Track Day Winner @ NCM

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Track Day Training – August 12-13, 2017

NCM Motorsports Park is adjacent to the National Corvette Museum and the Corvette assembly plant. It is “the largest car museum in the world dedicated to a single model” (http://motorsportspark.org/about/). Track Day Winner was hosting a motorcycle track day at the Motorsports Park, Miles Thornton was game to help Blake with training, and Mike was his ride to get there, so Blake was ready to go!

 

Miles is from Georgia and drove up to Bowling Green, Kentucky to meet Mike and Blake at the motorcycle track. Cam Moorehead, with AXcess Racing, LLC was kind enough to loan his motorcycle for Miles to ride and coach Blake. Cam is a huge promoter of motorcycle racing to kids and their families and this was another way he showed his passion. I suppose it takes a “moto-village” to raise up a motorcycle racer!

Saturday-Training on Honda RS125

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They got their training started Saturday morning; Miles put a Garmin camera on his motorcycle and rode behind Blake. After completing a session they would go back to the pits and Miles would play back the videos. He would show Blake where to improve, where he could get on the gas earlier/brake later, make passes, and so on. Blake spent the entire day on his Honda RS125 feeling like that was the motorcycle he should concentrate on.

Sunday-Training

So, Sunday Blake went out on the Yamaha R3 motorcycle for the first two sessions. Again, Miles gave him tips and ideas and talked about the lines he was taking around the track. He hopped back on his Honda RS125 and felt like he was able to translate what he learned earlier in the day, on the R3, to the RS. He was getting around the track in 2 minutes and 9 seconds at this point.

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As I’ve mentioned before, one of Blake’s strengths is how late he can brake going into a turn. Ironically, that has also been one of his weaknesses. Braking late and hard into a turn can be a huge asset while racing however it is not always the best strategy. For example, when you’re making passes through the turns you can’t always keep the line you want therefore, your strategy must change.

Blake told Miles that sometimes he loses RPM’s (motor power) when he can’t have the line he wants. He also asked for help figuring out how to take one of the hard left turns at NCM. So, they went out and Miles worked with him on those things. Before they even finished that session Blake had shaved a second off of his lap time.

Applying Skills Learned

Miles left the track before Mike and Blake did to get back home at a decent hour. Blake kept working on the things Miles had taught him and was determined to figure out that hard left turn that was giving him so much trouble. Blake did finally figure out the turn and shaved one more whole second off of his lap time; getting down to a 2:07.

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I asked Blake what was the best part of the Track Day Winner weekend. (I have to quote him because I don’t think I could translate the motorcycle lingo or the excitement you “hear” in what he says.) He scooted to the front edge of the seat to be right next to me, and giving himself enough room to hold on to his “air-handlebars” (instead of air-guitar), and lean his body into all of the turns he’s talking about, he begins teaching me just how to take this turn. He says, “You go into the turn with 4th gear pinned. Then, bust stop to hop the back end around. Set it down, finish the turn (but you have to keep the RPM’s up), and get back on the gas.” I’m no motorcycle racer and have no clue if that’s the way it should be done but it sure as heck sounds good!

Bikes & Blessings

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Mike, Blake, and I are thankful for the people that made this weekend happen.  There was an anonymous person who paid for Blake to attend this Track Day Winner event.  Then, there was Miles Thornton who was willing to give up his weekend and come coach Blake, pushing him to be a better motorcycle racer, and Cam Moorehead who let us use his motorcycle so that Miles could really push Blake.   He came home with smiles, faster lap times, and new goals…all in all I’d say it was a very good weekend.

Coming Soon

WERA is hosting a motorcycle race at Talladega GranPrix Raceway in Alabama August 19th and 20th. I will not be able to go to that race either. So, it will just be Mike and Blake again. I hate missing races but I hate missing what his siblings have going on as well. So, until next time…