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Old 09-11-2012, 12:25 PM   #1
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2nd track day -> Group B?
Did my first track day last month in Group C at the Motorcorsa PIR event. Group C via motorcorsa is guided track time/mandatory classroom in the morning, then open lapping and passing on the straights in the afternoon.

Took me about two sessions to get comfortable with the track environment and then my pace started picking up. By the afternoon I was spending a good amount of time sitting behind some of the other riders in the corners and having to pit to let them go ahead, since some of these guys were riding liter bikes and pinning it down the front straight making passing impossible.

There definetly were a few guys who were faster than me but I know at least one guy in that group was told he should've been in group B from the get go.

At any rate, by lunch I'd hit a wall and I didn't really feel like I could stretch my legs and start working on picking up my speed until the last 2/3 sessions of the day when some of the slower riders apparently called it quits (crazy right?) The only advice I was given in the morning was that I should smooth out my inputs but that my throttle control was spot on, so I think they were focusing their attention much more on the serious beginners.

Apparently the pace in group C was slower than normal that day with some real novices unaccustomed to accelerated riding of any kind, so it could be that I just picked a bad day. In fact at one point myself, the instructor, and another guy found ourselves at the end of the front straight with nobody else in sight, the back of our group was tentative enough that they were getting left during the little peleton drafting maneuver they do to change up the order. The class sessions were basic theory stuff that I'm very familiar with so wasn't much of a benefit, so I dont want to hear it twice.

If the whole day was like the last half of the afternoon that would be my ideal learning pace at this point - but I don't want to spend $180 just to have to sit in traffic for 5 sessions to get up to it.

Long story short - I'm debating going in at B level and if it turns out I'm just getting my doors blown off and being an impediment I'll drop down to C, but given that I was able to hang with some of the guys that got bumped to B (for a lap or two at least until their tires got hot) I doubt it.

So anyway, is moving up to B on my 2nd day a dumb move? Any quick anecdotes on when it's a safe bet to move up?

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Last edited by PDXGSXR; 09-11-2012 at 12:29 PM..
 

Old 09-11-2012, 12:34 PM   #2
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Depends on the org. Several of them don't require the C groupers to do lead/follow half the day. I personally would rather see you start low and then get bumped up, as opposed to the other way around. Just seen too many C groupers want to bump up before they were ready and cause havoc for the rest as they have to avoid their erratic lines. Not trying to speak down on you, in fact, I haven't even seen you ride.

A good idea is to simply grab a marshall and ask them to follow you for a few laps and see if they feel you are good to go. They will gladly do it, and you will probably learn quite a bit either way.

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Old 09-11-2012, 12:36 PM   #3
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Talk to a control rider about it, if they think you should then do it. Sounds to me like you should. If you are uncomfortable in B go back to C. I got my first taste of A class last weekend. At the end of the day I was pretty fatigued so I dropped to B for the last session.

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Old 09-11-2012, 12:45 PM   #4
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Number of track days you've done isn't a good indication; I did my first track day ever in B and I was perfectly comfortable. If you're faster than most C riders, sign up for B. You can always bump back down.

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Old 09-11-2012, 12:53 PM   #5
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“ Quote:
Originally Posted by shakazulu12 View Post
Depends on the org. Several of them don't require the C groupers to do lead/follow half the day. I personally would rather see you start low and then get bumped up, as opposed to the other way around. Just seen too many C groupers want to bump up before they were ready and cause havoc for the rest as they have to avoid their erratic lines. Not trying to speak down on you, in fact, I haven't even seen you ride.

A good idea is to simply grab a marshall and ask them to follow you for a few laps and see if they feel you are good to go. They will gladly do it, and you will probably learn quite a bit either way.
The problem is it's all group riding the first half of the day, so there's no opportunity to ride at your own pace with an instructor following you, it's all follow the leader. The morning group C pace is definitely not B pace. The only opportunity to get bumped up is after lunch during open laps, and at that point the day is 2/3 over.

