George McConnel's Track Day Experiences

Date:March 11, 2006
Track:Nashville SuperSpeedway
Bike:2001 Suzuki Hayabusa GSX1300R
Weather:Mostly Cloudy, High near 78f, gusty wind
Sponsor:Bloodworth BMW
Conducted By:Phil Wick

You really can't ask for better weather for a track day than overcast with warm (not hot) temperatures. The sun did come out for awhile during the afternoon, but was never a big factor in the visibility.

As in my previous track day experience, this track day was being sponsored by Bloodworth BMW and held under the auspices of the Phil Wick driving academy.

Because of weather conditions (the chance of rain was 60% that day although we only got sprinkled on one time for just a few minutes), the schedule had been changed at the last minute. Somehow I was not made aware of the change in schedule, so when I got there at about 9:30 AM (well before the advertised first session) they had already completed one 20 minute track session. I was very disappointed that I didn't get to ride in the first track session, but they only did low-speed parade laps, so I don't guess I really missed that much after all.

During the first session in which I rode, the rules had already been relaxed considerably. We were allowed to pass with few constraints other than we had to make sure we could complete the pass well before entering any curve. I managed to pass a few people during each session, which is always fun.

Among the people riding this time were my friend Tom Lees, Dewayne Henson and Catt Moss. Dewayne recently got his WERA racing license and has a nicely prepped SV650 which you can see in the images below. Tom had two bikes there, one of which was being ridden by his friend Charlie.

Early in each session I was careful to ride cautiously, as it takes a little time for the tires to heat up. These images were captured from video taken during the event, so they're not very high resolution.
Here I am powering out of turn 3.

Getting the hang of setting up for the various curves is an artform that nobody ever completely masters. It helps to follow (as I am doing in this picture) someone more skilled while trying to learn this skill. Charlie (riding on of Tom Lees' bikes) followed me for a couple of laps, then passed me so I could watch and try to imitate his lines. Getting the line right sure helps getting the lean right. Check out that knee scraping profile (didn't actually put my knee down though -- no knee sliders on those textile pants).
Charlie shows me some lines.

Dewayne Henson recently got his WERA racing license. His race-prepped SV650 looks sweet.
Dewayne Henson on his SV650.

Catt Moss is another friend I've met through our mutual acquaintance in motorcycle education. She rode her Ninja 250 during this track day and appeared to enjoy it. Dewayne took her bike out during one session and said it was a very fun bike for the track.
Catt Moss with her Ninja 250.

Tom Lees has several years experience racing in the WERA circuit. He really knows the lines around the Nashville SuperSpeedway. It's always fun to ride with him and learn from him and his buddies at these events.
Tom blisters around turn 3.

Charlie is one of Tom Lee's friends, and I enjoyed getting to know him as he shared some of his techniques with me. His bike had an oil leak, so Tom let him ride his spare bike during the day.
Charlie looks like he belongs on Tom's Ducati.

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