27 November 2006
Pikey-Honda XR400 “Motard”
Big & Tall-Honda NSR150
Jonadda-Honda CBR 150
Silver Hawk-Suzuki Djebel 250
Usually it seems we have an abundance of Dave’s at events, but this time I was outnumbered by the J’s……….
Justin (Big & Tall), Jeff (Pikey), John (Jonadda), Jarunee (Thim) and myself. The occasion was supposedly to ring out Pikey’s new XR400 “Motard”, but we all decided to turn it into a full fledged misfit’s track day.
We met at Chiang Mai Speedway at about 10:30AM and Justin and Jeff were the first on the track.
After an “enjoyable” morning working at his guesthouse (go ahead ask him), John showed up and was soon out there showing us how to do it….
After watching John’s band play at the 3 Kings monument the night before, and a few beers, it was agreed that Thim would be our “Umbrella Dolly” and I would be our photographer and timer.
That was vetoed after all of about 30 seconds and she was off on Justin’s bike turning laps and leaning into the corners.
I couldn’t take standing and watching for very long and I was soon off on Jeff’s Super Motard. It didn’t take long and we were all swapping bikes and having a great time.
I decided to pay the 80 baht and bring out the Suzuki. I thought the top box and windscreen (not to mention the knobby tires) kind of gave it a “classic look”.
John and Jeff did some suspension tweaks and Jeff was gaining more confidence.
On one lap I saw Jeff’s 400 in the distance and thought I would go have a little race with him. Soon I saw the pink jacket and I knew that certainly wasn’t Jeff. Jeff had put Thim on the 400. She tried every bike out there and did quite well at that (of course I’m a little biased).
On a serious note, it was a good chance to give Thim some tips on braking and downshifting for corners, and we also did a number of panic stop drills on the main straight. I actually stepped in front of her on the straight and she had the rear tire literally smoking and the front forks completely compressed as she grabbed a handful of brake (thank goodness). For 80 baht each to use the track, it is a great way to teach someone how to safely handle a motorcycle. We also enjoyed her movements so much when she explained how she liked it when the back wheel slid from side to side that we had her tell us 4 more times.
We had said we would stay at the track for about 1 hour or so; closer to 3 hours later they were showing us the “One More Lap” sign as they had some customers renting Go-karts. We agreed it was time to call it a day and go for some lunch.
We sat around the pits telling our lies and exaggerating our skills until the Go Karts finished running. I hadn’t ridden John’s bike yet so I took it for a couple more laps. Soon everyone was out again. We never did the group photo we wanted because we couldn’t get everyone to stay off the bikes long enough.
When we finally DID leave for lunch John was still turning laps…………Haven’t heard from him yet………..
Reply author: pikey
Replied on: 27 Nov 2006 22:32:57
John is probably still out there given that the alternative was fixing a washing machine or unblocking a toilet!
Good post Dave and yes, was a really fun way to spend a few hours and very useful in getting familiar with a new bike in a safe environment. Certainly beats hacking up Doi Suthep or around the Samoeng Loop to get up to speed quickly. Talking of which, after my dismal attempts at picking good lines and as FL likes to say "keeping the power on", I reckon I'm not the number one candidate to represent "Team GT-Rider" on the 17th. Reckon John or Justin could have that dubious honour as it's a case of "all the gear and no idea" with me at the mo but maybe a few more sessions at the speedway might result in reduced lap times (or crashes!).
You're spot on about it being a great place for a newer rider to learn more about bike dynamics and Thim did really well. Sh*t, maybe a few more sessions and she could be the GT-Rider rep and I could flash my beer gut whilst holding the brolly for her on the grid!
Big thanks to John for the help in setting up the suspension and it made a difference (even more "front-endy"but something to get used to), but I reckon it's the rider that needs the tune-up! Also, hats off to you for taking the Djebel out in dirt trim and the squirming knobblies didn't seem to put you off cranking it over - respect!
Back in the workshop tomorrow to change back to dirt setup for our MHS offroad trip on wed/thurs and I'll bring my camera for that and start off the trip report.
Cheers to all,
Reply author: Big & Tall
Replied on: 27 Nov 2006 22:52:23
Let's see at home in the states it's about $300, tech forms, liability releases, crowds, and long commutes to get on the track. Here in Thailand, roll up with 80 baht in your pocket and you're in. No releases, tech or crowds.
The only downside is having to share the track with a bunch of GT rider misfits. what a motley crew we were out there with all manner of bikes from the little NSR to Pikeys 400 torque monster. Loads of fun scrubbing the sidewalls of your tires off chasing your buddies round the track.
Dave's earlier comments of "I'll come out and watch but won't go out on the track" held as much water as him saying "I date her because she posseses a sharp mind". He was soon slinging a leg over Pikeys XR to strafe some apexes.
