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Novice Corner Worker: Observations

Discussion in 'Track Time' started by Mundefined, Mar 31, 2008.

  1. Short Version:
    - Vertical rain is unpleasant. Horizontal rain moreso.
    - Corner workers in Turn 5 have heavy workloads
    - Turn 4 is a great place to look at lines
    ---- When you crash your bike, use the following procedure
    ---- Determine if you are alive
    ---- Look for corner worker; do as they tell you
    ---- Assume your bike is toast; leave it
    - Thank God for the Airfence; but it makes you very yucky when you disassemble it.
    - Burgers and fries from the concession stand make you fart big time.

    Long Version

    * Note * In most respects I cannot distinguish between a terran excavation and my own posterior exit. This weekend I was asked to use something called "common sense". I leave the conclusion to the reader.

    DAMN it was cold. I wore every “outdoors” item of clothing I owned and I was still doing pushups and jumping jacks to keep warm! Necessity being the mother of invention, I was designing a propane-based coffee machine in my head as the wind-driven rain and hail hit me in the face. Saturday saw me as part of the T5 crew scoping out people’s lines entering T5, setting up in T6 and rocketing up T7. Fantastic place. Truly picturesque. Seeing the hail approach as a curtain and then experiencing “white-out” was also interesting but it got old quickly.

    Our first customer of the day showed up in the Vintage practice. The guy had a beautiful line into T5. I remember thinking that he was getting better lean in that turn than the other racers when the bike dropped underneath him and went sparking. Turns out, he told us it was so cold he couldn’t feel his fingers anymore, lost fine control and went splat. No worries – he was okay and the bike didn’t appear damaged, so he rode it back to the pits when the practice was over.

    Our second customer caused us grave concern. This racer went skittering off of T6 and, after a brief personal and evaluation, chose to sit down next to their machine DIRECTLY IN THE IMPACT ZONE. Bikes were flying past us and our crew and those of T7 were screaming at this person to move higher and out of the zone. We couldn’t reach him/her without putting ourselves in danger and he/she didn’t appear to be paying any attention to us. After what was probably only a minute but felt like Eternity, the racer got the message and began to move. Not 20 seconds after that, a 2nd bike low-sided in 6 and skittered directly INTO WHERE THE PREVIOUS RIDER HAD BEEN SITTING. We were fit to be tied at that point. However, the real fun was to come later in the day.

    We had a couple of more relaxing practice sessions to calm our nerves. I remember rooting Revhard as he came through and looked forward to him leading the pack. We watched as Tokin and Dawtips made it look easy coming through our gauntlet. We didn’t have any way to clock them but we did make note that they stayed in roughly the same position in the pack. We also noticed that Mr. Chrome Wheels wasn’t doing too badly. We assumed someone had taken him under their wing.

    Oh, The Novice Race. Previous to the Novice race, the green crash truck showed up at T5 and unloaded a few people. Apparently, our earlier activity was an ill omen and WMRRA was taking precautions. The race began innocently enough, from T5’s standpoint. The warm-up lap looked fine and we were chuckling to ourselves when we heard that nobody wanted to grid up at the front. We heard very little about the incident at T1 other than there was one. As each of the crew of T5 had friends in the race, we hung on every terse phrase on the radio. And then our number came up…

    We had been talking about what kind of energy and approach would be necessary to actually launch a bike at the corner stand. Overall, we were all pretty comfortable of our safety. Then that racer approached Checkpoint Jerome and proceeded to execute what I’ll call “The Tokin Maneuver”. The racer tucked the front end and dumped the bike just at the entry of T5. He must have been moving pretty good as the bike hit the edge of the sod and launched itself at us. I’m not joking when I say I watched a bike sail at 5-6 feet in the air directly at us. Luckily for us, the bike hit the ground, rebounded and slid back onto the track directly at the exit of T5. The rider followed suit and proceeded to stand up in the middle of the track.

    The corner station at T5 exploded in people. The yellow flag came out like lightning as people raced out to grab the rider, grab the bike or to desperately try to stop the other riders. Oh, my heart sank as I looked toward the hill and saw the oncoming horde. I vaguely remember somebody screaming “Red Flag” as the din of the engines melded into a single sonic barrage. It was one hell of a mess. The race finally got stopped and the riders sent back to the pits when the red truck appeared and what looked to be the rest of WMRRA decend on the turn with brooms and blowers. Inside of 5 minutes the track was returned to operating condition and both trucks disappeared. Wow.

