Fearful of blind corners & road conditions
August 19, 2010 at 4:26 pm #28165WeaponZeroParticipant
I sat through the entire video you linked and I never saw anything I would really consider a blind corner because even in the turns you mentioned, there was ample visibility around enough of the turn to react in case you saw something. I was referring more to bends in the street that take you around rock face or mass of trees where you can’t see anything more than what’s dead ahead of you.August 19, 2010 at 7:27 pm #28166
In track terms a blind corner is one in which you cannot see where you’re going at the time of turn-in, i.e., you have to turn in on “faith” that you’ve ridden the track enough, have picked an appropriate turn-in marker, and that you’ll be able to turn in at the right rate and carrying the right amount of speed to get where the apex is without being able to see it. In the case of T-Hill or Laguna Seca, that blindness usually comes from elevation change (textbook example: the Corkscrew at Laguna), not from having an object blocking your view of the corner. Maybe that doesn’t sound that scary, but when you’re trying to find the limit of speed for the track, not being able to see where you’re going can be plenty terrifying. That’s especially true in faster corners where you know that a second’s delay in turning in will put you into the track barrier at 100mph.
You’re right, however, that there are quite a few “blind” track corners in which you could still probably see riders going through the corner, even if you couldn’t see the road they were riding on. In that sense, you do have “ample visibility” in some of them. You just have to remember that the concern on the track is primarily staying on the asphalt, not necessarily hitting another rider.August 19, 2010 at 7:30 pm #28167Gary856Participant
I’m not advocating riding like a suicidal maniac (like some people do), but I found what I used to consider scary became fun as my skills improved, with the same or more safety margin. Whenever I had a problem with a ride or a road, I tried to figure out what I did wrong, and what I needed to learn. The more skilled and experienced you become, the more you will want to seek out difficult and challenging roads and weather conditions to have fun.August 20, 2010 at 3:26 pm #28185WeaponZeroParticipant
Since weight loss was mentioned here I have to say it–I weighed myself this morning and I am now down to 244.7! An even 90 lbs down! WOOHOO!August 20, 2010 at 4:15 pm #28190
T1. where is that exit point… hrm… or maybe entry point???
T3. oh look. hill…
T5. exit? where?
T9. i know this corner goes somewhere…
T10. what turn in point… hrm…
Now imagine going fast… like really really fast… it’s no wonder why people continually blow/crash in these turns. noobs especially.
oh yeh, fwiw, the front straight at laguna going over that kink t1 into t2 is blind as well. takes big brass balls to go FFT, over that.August 20, 2010 at 4:21 pm #28191
speaking of those kinds of things, it’s funny, at sears point (infineon) there’s a deer flag because hot damn if those stupid deer don’t wander onto the track from time to time. And at thill, sometimes you’ll see cows roaming around as well within the track confines… >.< but yeah, i’d much rather prefer to rail around a closed course track than on the twisties… i go so much friggin’ slower on the twisties nowadays…August 21, 2010 at 12:59 am #28205
This (i.e., where the camera is) is the turn-in point for turn 1. Current speed: 160mph+ (depending on bike), full throttle. Direction change: ~35 degrees. Visibility: none.
This is the view from mid-corner. The edge of that concrete wall on the right-hand side is roughly the apex of the turn.
