Not exactly how I wanted to end the last session of my third trackday.
Let’s get the damage report out of the way real quick:
- Zero injuries (not counting my pride)
- Ripped leathers
- Bent/cracked radiator
So here’s what happened, its actually not that exciting, traumatic, or dramatic. The short version is that a coach waved me by to pass him right as I was setting up the turn. I’m looking left and his wave draws my attention to the right. I target fixate on the coach, realize I blew my entry, decide to just ride off into the grass, locked up the front brake on said grass, and dropped the bike at less than 10 mph.
Captured in full HD glory (skip to 5:45 if you just want to see me stick the landing):
So how did this happen? Let’s break down all of the factors that led to my embarrassing flop. It all centers around mental capacity. In this moment a lot was going on when I was pushing my hardest and when I was the most tired.
Fatigue - it was the 7th 20 minute session of the day and I was getting tired. I’d seen 2 other riders go off in that same turn right in front of me and I was able to rapidly rip my focus from the crashing rider back to the turn, but this instance I hesitated a moment too long.
Inexperience/Overconfidence - This was my first trackday where passing was allowed (on straights). In my previous track days I never really had to think too much about what the other riders were doing since we were in controlled groups. Dealing with traffic when riding at my full pace requires use of additional mental capacity. Eventually things become second nature, but the first few times requires more thought. There was no need for last-session heroics and I got too excited because I was having a ton of fun with my coach since were were both on SV’s and I was really feeling confident. I wasn’t planning on passing the coach, but when he waved me I thought about it for a moment too long.
Target Fixation - Oh man this is such a bitch. It is so tough to not look at a crashing motorcycle. You really have to peel your focus off of the bike in front of you. It will get easier, but the first time someone laid it down right in front of me was a real eye opening experience. The coach’s wave was a little thing, but this time it was enough.
Its stupidly easy to say in hindsight, but yeah I should have just tipped the bike in and made the turn. However a lot was going on and I made the decision to stand the bike up, lay on the brakes, and ride off. I don’t think that was a bad choice, it just ended a little poorly since I stayed on the front brake a moment too long. Thankfully it didn’t end in tears and I learned a lot.
Really the part I was most upset about was being unable to ride the second day of the event. No-one had a spare radiator and my leathers were too badly ripped from where they caught the handlebar on my way down.
It still was a lot of fun harassing and passing much more powerful bikes on stock SV650 with sport-touring tires. Thankfully I found a new radiator from a local SV racer so Ruby will be back on the road by the end of the day!
#hoverbike (forks are off to check for straightness)
Keep the shiny side up! (for real though)