V2. I assume this is a BSB TriOptions Cup race bike. Once upon a time I would have happily and easily spent all my disposable income on replicating this :slight_smile:

Talking of stunning… We both LOVED this Sprinter. Living quarters in the middle and a full garage in the back. The perfect trackday touring wagon. We played a game of “would it fit on our driveway?” afterwards.

Looks like you could just about get two sportsbikes in there, maybe, possibly. No doubt with a lot of swearing and huffs.

Brief view of the living space. Didn’t want to intrude too much, but there’s a double bed above the garage at the back.

Claire, next to my bike.

And Claire, next to her bike (which always gets all the attention from walkers-by!)

Claire getting ready for a one-on-one instruction session

Lower group getting lined up to go out.

Claire making “wheeeeee” noises in her helmet down the straight, leading the session, no doubt. No? Okay, just me imagining it then.

Claire getting her debrief with the instructor.

I had a little cold-tearing on the rear tyre just on the outer band of compound. I think it was just cold-tarmac, rather than a suspension issue, as @B had given it a quick (I mean quick, not a full setup) tweak before at Brands Hatch, and it felt fine then. Seemed fine after this, settled down once track temps came up through the morning.

The track-day was rammed, people had to setup where-ever they could, and then others came to watch their friends.

My Ducati Panigale V2. Rides like a dream, love it

Another stunning Suzuki GSX-R 1000.

A pretty incredible DIY Moto2 bike by the look of it. Triumph 675 one assumes with a full track kit on it. Bet it’s a dream to ride around here.

This rather wonderful Cafe used to be the Media Center, back when LB covered British MotoGP rounds as accredited press.

Claire getting to grips with the Melbourne Hairpin


I am now booked into Donnington on 18th May with no-limits :partying_face:, fingers crossed the weather is good. I thought I would step up to intermediate as I have now done a few in novice and a bit more confident, but only novice group available. Its actually a good thing as it will allow me to get comfortable with the bike in a safer slower group.

I saw on MSV and no-limits that there are two new requirements: You must have a full back protector and you must have a brake lever guard to be permitted on track. I always ride with a back protector so no worries, its just the lever guard I need to find now. @Jay did they check for them on the day ?

Once the day goes fine, think I would book up for June, July and August.

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Nice one @kcoops! The good thing about staying in the Novice group is you’ll be able to practice being more assertive with overtakes. There will be more opportunity. This is an important part of getting ready for the faster groups.

Yes, you must have a brake lever guard. They check you and the bikes every time you line up to go out. They’re quite strict nowadays. They’re checking for:

  • Bike sticker
  • Wrist strap
  • Chin strap done up
  • Back protector (they give you a knock on the back)
  • Lever guard

Lever guards can be got for cheap or not so cheap. R&G do basic ones. Evotech Performance make really nice ones, for example.

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Great write up, I have done a fair few trackdays now and you have just made me realise how lazy I have become… your right on all the feed back counts, trackdays do need tweaking to make them better experience. I just sort of accepted it and got on with it, when I should be offering feedback to make it better. Send your thoughts in, it might be listened too?

Covid and the whole switch to online briefing was a step up from the old pit lane talk, but as you say could be better.

My very 1st track day was a London bikers one in 2011, where I met SteveRCT, Rixy, RyanR6, Alexgold (I think) and a couple of others.


Nice write up, really enjoyed looking over this! I definitely want to get a track day under my belt in the not to distant future

@Jay If you’d have said I’d have happily met up for an evening meal on the way home. I’m not far off J20.

Ah cheers dude, though we were zapped at the end, we just wanted to get back home and go to bed :slight_smile:

A couple of messy onboard laps from the Donington Park GP trackday last week. Apexes and gear selection discipline a work in progress !:rofl:

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some good confident overtaking!

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Getting better. They’ve changed trackday rules. It used to be that you weren’t meant to overtake in the corners, but now they’re like, wherever, just give each other space. This is better, it’s much more fun, but it takes a while to build the confidence that you’re not about to try and occupy the same bit of track as another rider, or as a result of diving up the inside, not about to run wide and out onto the grass on the exit :slight_smile:

See this is one of the reasons why i stayed in the novice group, i really liked the overtaking rules. You can take your time and learn the lines without worrying, But just leaving up to the riders sounds a bit iffy. There will always be that person that will jump on your inside as you about to lean in and just cause problems. Fine in the advance group but the lower ones :cry:

@Jay how did you find it, any rossi wannbe causing issues ??

