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Street to Track Blog: Track Days, Part II

To be totally honest, my first track day of 2016 started out as a complete disappointment. I arrived at Castrol Raceway's road course confident and ready to ride, having just successfully completed Justin Knapik's On Track Performance Race School less than 24 hours earlier. In seemingly no time at all, my intermediate group received a five-minute warning, and in the time that it takes to start your bike, put on your helmet and gloves and line up, I was out on the track.

Monday, 14 November 2016 12:40 Published in From Street to Track with Patrick Lambie


BMW introduces all-new G310GS, HP4 Race and R nineT Urban G/S

In addition to several updated models for the 2017, BMW Motorrad unveiled three brand-new bikes at EICMA in Milan, Italy on Thursday, October 10: The G310GS, HP4 Race and R nineT Urban G/S.

Thursday, 10 November 2016 16:41 Published in Industry News


From Street to Track: Track Days, Part 1

There is nothing that can replace the one-of-a-kind adrenaline rush that accompanies pushing the limits of a modern motorcycle. Having accepted that the most appropriate setting in which to do so is in a controlled environment, I dedicated the 2016 season to the track. After investing time and resources into preparing the bike, accumulating gear and equipment, and completing a race school, the next step was all about getting seat time, and for me that means track days.

The premise of a track day is really simple. For a fee you get to take your bike out onto the track and put in as many laps as the allotted time or your personal stamina allows. This particular type of adventure starts when you register for the session. For those who have never participated in a track day, the cost may seem steep, as much as $250 for the day, depending on the track and organization putting on the event. However, the math is really quite simple. If you get pulled over doing 160 km/h on the street you will, after a mandatory court appearance, incur fines that could reach a thousand dollars or more, plus legal fees. Conversely, when you hit 160 km/h, 200 km/h or even faster on the track, you get an ear-to-ear smile.

The other thing that typically happens during the registration process is that you are asked about which group level you will be riding in, usually described as novice, intermediate or expert. Some organizations provide very specific criteria while others leave it to you to assess. Basic rule of thumb is to be honest. If you are new to the track and have never completed a high performance on track school, you need to be in the novice group. At the same time if you are an expert level racer with black number plates on your bike, lapping in anything other than the expert group will quickly become a frustrating experience.

Upon arriving at the track it is time to focus on unloading and setting up your bike, gear and equipment. For those of us who transport our bikes in the back of a pickup truck, unloading and loading can be a challenge. The good news is that motorcyclists being motorcyclists, there are always multiple people ready and offering to help. If it is your first track day or a new track, one piece of advice is to ask for a pit area close by the organizer's tent or booth, and let them know. Their business model is built around you becoming a repeat customer, so they will definitely want you nearby where they can make sure you are having a good time and finding everything you need.

Once you are setup and have signed in, the next item on the agenda is the rider's meeting. This is the time when the organizers will welcome you, tell you what to expect during the day, review current track conditions and cover procedures and safety protocols. It doesn't matter where you are or how much experience you have, these meetings are not only mandatory but they are important. Not every group or track has the same rules, and something as universal as a red flag can have different implications for riders on the track at the time of the incident.

With all of the formalities out of the way, take some time to walk around the pit area to say hi to old friends and make some new ones. Then head back to your pit, get into your riding gear and warm up your bike. Before you know it they will be calling your group and it will be your turn to head out in the track, which is where we will pick up next time.

Thursday, 27 October 2016 14:17 Published in From Street to Track with Patrick Lambie


Leon Victorious In Superbike At Penultimate RACE Round

@shannonville •Shannonville, ON (August 8, 2016)- Royal Distributing sponsored Michael Leon earned a hard fought win at Shannonville Motorsport Park this weekend in the penultimate round of the R.A.C.E. SuperSeries in the Pro Superbike class.

Monday, 08 August 2016 11:17 Published in Reports, Results & Points


R.A.C.E. SuperSeries Round 3 Report

Shannonville, ON (july 2, 2016)- The weather was perfect for this weekend's Canada Weekend and the celebratory mood translated to some excellent racing on Shannonville Motorsports Park's short Nelson Circuit.

Monday, 04 July 2016 18:52 Published in Reports, Results & Points


VOS Motors and Yamaha Canada going racing with the Yamaha FZ-07

Yamaha’s very popular FZ-07 model has seen great success since its release to Canadian markets in 2015. The top-selling 689 cc parallel twin is a “versatile naked roadster (that) offers deep engine torque and a comfortable riding position in a lightweight, easy to handle sports chassis. It’s the perfect machine for both new and experienced riders alike who are looking for outstanding value.”

However, there are some in the motorcycle industry who believe the FZ-07 is capable of much more, and that it can also succeed as a competitive racetrack tool. Out to prove just that, VOS MOTORS, Yamaha’s five-star dealership in Concord, Ontario, has initiated a project, teamed with Yamaha Motor Canada and Acme  Motorsports’ expert race bike builder/pro road racer, Craig Atkinson.

