View Full Version : Snetterton 19/20th May - Wot I did bad !

21-05-14, 07:22 PM
This is written for the WB trackday gang who have texted, emailed and called me about the goings on in Norfolk this week - it's really not as bad as you have heard I'm sure :-)

Lucinda and I signed up for a track day with No Limits at Snetterton on Monday and Tuesday.

We have both done several before and had enjoyed some brilliant weather in Norfolk and were looking forward to it again. Monday’s forecast was sunny but Tuesday “iffy”!
We got there Sunday evening in time to meet Scotty & Vickie at the circuit who had come to give us some support and advice (the usual “brake less, accelerate more and lean further”) which is 100% true, but not that easy to do when you think you are “on the edge” already :-)
Following a nice pub grub we settled into our respective boudoirs (tent & van) to be woken by the dawn chorus of loud voices, crashing steel garage doors and the sun peeking through gaps in the back of the van.
The usual briefing (be good boys, not bad boys) and I was out first session. I say boys, but as we looked around the briefing we found about 139 men and Lucinda)! I don’t know why you ladies don't do trackdays, just think about it, just you and 139 hairy macho men (well, 138 and me) !

You usually do seven twenty minute sessions in the day, which may not sound a lot after the first one with only six left, but by lunchtime I’m knackered and by the seventh I’m ready for a shower & sleep.

Lucinda’s morning went OK, but looking at the “Novice” group, there seemed to be a lot of fast guys there and most were quicker than her. The fun in trackdays is overtaking, don’t be fooled by people who say it’s you versus the track – it’s a lie, it’s you versus the man in front.
The last session in the morning didn’t go quite to plan for me (as it seems many of you knew within minutes of it happening) as I got stuck behind a guy who was faster down the straights than me but held me up in the corners. I suffered this for a lap and a half and decided what was needed was a lunge round him at his slowest corner. This I managed to totally cock up and I entered it to fast on the wrong line resulting in me not being able to brake hard enough and running wide. This pushed him wide and apparently (all behind me) onto the grass. I was told that the guy following him also went grass tracking to for no apparent reason!

As I passed the chequered flag I realised it wasn’t chequered and declaring me the winner and a riding God, but a black flag which they were pointing at me and me only. As I’m sure you know, this isn’t good. Even our Scotty, who is well known for being a bad, bad boy sometimes hasn’t been black flagged. I made my way to the Marshal who was pointing at me. His first words were “are you 57” ? this confused me completely as I couldn’t think what my age had to do with anything – I then remembered that I’d chosen this number for the front of the bike in the winter and yes, I admitted, I was number 57, he explained that my riding had pushed somebody onto the grass and I had to go to see the organisers who were “waiting for me”
I met with the No Limits member of staff who had the allotted job of shouting at people who ride like knobs, who after I explained that it was simply crappy riding on my part said “no problem mate, we’ve all done it” and that was that. Sadly for my friends who were texting me, he didn’t rip my knee sliders off and throw them away or threaten the firing squad at dawn the next day or anything (sorry to disappoint you) lol

My sessions after lunch were a little more discrete and if in doubt I held back (still managed to stuff the three guys who were sharing our garage though) lol

By this time Lucinda was overtaking people and was coming back in with a beeming smile that reminded me of her last year at Cadwell, she was dead chuffed and I was really pleased for her. Go Lucinda, Go…
By my last session I was going as well as I had all day and we both finished the day with big grins.

Another early pub grub with Scotty & Vickie, a play on the swings and kiddies toys with Lucinda which turned into a competition on the bikes-on-springy-things which was even more dangerous than my riding that day, and an early night. Dreams of beating Rossi on his Yamaha and Lucinda on her bikey-springy-thing :-)

21-05-14, 07:22 PM
Next day was an “Open Pit Lane” which means that you can go out as much as you want that I’d booked up for whilst Lucinda put her Fireblade back into “road trim” and went to the coast for crab sandwiches and ice cream in the sun.
We had been warned at the briefing that there were quite a few racers on track that day and watching from the pit wall they were frighteningly fast. It took me a big gulp of courage to run up the pit lane and wait until I would be let out to join the fray. This went frightening wrong as, as I and another nervous guy waited to be let out on track there was an accident and a red flag (session closed until cleared). Within 4 seconds I realised what would happen next – the whole group of hot blooded maniacs would be sent to queue up in the pit lane – behind we two !!!
I seriously contemplated discovering a “problem” so I could sneak back to my garage and then onto the back of the group, but after exchanging very nervous glances at the guy next to me (shiny R6 and unused knee sliders) decided that I’d just “go-for-it” when the lights changed.