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It’s part of track riding, you have to learn to overtake and be overtaken. The same way you have to learn to do this on the road. It’s no issue - with enough time on track you learn to not get fazed by this and just adjust your line if being overtaken, or gain confidence to go off-line to overtake. i.e. it’s a skill; you learn it, you improve upon it continuously (you can see from my video above, I am still giving holding back from overtaking at times and need to be a little more assertive).

No, I’ve not had any issues. I like being overtaken as it gives me someone to try and follow/catch-up, and of course, it’s really satisfying overtaking someone, especially in the corners.

It’s important to move up groups as soon as it’s safe to, so you can learn more. You won’t learn much in the novice group as nobody knows what they’re doing there. As you go up, you find people are much better with their lines (accurate and consistent) and then it’s just a case of slowly increasing your speed/competency.

Oh its not the overtaking part, i am fine with that and completely agree its part of track riding. But its not a motogp race everyone is there to have have fun according to your level, so it can be done in a safe way respeecting others on track.

So when someone comits to a line i just think there is nothing to be gained by jumping on their inside and forcing them off, thats for motogp. If you are truley faster you can get by without incident.

I really liked that rule.

Your overtakes were clean, but not sure if everyone will give space as you did. But as you said a new skill to learn.

About those gear changes :grinning: :rofl: :rofl:

Sure, I think we agree. The rule that’s mentioned is, you’re free to overtake where/how you like, but give people space and don’t make anyone change their line.

This is possible a track-day, though it’s not always possible in the fast-group mind, I have seen some hard passes over the years (quite rare really), but I personally don’t have an issue with this, as long as it’s not dangerous. By the time you get to the fast group you must be okay with fast/close passes, and be able to change your line if you need to.

Wish I had watched Sylvain Guintoli’s brilliant videos before returning to Donington. His Donington guide is awesome. Would have helped with my gear choices I reckon :joy::

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We’re going to Snetterton 300 on June 4th, if you’re interested @kcoops?

I just might , let me see how Donnington goes first, get the cobwebs out eh. Would have wanted to give brands hatch a try before venturing further out. Snetterton is a 3 hour drive. :cry:

That Video is great, its the advanced group and he passes as if they not moving :rofl:

I am never sure how much speed I can carry around Craner and Old harpin as you are constantly leaned over, but his idea of the short shift to 4th is interesting.

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Have you thought of doing Castle Combe ? There’s a MAX of 12 riders per session on the track due to noise limits, so it’s like having the track almost to yourself with very little overtaking. If there’s any less than polite riding, the track instructors easily see it because there’s so few of you out there.

(sorry for the minor thread derailment).

But I like the overtaking :slight_smile:

I know YOU do, but I wasn’t replying to you, so nahhhhhh. :rofl:

I like overtaking also :smile:. This is on castle comb’s site, near every popular track bike, might as well show up with your push bike :rofl:

In our experience the following machines may NOT pass our strict limits

** Any make & model of bike with short type side silencers*
** BMW S1000 RR*
** Ducati 748/749/916/996/998/999, fitted with Termignoni open pipes*
** (but any of the above with standard pipes SHOULD pass)*
** Ducati 1098R*
** Ducati 1198*
** Ducati Multistrada (2011 + 2013)*
** Ducati Panigale - all models*
** Honda CBR1000RR: 2008-2015*
** Kawasaki ZX10 - 2009 and 2010 model*
** KTM RC8*
** Suzuki GSXR600 K6*
** Suzuki GSXR600 K7*
** Suzuki GSXR 750 K6*
** Suzuki GSXR 750 K7*
** Suzuki GSXR1000 K6 - 2006 model with standard exhaust*
** Suzuki GSXR1000 K7*
** Suzuki GSXR1000 K8*
** Triumph 675 - 2009 model (short type side can)*
** Yamaha R6 2006-current*
** Yamaha R6 - 2009 model (short type side can)*
** Yamaha R1 2008-current*