A 2016 Yamaha FZ-07 is now being prepared for competition at popular Ontario road racing events (RACE Superseries and SOAR). When completed, Atkinson will be riding the bike in several racing categories, including BOTT (Twins), Open Sprint, Masters, and several Supersport categories.

Craig Atkinson, Acme Motorsports: “It’s our overall goal to demonstrate that, aside from being a great street motorcycle, the FZ-07 is also extremely capable of competing at the racetrack, especially in the Twins classes. Owners of this bike can very easily enjoy high performance riding with minimal mechanical work, on a very  affordable budget. I’m very excited about the program and I must thank VOS Motors and Yamaha Motor Canada for including me in this great opportunity!”

Matt Filion, Yamaha Motor Canada: “It’s great that passionate racers see the potential of the FZ-07 for more than its initial usage. The engine is the perfect platform for a middle weight race machine and with some minor chassis modifications you can have an inexpensive race bike. Yamaha is proud to be part of this project.”

A general information packet is available for anyone interested in learning more about how to take an FZ-07 to the track.

Follow the build process and updates at www.instagram.com/acmeracer4

Friday, 17 June 2016 10:29 Published in Industry News


R.A.C.E. Round 2 Report

Shannonville, ON (June 15, 2016)- After inclement weather conditions forced the re-scheduling at Round 1 of the R.A.C.E SuperSeries, hopes were high that things would improve for Round 2 this weekend.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016 06:49 Published in Reports, Results & Points


Trevitt's Blog: Backing it in

We see all the time now road racers "backing it in" to corners, sometimes with the rear end of the motorcycle out of line with the front just as much as dirt track or supermoto racers. Using engine braking or the rear brake, these riders are skidding the tire just enough that the rear end kicks out a certain amount under braking. Done properly with careful manipulation of the controls, this manoeuvre starts the motorcycle turning before the corner, effectively reducing the arc of the turn that must be completed.

How sideways the bike goes on the entry is determined partly by how much load is on the rear tire, and partly by the amount of slip (how much slower the rear tire is turning that the bike's actual speed). The wheel's load depends on how hard the rider is using the front brake to unload the rear end, and while some of the rear braking force can be provided by the rear brake itself, most modern four-stroke race bikes have more than enough engine braking for the desired amount of slip. While a very good rider can modulate the front and rear brakes and the clutch all at the same time for a beautifully controlled slide all the way to the apex of the corner, the goal is to have close to the right amount of skidding provided automatically so that the rider need only fine-tune the action.

One method to accomplish this is to use a slipper clutch, which reduces the effect of the engine braking to manageable levels so the rider does not have to be so precise with letting the clutch out. On most units, the amount of clutch slip and the point at which the slip initiates can be adjusted by changing the rate of and the preload on the clutch springs. Another method is similar to the old racer's trick to reduce engine braking by increasing idle, and current electronics systems slightly open a ride-by-wire throttle on deceleration. These systems can offer anything from a simple 1-2-3 level of adjustment to fully variable engine braking based on rpm, gear position, and more.

In series that don't allow elaborate electronics for engine braking control, however, we have to look to the chassis and ways of adjusting rear tire load in order to control how the motorcycle behaves on corner entry as the rear tire slips. In general, with more load the rear end will track straighter entering the corner, with less it will kick out more sideways. One way to address this is to raise or lower the whole bike, which affects how much load transfers under braking; with the motorcycle lowered slightly, for example, less load transfers to the front on corner entry and the rear tire stays more in line.

Another option is to make changes to the rear suspension to adjust the rear tire's reaction to a given load, rather than trying to adjust the amount of load. As an example, consider a rear shock setup with an amount of preload such that it takes 20 kg of load to even move the suspension; under braking, the rear tire will begin to skip and float across the pavement and go sideways if load goes below that 20 kg, because the suspension is topped out. By adjusting the spring rate or preload, we may be able to change that value so that the suspension begins to move with less or more load, altering when and how much the rear tire skids. Going a step further, we can even get creative with the top-out spring inside the shock to make that adjustment and influence corner entry behaviour without affecting the remainder of the suspension travel.

It all becomes a juggling act, with the slipper clutch, electronics package and suspension setup each playing a part. In an ideal setup, the bike backs into the corner just the right amount without requiring those precise clutch and rear brake inputs, allowing the rider to focus on more important aspects of the corner entry.

- By Andrew Trevitt

Friday, 27 May 2016 17:47 Published in Andrew Trevitt


Kawasaki Ninja 300 Exhibition - CTMP (Mosport), 2015

To celebrate the start of the 2016 CSBK season, enjoy this onboard video of the full Ninja 300 exhibition race #1 from Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, August 2015!

Friday, 27 May 2016 10:43 Published in Multimedia


Trevitt's blog: Ducati's MotoGP wings

Over the past several seasons of MotoGP, Ducati has occasionally experimented with wings on the side of the Desmosedici to influence its aerodynamic characteristics. Yamaha also used wings in the latter part of last season on the M1, and wings have sporadically appeared on other bikes in the past. Until late last year the wings in use have been quite small, but during testing this year the Ducatis have sprouted two very large wings on each side.

Friday, 26 February 2016 17:21 Published in Andrew Trevitt


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