Track Days in the cold

This past Saturday I was at Brands Hatch. What can I say. Up at 6am. Quick shower, small breakfast and a cold mug of lemon tea. Pootled over to Brands Hatch and arrived there at 7.10. Went to sign in, but No Limits had not arrived yet. Toilet break, then just after 7.30 signed in. My friend arrived on his lovely 2015 675 Street Triple, ABS, quick shifter and Diablo Corsas…

Went to noise testing where they laughed at my little CBF500 and passed it without testing (well I had to blip the throttle a bit)… off to Briefing and it was snowing hard. Well, by 9am it had snowed out the track, totally white everywhere. My brother arrived to fulfil the point and laugh features. Apparently I had the “slowest” bike there…

They delayed the start an hour, which did the trick. Rain and wind sorted the snow. By 10am inters were out and then fast group. Couple of red flags in those sessions. Graham Hill corner was greasy as anything, couple of very nervous twitches/slides/banzai sideways moments!

We went out at around 10h50. Track temp was -1C… But it was fun. Wobbled around and managed to slide it on Graham HIll without loosing the front. Slightly frightening, my friend had a full opposite lock sideways moment and so pulled back into the pits. Things got a bit better after that. By my last session we had a clearer dry line, but track was still wet.

Managed to lap a 675 Street Triple, managed to stay ahead of everything, except a couple of trackday bikes on full wets and my friend on this 675 on Corsa’s which finally warmed up. Someone was timing his son and timed me as well for some reason, apparently I was the “target” and the closest he got was 7 seconds to my 1.16 in the wet. Got a good feel for the track by the end of it all, and was pinning it down the straight and after some soft braking down the hill and hard on the throttle in 3rd/4th to take corner at the top in 3rd.

That final corner before the start finish straight is where I was getting my victims on overtakes as I was holding a 20mph higher corner speed (to make up for the dog slow straightline speed!!). I even passed a Fireblade around there, only for him to blow past me on the straight.

The CBF was quite comfortable in the cold weather, heated grips on and away I went. Must admit that it would be nice to have a bit more punch on the straights, but corner speed was more than adequate and I could maintain a good rhythm and enjoy myself.

I recommend heading out and doing a track day, it sharpens your skills and give you a good adrenaline workout. The weather should not be an obstacle. Most of us ride all year round, so it is just a case of moderating your riding accordingly.

Lovely write up. Kudos to you for getting out in that weather and doing it.

I’ve done several track days and have no embarrassment in admitting I just plod around at my own comfortable pace and let the fast boys zoom past me. I still enjoy it, and I still learn.

Exactly. I just do my own pace and try to ride clean lines so that faster riders can zip past if they can catch me (which they certainly do!)

brands Indy is on again this weekend for £69 but set to be wet

Yes, I’ve a friend booked on that one, but I have a prior engagement with Church breakfast duty on that Saturday.

@makman - Wow, you sound like you’re 20 times better than me. I would not have taken my toy around any track in those conditions, even if I was £200.

Thanks for posting your experience. I am really keen to take my CBR500 for a track day soon, so right now I’m just “researching” everything about the topic.

How did the track day affect tyre wear?

Was fine. I did not bother dropping the tyre pressures this time, it was too cold to bother. Mine were at 34/40 (Front/Rear) on the CBF500. You do get some ragged edges from cornering hard, but that is about it. Wear is not too badly affected, bearing in mind my tyres are just generic sports touring tyres, BT023 front and Pirelli Angel ST rear.

Not about being better than anyone, but willing to have a bit of fun and enjoy riding that little bit harder in an environment that is safer than being on the road.

Am amazed at how many people think you cant take smaller bikes on track or out of the ordinary round and then at how they fare … same as road riding your 1000cc sports bike may have twice or even triple the power but you can only use it 5% of the time and then be having to compensate altering the bikes handling by the rapid acceleration and deceleration whilst little cc bike is able to pin in round the corners smoother and faster . …nice work makman and fair do for just doing it !

I haven’t got the guts to do a track day in those conditions, I would be far too stiff at the corners, I’d be taking them like a 50 pence piece!
Nice one for going ahead and even better for blindsiding some of the riders with your 500😁

It is not what you have, it is how you use it. Seeing as I’m also 6ft5 and 114kgs, they were surprised that the little bike could even move!

Nice report braver man than me ,only do them April to September,you really should still drop pressures a bit ,40 way to high ,a lower pressure gives a bigger contact patch which is just as important even in colder conditions.can take any bike on track I had a bloke caning me out the corners on an old rd350.