    I remember talking with Bones about watching a rider and thinking that he’s operating outside of his area of control. It was simply a question of “that doesn’t look right”. I figure it’s the exercise of this technique that is part of Bones’Ninja Photographer mystical power that enables him to get the pics he does. Well, I won’t say I’m immersed in it, but my normally dormant Jedi powers picked it up for a bit. I watched a rider come down the hill after T4 and start to set up for T5. I remember looking at him and thinking “that doesn’t look right” but not being able to pick out specific feature out of place. He made it through T5 but wiped out in T6. I wonder if this is the same sense that my wife and daughter use when they pick out my clothes?

    The final incident of the day happened just before the entry into T5. A rider came down the hill obviously experiencing some mechanical difficulty. His decision to pull off the track directly in “Checkpoint Jerome” caused team T5 slight consternation. His decision to sit in the impact zone and monkey with his shift lever was ill-conceived, to say the least. Wil and I ran out to him and attempted a microsecond conversation when he tried to tell us why he thought his bike wouldn’t shift into second from third. As I recall, our portion of the conversation went something like, “GET the @#$@#$^ off the bike!”. He paid no attention to us, so we grabbed him and bike and forcibly hauled them both out of harms way. He was still arguing with us when we finally got him behind the corner stand. For some reason, the idea of 20+ 400lb missiles controlled by novice riders didn’t cause him any particular concern.

    Sunday dawned less impressive than did Saturday. After I cleaned the snow of my truck, I was seriously wondering if they’d even have a race today. Even then, assuming they did, would anybody show up for it? Obviously, I underestimated the level of insanity.

    The T4 crew consisted of myself, Brad and Jarod and, in comparison to Saturday, we had a light workload. I ran into Revhard, Tokin and Dawtips and they decided to live dangerously and work T5. Based on previous stories and pics, I imagine any incident at T5 would see Revhard relaying information from the radio, Tokin pointing out that he crashed at that corner with much more flair and Dawtips touching himself. Hey, I could be wrong, I wasn’t even there.

    Here’s where I feel compelled to make an observation in the interest of fairness. I don’t know Mr. Chrome Wheels; never met him. I’ve read the story of the 2-Fast incident and I’ve heard the tale. Regardless, I’ll point out that Mr. Chrome Wheels was one of only 4 bikes out on the track for the Novice practice at 9am on Sunday. And he wasn’t looking particularly bad.

    Things went pretty slow for Crew T4. The only real action we saw came in the Vintage class when a rider hit the outside of the turn, lost traction in the gravel and somersaulted. He wasn’t hurt and we pushed his bike to safely. Shortly thereafter I watched him pick nuts, bolts and other small parts off his bike and stash them in a pocket. I guess it really pays to keep all bits from bikes for which you typically must fabricate spare parts in your machine shop, rather than easily order them. He smiled, waved at us at the end of the practice session, walked his bike into a start and drove off.

    The Novice Race had no incidents. Never have I been more grateful.

    I now understand why WMRRA requires you to assemble or disassemble the Airfence. It&#8217;s truly an educational experience. The fact that you end up completely covered in <yech> notwithstanding &#8211; &#8220;Hey, you&#8217;re the short guy! Get in there and disconnect it from the tires!&#8221; &#8211; it&#8217;s a worthwhile experience. And I hope that I never, ever see it up that close again.
    yard sale and Motophotog like this.
  2. yeah cornerworking is damn good experience. I cornerworked almost 2 full seasons before I put a single lap on the track. I knew I planned to race, so I took detailed notes watching the fast guys lines and shift points. As a result, I was very very fast at my *home* track on my first race weekend.

    Everything else you stated is great stuff as well.

  3. james1300

    james1300 Track School Dazed

    You ROCK! I worked corners a couple of times. Its a hard job, with shear moments of terror. My hats off to ALL of the corner workers!
    Without your support, there would be no racing!
  4. theJrod

    theJrod Racer Extraordinaire

    Yup, good times yesterday! :)
  5. tokin

    tokin Hello Kitty Fan

    My "flair" beat by a 600SB rider JUMPING turn 5 and launching himself at least five feet in the air, then breaking his fairing stay with his chest. All three of us have seen plenty of crashes, even on that day. But we stood there for a good 2 seconds mouths open with "HOLY SHIT". We then jumped into action.

    lol @ Checkpoint Jerome
  6. lol... Darren stood there like a deer in headlights. What a crash... I hope there were pics from somewhere
  7. RedBullRider

    RedBullRider dirttrack44m

    how cool, you guys are awsome to be out there to help your own.
    i sit here and read your accounts of what happened and how much fun you all had. i really want to race again. but me being a little older and owning my own business i dont see it happening. please every one of you go out there and do it for me. i am very happy for each and every one of you. but sad at the same time for myself.
    Have fun and never ever stop living your dreams.
  8. Ah that was you on the radio during that mess. You could hear the overall concern through the radio as to the mess turn 5 was in.