Keeping a line isn't a problem, I've raced cars a little and am comfortable drawing a line and sticking to it, as well as avoiding going in to hot for my comfort level and running wide.

If they had an open lapping group C option like 2fast etc and I could get some one-on-one time with a marshal in the morning and get the thumbs up that would be ideal. But, since they don't I'm leaning towards going for B and letting a marshal know the 411 during the first session and if they think I'm out my league, I'll drop.

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Last edited by PDXGSXR; 09-11-2012 at 12:58 PM..
 
Old 09-11-2012, 04:44 PM   #6
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“ Quote:
Originally Posted by PDXGSXR View Post
The problem is it's all group riding the first half of the day, so there's no opportunity to ride at your own pace with an instructor following you, it's all follow the leader. The morning group C pace is definitely not B pace. The only opportunity to get bumped up is after lunch during open laps, and at that point the day is 2/3 over.

Keeping a line isn't a problem, I've raced cars a little and am comfortable drawing a line and sticking to it, as well as avoiding going in to hot for my comfort level and running wide.

If they had an open lapping group C option like 2fast etc and I could get some one-on-one time with a marshal in the morning and get the thumbs up that would be ideal. But, since they don't I'm leaning towards going for B and letting a marshal know the 411 during the first session and if they think I'm out my league, I'll drop.
I think you have the right idea honestly. Just grab a marshal the first session and ask for pointers etc. They will let you know. Also, since you already seem to know its not so much about your speed as it is consistency of line, then you have a leg up on most people bumping up. Faster riders will find a way around you if you are consistent.

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Old 09-11-2012, 05:06 PM   #7
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I take it your next day is with MotoCorsa?

Just talk to a control rider, they'll figure it for you.

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Old 09-11-2012, 06:32 PM   #8
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Thats the problem with providers that have too many passing rules.

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Old 09-11-2012, 06:57 PM   #9
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I think it is different with other track day providers. Most providers will allow you to ride at your own pace as long as you aren't being a problem (yourself and) with other riders that may be slower. You should try another provider and see if there is a difference with your enjoyment of the track day.

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Old 09-11-2012, 07:56 PM   #10
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The speed of the different levels will vary from provider to provider, and day to day.

I spent about 6 trackdays in the beginner group with the provider I used in Texas. The pace varied day to day, but I can tell you that the pace was definitely quicker in level 1 than what I saw in one day up here. There were only a few riders on each day that were first timers, whereas the day I did up here was mostly first timers. That will usually have the biggest effect on the level 1 pace. I actually signed up for level 1 my first time up here due to the fact that I hadn't been on a track in nearly a year and never at PR, but after the first session moved up to 2.

I would say bump up to level 2 and see what it feels like. If you feel like you are out of your element, and you aren't hanging with anyone and are only being passed and not doing any passing or pacing, then ask an instructor to take a look at you. 20 minutes on track is long enough to find people close to your pace, intentionally or not. If you feel like you're getting in the way, chances are the you might be.

Honestly, self evaluation is something that a lot of riders lack. Every day I've attended, I've ran into people who I felt were in the wrong group, be it up or down. Just keep in mind that group 2 can run quite the spread of riders, from racers all the way down to new guys. Don't ride above your head and stay as consistent as you can be.

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Old 09-11-2012, 10:27 PM   #11
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I did similiar. Just go into intermediate/200/whatever humbly, as you just might be the slowest guy out there. Trying to fix that instantly is a recipe for disaster.

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Old 09-13-2012, 01:58 PM   #12
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“ Quote:
Originally Posted by wazzu mille View Post
I think it is different with other track day providers. Most providers will allow you to ride at your own pace as long as you aren't being a problem (yourself and) with other riders that may be slower. You should try another provider and see if there is a difference with your enjoyment of the track day.
I probably would've signed up for the open C at 2fast tomorrow, but, I'm taking pity on my buddy. He came with to the previous day (his first time as well) and failed tech with leaky fork seals so they signed him up for this one instead - told him I'd roll with if he got his bike squared away.

