Friday, April 16, 2010

supermoto school at Infineon

my buddy chris and i took a day off from work on Tuesday to go up to Infineon Raceway in Sonoma and learn some supermoto riding techniques. it was 8 guys and 2 groups, so 4 people plus an instructor on the track at one time. they ran it on the go kart track, and we did 4 different configurations of the track to keep things interesting.

after a couple sessions to get warmed up and some classroom training and drills, my group got moving pretty good. one guy brought his own bike, a KTM 450 SM, so he would routinely blow past everyone on the straights. it was an absolute blast, and almost the complete opposite of sportbike/street riding in terms of body position for cornering. balls on the tank, ass hanging slightly off the outside of the seat, foot sticking out on the inside, and outside elbow pointed way up. we also had some wet and dirty apexes to deal with, which made things interesting, you could feel the front end push, and using your foot to help keep it connected started to make sense.

as my confidence grew, my corner entries got faster and faster and i was trail braking hard on both brakes, sliding the rear end a bit, and scraping pegs through every turn. eventually i railed through a right hander with the bike decked out, and lost the front. the bike spun out in front of me and flipped off the track into the grass. i hopped to my feet and ran to pick the bike up, its wheels still spinning in 2nd gear (these things are near impossible to stall). the instructor was behind me, and pulled over to make sure i was OK. i was expecting him to tell me to head to the pits and sit the rest of the session out, but instead he offered me his bike, and i was on my way. needless to say i took it easy for the next couple sessions, focusing on weighting the outside peg and pushing the bike under me while keeping my body upright and as much weight as possible over the front tire. finished the day without any more drama, and learned a hell of a lot, especially about traction and using that rear brake.

i rigged up a helmet cam for the last session of the day. no fancy editing, just ~2 minutes of me chasing my friend Chris around the track. if you crank up the audio you can hear me banging off the rev limiter - we kept rotating bikes, and some were geared taller than others, some had slicks, some had dual sport tires, so it kept things very interesting.

anyway, it was a really great experience, with such underpowered bikes it definitely felt like the go kart racing equivalent of motorcycling.


Nic said...

looks like Mario Kart, you needed a power mushroom (or at least some red turtle shells)

Colin said...

haha yeah definitely could've used some power mushrooms, every time you see the camera looking down its because i'm hunching down and getting all my weight forward trying to get the little bike to go faster...