This I did, I got to the first corner expecting to be swamped by 30 blood thirsty looneys all looking to crash me but no, it didn’t happen. What followed was my fastest lap around Snetterton that I’ve ever done, I knew there were behind me and knew sooner or later I’d be getting cut up like mad, but by the end of the main straight nobody had overtaken me. My goal then was to get round and do a whole lap without them catching me and as I crossed the start / finish line I was absolutely thrilled, even shouting out a jubilant yahoo as I did it. In the next half a lap I was passed by half a dozen and by the end of the second lap at least another ten but I didn’t care, I was chuffed to bits.
I’ve no idea if there was a hold up at the lights behind me, if for some reason they were being just sensible on cold tyres (I wasn’t that lap) or if the fear of being cut to ribbons just helped me do a very quick lap, but I didn’t care.
I went out for four sessions up to lunch time, two of them about half an hour long and at the end of the last session before lunch was starting to lose concentration. A long hard think saw me decide to call it a day and not push my luck, Lucinda had returned, the sun was still out and I and the bike were in one piece. Call me chicken, but I think it was a good call.

It was brilliant being on track with some seriously quick young racers, although why they feel the need to pass you three inches away at twice your speed I’m unsure, saying that, I bet it’s fun for them
I had my previous days bad riding repaid to me when as I tipped into the apex at the Bomb Hole corner I spied a wheel near my right knee speedily followed by a very quick bike laid almost on it’s side. I stood up the bike, did a serious wobble and remembered to keep looking round the corner not where I was heading for the grass, and all was well. After you are “buzzed” a couple of times you get used to it and just have to admire the talent of the young riders.
Showered, and the van packed up, we headed West in time to see a lovely sunset over Poole.

If like me until three years ago, you have fancied doing a trackday, all I can say is do it. The time I’m on track, even at my modest speed, I’m having more fun than anything I’ve ever done in my life. It’s frightening, exhilarating and completely knackering but absolutely brilliant. Added to that the fun and frolics off track, the meals and the nattering in the garages in the evening is just great. Thank you Scotty, for encouraging me to give it a go.
Just also to thank my Snetterton Soul Mate Lucinda, who as many of you know is just fab company.


PS. If anybody wants a free “deathbed mattress” complete with unidentified stains, please call me, I was sure it would lure young ladies (or to be honest any ladies of whatever age) into my van on cold trackday nights – but alas I was mistaken. Now if I could just fit a small Jacuzzi in the back of the van I’m sure that would work ;-)

21-05-14, 08:50 PM
Entertaining write up :),don't think I'm talented enough for a track day :( ,what bike do you ride Gerry?

21-05-14, 09:54 PM
You've changed racer boy :) for the better, sounds a really good event, looking forward now to Llandow and rockingham, both next month :) and Gav, if you fancy giving it a go, theres a novice event with the southwest bikers 15th of august, good company, theres a few WBers going as well, as they hire the track its more a in house event, and a decent introduction to track riding.

21-05-14, 09:59 PM
Good to hear you enjoyed yourself, Gerry :cool:

21-05-14, 10:22 PM
Cheers Wes, I Know Cal Crutchlow managed to throw an xjr 1300 around a track i don't think I have the talent ,besides I'd be crying if I spilled it :)....

22-05-14, 06:41 AM
Gerry once again a brilliant write up.... Wish I could have joined you :-( but glad you enjoyed and had a amazing couple of days :-)
Will catch up soon G

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23-05-14, 02:25 PM
Come in number 57......haha!
Gerry I think you have red mist issues ;)

23-05-14, 03:10 PM
lol Shammy, I admit I do sometimes let my competitive nature over rule my safety-first instinct ;-)
I try to keep it in check, but sometimes it peeks out a little and gets me into trouble !

I do try though, see my Track Day check sheet (bottom item) lol


Gavuk, sorry, missed your question. It's a K5 GSXR750 trackbike (although I've just had it T&Td and it's road legal ish now).
That's the only trouble with Trackdays, you have a little dabble on your road bike, and the next minute, buying a trackbike is all you can think about - after that, it's just a slippery slope :-)

If you are half tempted, give it a go, you (probably) won't regret it :-)