If everything goes well I'm considering hitting the motorfit day at ORP next weekend, then again it's about time to buy a season pass for ski season and that would involve renting a trailer etc etc, so maybe next year

Anyway, I'm giving B a shot Monday, I've got no problem keeping my shit at 85%, making sure people can get around me if I am in fact a road block, and dropping if I can't pace anyone - but I think I should be in the ballpark. Breaking a leg, rib, and collarbone or two in my teens learning to ski and mountain bike was valuable experience in the difference between going fast enough to get faster, and going fast enough to earn a scrip for vicodin.

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Last edited by PDXGSXR; 09-13-2012 at 02:06 PM..
 
Old 09-13-2012, 04:06 PM   #13
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I honestly don't think speed is the problem when moving groups as much as people make it out to be. Just maintain steady lines and everyone else will find their way around you safely. I mean, don't go 85 mph down the front straight at PIR or anything, but you get the idea.

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Old 09-13-2012, 04:09 PM   #14
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It's definitely a judgement call. I spent my first track day in beginner group getting stuck behind people... went to intermediate the second day and felt much more at home, even being in around the last 1/3 or so in terms of pace.

After a handful of more trackdays I find myself consistently near the front of the intermediate group, but I tell you what, the jump from intermediate to expert is a lot larger and higher stakes than the jump from beginner to intermediate. Intermediate is really the most mixed group in terms of skill level. You've got the slower guys who are at least comfortable enough with more relaxed passing rules, and then you've got the faster guys who can really rip but are still getting a consistent rythm and skillset down.

I rode with an intermediate/expert mixed group for a day and quickly realized that I'm best suited to hold back for now - leading a pack is often times better than holding up the fastest guys who will likely stuff their way by you at some point which might throw you off your concentration and confidence. I can tell you right now there are definitely some guys who jump to expert way too soon... some right here on this forum (you know who you are). Jumping into expert when you run 2:10's+ at The Ridge? Give me a break. But I digress...

Anyhow that last part doesn't apply to you yet, but keep this in mind as you progress through your skill levels. Give intermediate a shot, and if it doesn't work out then talk to a marshall and then can probably just bump you back down even if it's only after a couple of sessions.

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Old 09-14-2012, 07:44 AM   #15
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“ Quote:
Originally Posted by KNanthrup View Post
It's definitely a judgement call. I spent my first track day in beginner group getting stuck behind people... went to intermediate the second day and felt much more at home, even being in around the last 1/3 or so in terms of pace.

After a handful of more trackdays I find myself consistently near the front of the intermediate group, but I tell you what, the jump from intermediate to expert is a lot larger and higher stakes than the jump from beginner to intermediate. Intermediate is really the most mixed group in terms of skill level. You've got the slower guys who are at least comfortable enough with more relaxed passing rules, and then you've got the faster guys who can really rip but are still getting a consistent rythm and skillset down.

I rode with an intermediate/expert mixed group for a day and quickly realized that I'm best suited to hold back for now - leading a pack is often times better than holding up the fastest guys who will likely stuff their way by you at some point which might throw you off your concentration and confidence. I can tell you right now there are definitely some guys who jump to expert way too soon... some right here on this forum (you know who you are). Jumping into expert when you run 2:10's+ at The Ridge? Give me a break. But I digress...

Anyhow that last part doesn't apply to you yet, but keep this in mind as you progress through your skill levels. Give intermediate a shot, and if it doesn't work out then talk to a marshall and then can probably just bump you back down even if it's only after a couple of sessions.
I don't doubt it, I watched group A last time - serious guys (& a few ladies.) I imagine, that if it's anything like skiing, you can relatively quickly work your way up to some level of intermediate and have a good time puttering around medium and some advanced terrain, but after that it can take years to really become what people would consider an expert and confidently attack the serious stuff.

