Bike Magazine Trackday – Cadwell, 19th July 2012

So the week before my track day I was looking at the weather and thinking that I might as well of chucked my £100 in the bin, at least I would have been warm and dry!!! The day before the weather had improved enough for me and Busaburt to manage a spin out on the Busas but the forecast was still pretty crap with rain throughout the day. The trackday was the second road bike only Bike Magazine reclaim our tracks day at Cadwell, I went to the last one earlier in the year and had such a good day I thought I had to give it a go again. The day is split into two Novice groups and one combined Inters/Advanced group. I had booked into the Inters/Advanced, I like these days as the bikes have to be road legal so no slicks are allowed and no tyre warmers. This tends to keep the nutters away so I feel happier in the Inters, I must admit at more traditional trackdays I do get intimidated by all the race metal that turns up on slicks with tyrewarmers. I have chickened out before and got moved to the Novice group after turning up and seeing all the race kit in the paddock at a previous trackday.

As usual I turned up late at Cadwell after a surprisingly enjoyable ride there in the wet. When I got there the briefing was just starting so I had to wait to register until after it had finished. As the Inters/Advanced were going out first the lady doing the registration asked for people in that group first. I was the first in the queue in the inters, there were a few Novices in front of me but still someone came rushing up from the back of the queue waving his Isle of Man licence saying he was in the Inters group. Of course he got served before me, he eventually realised that I was in the Inters group too and said he was sorry to have pushed in. I got my own back later in the day when I lapped him in several different sessions!!! While I was signing in and growling atIsle of Maner…. man Busaburt took my bike for its noise test and dropped the tyre pressures down to 30psi front and rear.

I had to rush to get to the bike and then get to the holding area so much so that I didn’t have chance to put my ear plugs in. I got to the holding area just in time to go out with the last instructor for the obligatory sighting laps, for some reason there was only four of us! The track was damp all over but it was drying quickly. After the three sighting laps we returned to the holding area before being let out to finish our session. The track was drying quickly and the dry line was getting wider and wider. The second session, I managed to get my ear plugs in and I tried to get my lap timer on my phone working. I was trying to use my Bluetooth GPS receiver as it updates five times a second rather than once a second as the internal GPS in my phone does, but for some reason while it linked up with my phone it just didn’t manage to pick up any satellites. The second session was better with the track drying even more and I was able to up the pace a little more. I gave up with the external GPS receiver for the third session and used the internal GPS receiver in my phone, my lap timer worked impeccably for the rest of the day. Now the group I was in was menat to be the Intermediate/advanced but we were very much a mixed bag. There were a few riders that were around my speed (I must have been in the top 5 in lap times) then there were a mixed bunch about 5 seconds off my pace and then there were a few riders that should of definitely been in the Novice group. I never understand why people put themselves up for a group that they really are not fast enough for, surely having other riders fly past you with that much speed differential would un-nerve them but it seems not. Last track day there was a Hayabusa in the Inters group who wasn’t very fast overall as he was quite fast on the straights but sooo slow in the bends, he was a bugger to overtake. My only thought s that he thought I have a really fast bike I must be better than the Novice group. In our group there was a Blackbird who virtually stopped before each corner, and wasn’t much faster on the straights, there was also a chap on a Ducati Diavel who was slow everywhere. The funny thing is that I was talking to a bloke later who had spoken to the Diavel rider, he was saying that Mr Diavel said that his bike was the handled soo well that he never got overtaken in the bends, he said that he only got overtaken on the straights because he was running it in. The chap I was talking to said Mr Diavel  must be deluded as he had lapped him in a couple of sessions and as he was on a KTM Supermoto 640 single the only place he could overtake him was in the bends. I overtook him several times in the day and did so in the bends and the straights. My lap times for the first session that I managed to time was all around2:00mins to2:05mins, as I was still upping my speed due to the drying track I was very happy with this time.

The last session before lunch my times were once again around the 2:00mins to 2:04mins with my best lap of 1:59mins which I was happy with. I have started to get faster since my little blip when I had to change my style of riding. When I changed to hanging off my laptimes dropped off, though I think the instructor who advised me that the only way to get faster was to hang off was right. There was a chap out there on a Speed Triple, he was fast but he didn’t hang off at all, he didn’t even shift his upper body across. I was faster than him in the bends but he was over much further than I was, I was seriously worried that he would deck something solid out and it would have him off. He really needs to start hanging off, if he did and he got the hang of it he would be a seriously quick rider!!!

After lunch the weather had improved yet again and the whole track was dry so I upped my pace to 100% this resulted in all my laps being just over 2;00 mins except one that I managed to do in 1:57mins which I was very happy with. I was trying different things all over and I could feel the improvements with the flow of the lap. One thing that I was doing was going through Coppice faster and not braking for it. The other thing that I was doing was trying to not throttle off too much over the mountain as Busaburt thought that I was wasting a lot of time there. One rider that I noticed particularly during this session was the aforementioned KTM rider, he was fast. He was knee down all over the place and was obviously enjoying the handling of his bike. I spoke to him after the session and we chatted for a while I said I was sorry for overtaking him on the straight and then holding him up in the bends. He was impressed with how I was going and he was surprised when I told him my bike was a 600!!! He said up to this point he had only been overtaken 3 times and I had overtaken him twice!!!!!!!

On the second session after lunch I was happily minding my own business and making progress through the pack when a MZ Agusta came past, well that was like red rag to a bull. I always tend to ride faster when I’m chasing someone, I would be rubbish leading a race, as I was chasing this chap I felt that I was holding my own and could keep with him. We caught up some slower riders and he got past them much quicker than I could. This meant that I had some work to do to get back on his case. By the end of the session I was back behind him, he must of sensed me there as he kept looking over his shoulder at me. My laptimes were all under 2:00mins, apart form the one I got caught behind the slower riders with a best lap of 1:55mins, my best ever lap round Cadwell!!!!! I was sooo chuffed.

On the last session of the day I started well but soon caught up with a chap on a New BMW S1000RR, he was very difficult to overtake, I was definitely lapping faster than him but I just couldn’t get past him. While I was trying to line him up a chap on a Fireblade snuck past me. Rather than get frustrated behind them I decided to dive intot he holding area and come out on the track in a different relative position to them so I could get on riding how I wanted rather than having to force my way past them. Unfortunately Busaburt and my niece, who come to take some photos for me, were not privy to my descision so they saw the bikes I had been dicing with come round without me in tow. Busaburt said to my niece, I don’t want to tell Er in Doors that he’s binned it and my niece replies don’t worry about her but who’s going to tell his Mum?!!!!!! When I eventually went past they said they all breathed a sigh of relief.

About The Author


Ambitious Amateur Mechanic, with a slight (OK not slight) Suzuki bias