We dusted off our leathers that had not been rolled out in awhile. Hell, Pikey's leathers had mold growing on them they had been sitting so long
Soon enough tires were warming up, Pikey's toe sliders were getting worn down, John and I's pegs were decking out, and David was making his Djebel do things it shouldn't be doing with dirt knobbies in the corners. We were having so much fun that Thim took minimal prodding to have a go on my NSR. Soon we were like a bunch of orgy Swingers, hopping on each others bikes for a thrash round the track. What a great opportunity to try a bunch of different bikes under fun conditions.
It was especially nice to have Thim come out and see her do more than the much discussed "Umbrella duty" we had all assigned her the previous evening. Though I'm sure a few of us crusty gents were secretly hoping for the mini skirt and all it was nice to see her having a ball with the rest of us. Hats of to Silverhawk for actually being productive with the time and teaching Thim proper braking. Yes that lever on the right side of the bars is important for stopping. I thought at one point we'd be bringing home Dave in the back of a truck as he stepped out on the track on the straightaway to get Thim to practice emergency braking. She grabbed a handfull of front brake, locked the rear, and complete with smoke boiling off the rear tire came to a stop inches from bowling over our own Silverhawk. Let's hope he doesn't try that exercise if they've had a row.
I do think however that we did let the GT rider board down by not getting the group shot complete with brolly dolly's. So I suggest another meeting at the track complete with the gals all done up. You know...just for the benefit of the GT rider board and all.
Reply author: Rhodie
Replied on: 27 Nov 2006 23:55:24
As a non-attendant reading only "observer" of this sordid account, I would like to formally Second B&T's proposal for a re-enactment of the brolly dolly photo-shoot.
Of course, this would be purely for posterity purposes only; and, perhaps can be done in a variety of attire taking into account seasonal fluctuations.
Great post and pix guys - glad to see Pikey's new beast running well. Did you get the pegs fully down?
Hope to see you at bike week.
Reply author: pikey
Replied on: 28 Nov 2006 00:20:21
Re the brolly dollys, is that "posterity" or posterior purposes???
Didn't get the pegs down today but chamferred both my boots as although I tried, I can't really seem to get comfortable with the foot out MX-stylee mode of cornering so stick with the conventional, feet-on-the-pegs. Plan to go back and keep at it though!
Will be good to see you again at bike week. Do you want to suggest a meeting point for the friday or saturday?
Reply author: Rhodie
Replied on: 28 Nov 2006 01:54:03
It sounds as though you are beginning to tame the steed - tho do you intend taking it on your many hairaising off-road jaunts?
Re photography- my maxxim is to cover ALL the available angles and then shoot as much as opportunity presents.
It certainly appears that were you to begin a brolly dolly recruiting drive starting with the fillies from the Fine Line stable you couldnae go far wrong.
Certainly attendance would rise at subsequent events.
Will call about dates - tho have the 4th firmly in mind.
Reply author: jonadda
Replied on: 28 Nov 2006 08:47:30
Great day guys, thanks a lot, i kept cutting laps until the fuel guage went to "E" for enough, went home and the toilet problem still existed, I think the tanks are getting full so we have called in the tanker to pump them out, still hasnt arrived probably waiting for our breakfast rush hour, I cut just as many laps around C/Mai trying to find the parts for the washing machine, end result, thier on order. I also dropped in to see how they were going with my side car, apparently thier sheet metal worker had a few too many the other night got on his bike and head butted a lamp post, that did the trick, should be drifting around the Chiangmai atmosphere any day now. So with all this waiting looks like ive got some time WHENS THE NEXT ONE?
Reply author: pikey
Replied on: 28 Nov 2006 09:49:50
Going to MHS offroad tomorrow with Silverhawk & B&T - approx 170km apparently but don't know what proportion of dirt/tarmac. After that will stick it back to SM trim although the beauty is that I can chop & change between SM/dirt setups in an hour or so which means great flexibility - kinda 2 bikes for the price of one!
Yes, we will have to start persuading our other halves to be more game regarding getting togged up as brolly dollys - then i don't think it would just be the attendance that would be rising! (especially if Thim schooled them in the art of wiggling as she showed us yesterday to demo the feeling of the backend of Dave's bike moving around on the brakes )
John, glad you made it back safely mate and reckon after the most lap time, you must be in pole position to represent "Team GT-Rider" on 17/12. Busy the rest of this week but will def be up for another spin next week - will call in and chat about it.
Cheers to all,
Reply author: jon
Replied on: 28 Nov 2006 13:30:36
pikey .the bike looks good in action .i raed a few reports on them and they say it is a great bike especially in the tighter forests as it is very quick steering..and that is with a 21 wheel .the shorty front guard I mentioned is on a 1999 CR80 .I believe honda produce a supermoto version of both the 250 and 400 XR's for their home market .I was wondering whether these come with a different front brake and suspension mods ? There should be a few parts in the bike breakers in Bangkok .Anyway good luck on and off the road and I hope to see a photo of you " backing it in " on your next session at the track !