Over­con­fi­dence can very eas­ily lead to crash­ing

Motorcyclist - - Garage - —Ari Hen­ning


When the front tire lost grip I got slapped on the ground at a brisk 90 mph. I was pinned un­der the bike as it slid across the pave­ment, but once we hit the dirt be­yond the edge of the track both the CBR600RR and I be­gan to tum­ble vi­o­lently. Once I’d come to a stop, picked my­self up, and be­gan limp­ing to­ward the wrecked bike, the first piece of de­bris I came across was the CBR’S owner’s man­ual, cover up, dis­play­ing Honda’s decades-old slo­gan: Stupid hurts. Talk about adding in­sult to in­jury! And I was in­deed in­jured. Once the EMTS got me out of my leathers, we dis­cov­ered a gap­ing hole in my knee ugly enough to elicit a gasp from the guy in the la­tex gloves—never a good sign. I had also abraded a dime-size sec­tion of my foot down to the bone and bruised or strained the rest of my body. Then there was the Honda—with only about 200 miles on the odome­ter—that I’d turned into scrap metal.


Brim­ming with con­fi­dence af­ter a suc­cess­ful race week­end on my lit­tle CBR250R, I un­der­es­ti­mated the ac­cel­er­a­tion of the new CBR600RR I was test­ing. I rock­eted out of Chuck­walla Val­ley Race­way’s turn three and grabbed fourth gear as I sped around the out­side of an­other rider. The pass placed me on the wrong side of the track for the upcoming left-hand turn, while the strong drive put my speed well above where it was at this spot in ear­lier laps. You cover a lot of ground at 100 mph, and as I sat up to brake I found my­self run­ning wide into the rip­ples cre­ated by cars’ out­side wheel tracks. The front tire slipped as I rolled over the first bump, send­ing me to the ground.


Every­thing that went wrong that morn­ing—and I’ll ad­mit that I made a num­ber of poor de­ci­sions—stemmed from an over­abun­dance of ex­cite­ment and an over­con­fi­dent at­ti­tude. We all love rid­ing, but we can’t let that en­thu­si­asm cloud our judg­ment and keep us from giv­ing our bod­ies time to warm up and our brains time to fully as­sess the day’s fac­tors. I’ve got a big, ugly scar on my left knee to re­mind me to ease into things, and I wouldn’t wish that for any­one. It’s im­por­tant to to curb your emo­tions, check your ego, and be­gin with care any time you let the clutch out on a mo­tor­cy­cle, no mat­ter how ex­cited, fa­mil­iar, or con­fi­dent you may feel.

Once we hit the dirt be­yond the edge of the track sur­face both the CBR600RR and I be­gan to tum­ble vi­o­lently.

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