While we’re at it, I took these screenshots from a 750 supersport race video which is mindblowing. Mega, you should definitely watch the first few minutes. Three bikes come together at turn 1 (luckily it was just after the start, so they were probably only going 100mph ), the guy with the camera gets knocked into the grass, gets back on the road in 23rd place (out of 24) and rails through the pack to finish 5th.August 21, 2010 at 1:37 am #28206TrialsRiderParticipant
You can’t really consider a race track corner to be a ‘blind corner’ where you have a flagman, can you ? … unless he’s a blind flagman maybe.August 21, 2010 at 2:12 am #28208eonParticipant
Are those guys all on the same bike (or equivalent)? He was blasting past them like it was a video game where you have twice the power of your competitors, diving up the inside but you don’t slide off. Was kind of weird looking.August 21, 2010 at 2:47 am #28209
we had a thing like that in round 5 at thill… at the start 3 bikes got directly involved and ended up taking out a few other bikes on the other side of the lane at the start. 2 hospital rides, one person getting dragged along the kwall, head skimming on top… some bad juju… >.<August 21, 2010 at 2:52 am #28210
yup. you gotta take into account, this guy started in the first grid, which means he’s fucking fast. when he got pushed off, that put him around last so he was catching up to guys who are slower than him. The difference between the top runners and mid-pack to end-of-pack is pretty large.August 24, 2010 at 3:42 am #28272
Like Mega said–and this is probably even more true in Washington than in California–at the club level the difference between the top runners and the last expert racers in the pack is astronomical. Remember back when I posted that I was in the expert group running race pace? Well if I ran my personal best every lap (which I more or less do, because I never really push) and didn’t get flustered, make a mistake, or let other dudes pass, I’d finish in the middle of the expert racer pack at Pacific Raceways. But like I said in that post, the gap from my times (mid-1:30s) to the top-runners (low-1:20s) is HUGE. That 10-12 seconds is somewhere between a 10-15mph gap in average speed. If you were to watch us going around the track, it would look like I was getting passed standing still. Especially with the guys at the back of the pack, they may even be running low 1:40s, in which case the perceived difference in speed would be even greater.
At higher levels the difference is less exaggerated, but even in MotoGP, the difference between the pole position qualifying lap time and the last guy on the grid can be as much as 3-6 seconds. Even that smaller difference spells lights out for the slower rider. If the average speed of one guy is 100mph, being one second a lap behind that guy means you’re losing 1 second at 100mph => ~150 ft PER LAP. After a 32-lap race, you’re about a mile behind. And that’s a ONE SECOND gap.August 24, 2010 at 4:41 am #28273
are you under the impression the flag guy in the towers actually direct riders? they really don’t do anything but observe and wave flags only when shit happens. some towers do make great reference points though. for t1 at thill, the 1st corner tower is a great reference point since you can’t see anything at ground level. The tower at t9 on the other hand won’t help you determine anything about the exit though… unless you want to exit way shallow and run off on the kink on the left to t10. people who use the tower for t5 end up in the dirt on the inside of t5a since that turn is like laguna’s cork screw, sharp left and a quick right downhill. the t11 tower, while a great reference point for the exit, doesn’t help you on the entrance. The optimum turn in point for t10 is right before the top of the crest. You have to start turning in before you can see the curbing and the apex. Anything later than that, you’re either gonna have to slow down a lot to hit the apex or you’re gonna go wide on the apex and wide on exit which is a crappy short dirt ride. If you use the t10 tower on the left for a turn in point, you’re turning in too early and are gonna run off on the inside of the turn or hit the curbing. At race pace, race track blind corners are every bit as challenging as rolling around a mountain…August 24, 2010 at 5:15 am #28274eonParticipant
Obviously the flag men are there to warn you of obstructions/debris in the corner that you cannot see. On the street you have no such warning and really need to be able to stop in the distance you can see, which is why in 90% of corners my speed is set by how far I can see.
Blind corners on a track I am certain are a huge challenge of your skill and commitment; but it’s really not comparable to the street. Chalk and cheese I think.August 24, 2010 at 11:43 am #28276TrialsRiderParticipant
The track that I am most familiar with is Mosport and any time I spectated races there, flagmen are tactfully positioned right at track level and on every significant corner. There would still be plenty of blind spots and dangers at the speed the racers achieve, but the various color flags to indicate oil on track, ambulance ahead, caution, etc. must provide a tremendous margin of safety over any public road riding situation. Add to that everyone is traveling around and around a loop over what becomes a familiar path, plus given the opportunity to practice the course !!! Race tracks are the only place to ride as fast as your motorcycle can go.
At the few Dirt track events where I was participating in a centre field Trials demonstrations, riding over cars and crap like that, we were pressed into service as corner flaggers, and this was on a 1/2 mile oval horse track where there were actually no blind corners, but with corner flags the racers didn’t even have to turn their heads to be cautioned of situations ahead, we were close enough to touch their left arm with the flag.
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