Rid­ing clinic

How to ride fast and safe on wet cir­cuits, by our res­i­dent track in­struc­tor

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

Smooth is safe

The key to safe rid­ing in the wet is be­ing smooth on the con­trols and shift­ing your weight around. Con­cen­trate on the straights; brak­ing and ac­cel­er­at­ing hard when up­right, and tak­ing it steady in the cor­ners.

Ef­fec­tive brak­ing

Gen­tly re­lease the throt­tle and wait for the weight to trans­fer to the front tyre be­fore brak­ing. Squeeze the front brake lever lightly, to get the front tyre dug in, then pro­gres­sively harder, feel­ing for grip. Fin­ish brak­ing be­fore tip­ping-in. Blip the throt­tle on down­changes to re­duce en­gine brak­ing.

Get­ting through the cor­ners

Do all your turn­ing off the brakes and with a neu­tral throt­tle to give the front tyre the best chance of grip­ping. To sta­bilise the bike, and give you one less thing to think about on the way in, hang off way be­fore the brak­ing zone so you’re in the cor­rect po­si­tion be­fore the turn. Keep the bike as up­right as pos­si­ble into, through and out of the cor­ner, tak­ing pointy V-shaped lines. Wide, swoop­ing arcs mean lean­ing on the front tyre’s tiny con­tact patch, which is risky.

Search for grip

Re­mem­ber where the slip­pery bits of track are and men­tally log them for the next lap. You might have to ride off-line to avoid the smoothed-out tar­mac of an apex, and you should al­ways ac­cel­er­ate gen­tly out of an off cam­bered cor­ner. Avoid painted kerbs and watch out for painted grid spots.

Spin­ning the rear

Give your­self con­fi­dence by de­lib­er­ately mak­ing the rear wheel spin in a straight line on a long, un­cam­bered piece of track. You’ll be sur­prised by how much it ac­tu­ally takes to get the rear to break trac­tion.

Keep it up­right

Hang off to re­duce your lean an­gle and gen­tly pick up the throt­tle to get weight trans­ferred to the rear tyre. Only ac­cel­er­ate hard when up­right.

Road tyres

You can still have fun on road tyres. Sports tour­ing rub­ber is the most suit­able in the wet – sticky track­day tyres sim­ply won’t work.

Keep the heat on

You can use tyre warm­ers on wets (on a low set­ting) but as soon as you take them off they’ll quickly lose heat as you go from pad­dock to track. They’ll cool fur­ther and lose grip as you splash steadily round the first few laps. It’s bet­ter to start cold and grad­u­ally build speed, adding heat, grip, and con­fi­dence as you go.

‘Hang off to re­duce your lean an­gle; only ac­cel­er­ate hard when up­right’

RID­ING EX­PERT Michael Neeves MCN Chief Road Tester and Elite in­struc­tor at the Honda Ron Haslam Race School

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.