Friday - Open Track Day...  Track days...an opportunity to take out your rig, and whip the crap out of it without worrying about the law, cars and all those other hazards that make riding fast on the street risky at best, and sometimes just lethal.  Carl and Brook stayed the night, Darren was stud enough to haul our bikes out from Seattle, Andy and myself drive out, and Alan met John in Tacoma, loaded up his bike, and came out late Thursday night.  John came up from Salem, Oregon...

The weather was perfect - high clouds, mid-seventies for temperature and no wind.  After an early breakfast, we get to the track around at 7:30, and start setting up a pit.  Unload the bikes, finish the prep, add gas, check tire pressures, and out we go.  Having raced at Spokane a few times, I was familiar with the layout - so the plan was for me to lead the guys around for a few laps to show them the lines and help them get comfortable with no speed limits, mirrors and the other distractions of the street.  This lasted just a couple laps as not everyone was comfortable staying real close, and once riders not in our group started getting in between us, it didn't make much sense to hang around.  So I did what any racer does on the track, I just uncorked my R1, and figured out what she could do!

Spokane is a nice track for an open class bike - and although it has two tight second gear turns, there are several stretches where the big bores can run.  The front straight seems endless, at nearly a mile long.  With the jump out of turn 11, I snuck peeks down to the speedo before I back off for turn 1 - several times I break 170, the fastest I see is 176.  Granted, these are off the speedometer, and probably optimistic, but hey, when that's all you got...  

Spokane Raceway Park turn map...

Turn 1 is a fast bend taken at around 135, it's job is merely to set you up for turn 2.  Turn 2 is a left-hand third gear downhill sweeper (around 75 - 80), loads of fun!  Coming out it's up an incline and over two rollers - each time easily lofting the front - the second at about 115.  It's up to about 135 to 140 or the top of fifth gear.  This constant acceleration all the time is around a bend called turn 3, the outer verge of which is off-camber.  Next on the brakes hard, and down two gears to third through turn 4, a 120 degree reducing radius right hander.  Out of 4, accelerate up a gear around turn 5, a left kink, in to 6.  Turn 6 is a wickedly slow second gear 180 degree left hand hairpin.  Enter wide and late apex to come out tight to set up for 7, another second gear 160 degree right hander.  Stand it up and pull the trigger, and row the gears.  Simply hold on through turn 8 (fourth gear - about 120), get into to third for turn 9, a flat left hander.  You miss turn 9, and 20 feet later you're climbing a 30 foot berm!  Accelerate in third through turn 10, a right hand kink, and then sweep into turn 11 - a lovely left hand sweeper (around 80).  Line it up coming out of 11, and simply row the gears down the straight.  That's a lap of Spokane...click on the thumbnail to the left and follow along.

There were numerous cameras, so pictures were taken by everyone...  Click on the thumbnails to view the pictures full size...

Beginning of the trip for John...John's trip was the longest...  Here he catches his rig before the long ride up I-5 from Salem to Tacoma.  In Tacoma, he meets Alan, they load his rig into Alan's truck for the 300 mile journey to Spokane.

Racer food...makes you go fast!John searches for some racer food (dinner) at around 10:30 at night.  He settles for The Bomb...  How will this bode for his riding the next day?

Must be the right place...Arriving at around 2:30 in the morning, Alan and John search for the right hotel...  Let's see, racing trailers, this must be the right place.

Heading to the track...Tom and Andy head to the track...the excitement builds...

Carl and Tom help Darren...Once at the track, everyone shows up, and we unload the bikes.  Here, Tom and Carl help Darren prep his rig ('01 GSXR 750)

John getting it going...John starts getting his rig ready, preferring to work on it while in the truck, and tied down.  ('01 R6)

Pits in the morning...As we get set up, our pits slowly grow... John getting his bike ready...John progresses on his bike... Darren working on his bike...Darren, left to his own devices, sets the trigger on his smoke bomb.  Let's see, just put two turns on the oil fill cap, that should be just about right...
SV waiting for the final break-in...The brand new SV gets ready to complete it's break-in.  At this point, it has 45 fairly easy street miles on it.  Sorry kid, it gets a little tougher from here on out... Morning pits...The pits look more and more ready...  Carl's '01 ZX-9, Alan's '97 YZF-600, the '03 SV-650 race bike, Tom's '00 R1, Brook's '01 GSXR 750... More morning work in the pits...John completes the process of detaching his rear lights, while Brook's GSXR and Tom's R1 wait in the wings.
John and Tom...About ready to go, Tom gives John some tips before heading out... Alan in Turn 8...Out on the track, Alan comes out of Turn 8... Darren pounding a banana...Darren pounds down a banana as he waits to hit the track...
Brook follows a racer out of Turn 11...Out on the course, Brook follows a racer out of Turn 11... John discussing his first trip on the track...After the first session, John gives us his impression of the experience.  For most street riders, the first time out on the track is a big dose of reality - yes, the bikes can do a bunch more than you thought... Carl in Turn 7...Using his Sully School experience, Carl shows us his line through Turn 7...
Tom inspecting tires...Following the first session, Tom checks out the tires to make sure no one is going out over-inflated...(He also looks for them chicken-strips!) Butterfly trying to get back for lost friends...A butterfly, distraught from the senseless destruction of his brothers on the windscreens of thrill seekers, tries to eat John's front end... Darren in Turn 7...Darren shows us his ability to lean a motorcycle in Turn 7.  Hey, why hang off when you have all of that ground clearance anyway?
Brook in Turn 11...Brook shows us his line through Turn 11... John, Tom and Andy...Tom follows John through Turn 7 with Andy close on his tail on the SV... Brook in Turn 11...Brook rails through Turn 11...
John leading Brook in Turn 8...John leads Brook out of Turn 8... Discussion in the pits...During lunch, we talk about the morning sessions...and the bench racing begins! John in Turn 11...John shows us his stuff in Turn 11...
Some Clowns Racing - the Pit...Our pits become busy in the afternoon...  As the day wears on, these guys realize there's a bit of work getting a motorcycle around a race track fast... Darren in Turn 8...Darren comes out of Turn 8... John railin' through Turn 11...John shows us more stuff in Turn 11...
Tom catching traffic in Turn 11...Out on the SV, Tom whips it through Turn 11...

Darren, John, Andy and Carl in Turn 7...Darren leads John, Andy and Carl out of Turn 7...  The guy on the RC is obviously lost!

Pits late in the day...The Some Clowns steeds, lined up late in the day...
Alan out of Turn 8...Here, we get Alan coming out of Turn 8... John in Turn 11...A closer view of John's style through turn 11... Tom out of Turn 8 on the R1...Tom keeps the trigger pinned on the R1 coming out of Turn 8...
Tom on the SV in Turn 11...Tom apexes the SV in Turn 11... Some Clowns at the end of the day...A good day, no one crashed, everyone had fun.  Some Clowns will return for another day... Tom out of Turn 8...On of the three spots where it's point and shoot on the R1 - turn 8 was a lot of fun...
After a long day at the track...Carl and Brook had to take off right after the track shut down.  The rest of us put our bikes back together, and head into Spokane for some good food and spirits.  I'd say we also got a bit of sun...

Cheers -

 

 

<< previous page...

...next page >>

Back to Tom's racing...

Home - Contact - Search - Guest Book - What's Tom Up To

All content on this page is Copyright 2004, and can not be reproduced without the expressed permission of themarxes.us.

Accumulated page views since July 18, 2002: Hit Counter