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Old 09-14-2012, 08:01 AM   #16
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“ Quote:
Originally Posted by mgfchapin View Post
Number of track days you've done isn't a good indication; I did my first track day ever in B and I was perfectly comfortable. If you're faster than most C riders, sign up for B. You can always bump back down.
Bad advice. There is a reason why its called the beginner groups for a reason. It's like a ladder. You don't just up to the middle of a ladder. You start at the bottom.

If you're being held up and want to advance. Talk to a control rider/instructor/marshall. If a particular track day provider isn't working out to what you like, try a different provider.

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Old 09-14-2012, 08:07 AM   #17
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Joined: Feb 2011
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“ Quote:
Originally Posted by dwschultzy View Post
Bad advice. There is a reason why its called the beginner groups for a reason. It's like a ladder. You don't just up to the middle of a ladder. You start at the bottom.
That's ridiculous, you can't tell everyone they need to do X number track days before they can go to B, then X more before they can go to A. Some people progress faster than others, and this dude sounds like he's ready to move up.

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Old 09-14-2012, 08:07 AM   #18
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“ Quote:
Originally Posted by KNanthrup View Post
It's definitely a judgement call. I spent my first track day in beginner group getting stuck behind people... went to intermediate the second day and felt much more at home, even being in around the last 1/3 or so in terms of pace.

After a handful of more trackdays I find myself consistently near the front of the intermediate group, but I tell you what, the jump from intermediate to expert is a lot larger and higher stakes than the jump from beginner to intermediate. Intermediate is really the most mixed group in terms of skill level. You've got the slower guys who are at least comfortable enough with more relaxed passing rules, and then you've got the faster guys who can really rip but are still getting a consistent rythm and skillset down.

I rode with an intermediate/expert mixed group for a day and quickly realized that I'm best suited to hold back for now - leading a pack is often times better than holding up the fastest guys who will likely stuff their way by you at some point which might throw you off your concentration and confidence. I can tell you right now there are definitely some guys who jump to expert way too soon... some right here on this forum (you know who you are). Jumping into expert when you run 2:10's+ at The Ridge? Give me a break. But I digress...

Anyhow that last part doesn't apply to you yet, but keep this in mind as you progress through your skill levels. Give intermediate a shot, and if it doesn't work out then talk to a marshall and then can probably just bump you back down even if it's only after a couple of sessions.
Great advice. I did the same. I was actually asked by track day providers to move up groups when it was necessary. I was told each time that I was getting held up and not advancing and that moving up to the next group would be the best thing.


Don't just assume you're ready. Talk to the staff and ask them if you're ready.

Guys who just jump groups because they think they're ready are usually the ones who create problems. Take your time. Ask the track day staff for help. That's what they're there for. If they don't help, change track day providers, find the one that fits you the best.

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Last edited by dwschultzy; 09-14-2012 at 08:42 AM..
 
Old 09-14-2012, 08:45 AM   #19
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“ Quote:
Originally Posted by mgfchapin View Post
That's ridiculous, you can't tell everyone they need to do X number track days before they can go to B, then X more before they can go to A. Some people progress faster than others, and this dude sounds like he's ready to move up.
Did I say you have to do x amount of track days before moving up any group?

I said there is an order to how you go about moving up, follow it.

Do we need to go into detail about what happens when you don't follow the protocol for groups at a track day? I know I don't need to, do you?

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Old 09-14-2012, 09:02 AM   #20
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“ Quote:
Originally Posted by dwschultzy View Post
Did I say you have to do x amount of track days before moving up any group?

I said there is an order to how you go about moving up, follow it.

Do we need to go into detail about what happens when you don't follow the protocol for groups at a track day? I know I don't need to, do you?
Your ladder analogy insinuates it, and my point is it's wrong, because people start doing track days at much different skill levels. Not everyone needs to start in beginner group, because it's not appropriate to stick someone who's done 10,000 miles dragging knee on back roads in the same track day group as a guy who's had his endorsement for 6 months.

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