    Don't beat yourself up too much on the yelling of the word "red" over the radio. It happens to the best of us. I was standing at the start line and heard "Rider down turn 1" right after the grid was released. When I heard that my heart sank as that is not a good place to ever go down. I was glad to see him standing up. Then I heard your voice and thought f***.

    Glad all of you guys made it through without any real harm to your bodies. That is what counts.
  9. D_Rail

    D_Rail Beast to be Unleashed

    I was in T7 yesterday, and it was a busy day! A pair of nasty highsides.. One of them being Ross Delong which the crash looked way worse that it really was. He got on the gas a little much coming out of T6, and the bike bucked him off. It felt like he and the bike were sliding forever! He just had the wind knocked out of him, and the bike was pegged underneath the airfence. When we pulled it out really all it need was a windscreen, and a hose for all of the mud!

    The other dude highsided right at the apex of 7, and landed square on his shoulder.. He was in pain, and he indeed was asking how the bike was! I told him some duck tape and safety wire and he would be fine, but lets worry about your shoulder first!

    Good times over all.. A little cold though!
  10. tokin

    tokin Hello Kitty Fan

    Yeah we were commenting on how we had supposedly picked the busiest corner (5), and we spent most of the morning going "DAMN! .... Turn 7s got it."
  11. yep, everyone that rides on track should do some cornerworking.
  12. Very nice writeup!

    Alot of it was VERY familiar. When I was out there I also noticed riders would tend to try to haul their bikes back out of the bushes in an impact zone while hordes of 400lb missiles go ripping by them at high speed...never once looking at me yelling (useless with all the noise) and motioning for them to get out of the impact zone. Then of course later I get yelled at for it:roll: and told I should have red flagged but then of course 2 hours prior to that at the starting "meeting" I was told ONLY ONE PERSON can give the go ahead for a red flag and that definitely was not me:scratchea :roll: :rant
    sorry 4 da rant...just in a not so good mood today :tard:
    I thought all the riders were told to get the hell out of the way if they dump it...aren't they?:scratchea

    edit: need to clarify I did not do corner work for the organization you did and I won't mention them by name cause I don't feel it is appropriate.
  13. I was in three yesterday. It wasn't that busy, but there was enough. Watching a few of the experts come down the hill was a really spooky experience at first. Backing it in doesn't do it justice, especially the line Lash Mullin was taking. It looked like he was aimed right at the station because he came down the right hand white line with the bike sliding back and forth on from hard braking into the corner. He widened his line just a little as the track dried out. We had to cross the track three or four times, including a couple bikes tangled up in the 600 superbike race. Those guys were not taking any prisoners at all, and getting across the track was a challenge. Both riders were OK and they rode their bikes back to the paddock.

    We also got a lot of visitors throughout the day, and each time they left, we had to sweep mud off the track. Mud in turn three wouldn't be great. The track is a whole lot bigger when you are walking it looking for debris or bolts than it is when you are boiling down the hill. Seeing it from a stationary position is going to help a lot.

    Originally, I was going to cornerwork on Saturday and race Sunday. As it turns out, it was the way to go. The guy with chrome wheels seems like he is calming down in a hurry. He will never escape taking Monica out, but he seems like he is learning pretty quickly and working pretty hard on doing better. He was the kid who thought he was fast during the classroom session, and I was sitting next to him and his buddy, the moto dude. They didn't do themselves any favors with all their talking, either, but they seem like pretty decent kids now that they understand they have to start all over again.
  14. I don't remember if they tell us that in the riders' meeting or not. Maybe they should add it to the spiel if they don't.
  15. tophyr

    tophyr Forum Cripple

    Awesome man :) Excellent writing skills, I was glued to the story lol!
  16. Thanks to all the corner workers who manned the track, especially with all the first-time novices and the cloud of fail that follows! Also thanks for all the congratulations after racing back in the pits, good times!
  17. Thanks to those of you in turn 6 who helped me get all the mud out of my bike so that I could ride it back to the pits after crashing it during 650SS. :mfclap:

    At least I had a good perspective to watch the rest of the race right next to Bones. :rant
  18. .

    <---- The guy who ran off in 5 during the Saturday Novice session. What a tool :)

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