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Old 19th November 2020, 20:21   #1
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Default Motorcycle Track day with RACR - Kari motor speedway

I have been riding on two wheels ever since I was 5 years old. Its inexplicable, I am happiest on two wheels but deep down there always was this urge to one day ride a motorcycle on a race track and fulfill my childhood fantasy of pretending to be a moto-gp rider. I am fortunate to live "relatively" close to two of the three race tracks in India. My requirement was to find a training school that would also be able to provide me with a motorcycle and full leathers on rent. The latter being mandatory by all race tracks. Fortunately RACR [Rajini Academy of Competitive Racing] was conducting their L1 and L2 training on the 7th and 8th on November at Kari Motor Speedway Racetrack -Coimbatore. The training academy is the brain child of the fastest Indian on two wheels -Rajini "Anna", with an impressive roster of trainers whose day jobs are factory development riders and racers. The fact that you are sharing track space with them can be both awe inspiring and intimidating - at least for me.

The track layout
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The start/finish line
Motorcycle Track day with RACR - Kari motor speedway-track.jpg

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The course fee included Two days of both classroom and track sessions, a motorcycle for two days (limited numbers), full leather suit for two days (you can rent gloves, boots and helmets too), two mid-day meals, water and some sugary drink (unlimited). This came to around Rs 35,000/-
The track is about 20 km away from town and after asking around I was told I would be better off booking a room in Coimbatore, which I did. You will have to plan 45 minutes for commuting one way. The registration on day 1 starts at 7:30 am with the first classroom session at 9am. The sooner you start the more track time you get, so that's a great incentive. The day ends at 5pm and on the last day keep some time for the course completion certification and photo-op with the man himself. Plan your checkout and return journey accordingly. Sadly I had to skip the last part.
There was also a 4 day option where you would complete L1/L2 in two days and two days for L3. Of course the fees would be a bit more but taking time off from work and spending four days track-side was challenging for me. So I stuck to the two day program.

Riding gear
I would have preferred to wear my own gear but a full leather suit (either one piece or two piece)is a huge investment. Having been warned multiple times that track riding is not for everyone and that you never know if you would love it or hate it unless you do it, I decided to rent it this time. Thankfully I had a helmet (D-ring fastener mandatory), full gauntlets and track boots. Inner liners are a must and no, a cotton t shirt will only make it worse. If you are squeamish just swallow the cost and buy the whole gear. If not you have to mentally block the fact that you are going to wear a full leather suit with no idea how many times it was used before in our hot and humid climate on a race track - you get the drift.
The key to this is, for a first timer you are completely out of your element and need to be as attentive as possible so it pays to be comfortable in the gear you are in. The last thing running in your mind when trying to find the line is how uncomfortable your boots or gloves are.

The Bikes
Apache RTR 200cc, since they are sponsored by TVS this was the only option available. These are not track bikes by any means and they know it, so they tried to compensate by slapping MRF slicks on them. Whoa, at least once in your life you need to experience these to know what sticky rubber actually means. Apart from that the bikes were bone stock. For day 1 the bikes were fine but post the advanced body position session on day 2 you realize you would be better off on a super sport. Don't get me wrong you wouldn't come close to reaching the limits off the motorcycle but no matter what you do you cannot ape the body position you practiced in class on a Yamaha R15. Which by the way the trainers swear is the best bike to learn on track, period!
Fuel is included in the rental, but you crash it you pay for whatever is damaged and you have to sit out the rest of the sessions. This can inhibit your learning a bit (at least for me) as you don't want to be "The guy who crashed out in L1/L2".
The on track trainers use Apache RR 310s and they swear by those too, initially I thought they were just saying this because of the sponsorship clause but watching them ride and the fact that one of them was the development rider proved otherwise. Also as soon as I came home I watched all the mainstream YouTube videos on this bike and every one said it was fun on track and came pretty close to the RC390 , kudos to TVS!

Bone stock
Motorcycle Track day with RACR - Kari motor speedway-apache.jpg

Well worn rubber but more than enough for my abilities
Motorcycle Track day with RACR - Kari motor speedway-slicks.jpg

Stripped out R15s reserved for the team racers
Motorcycle Track day with RACR - Kari motor speedway-r15.jpg

Looking at the silencer tells you how low they go and all of them had these badges of honor
Motorcycle Track day with RACR - Kari motor speedway-r152.jpg

And then you had this exotic!
Motorcycle Track day with RACR - Kari motor speedway-daytona.jpg

The Trainers

Rajini Krishnan - The man himself, needs no introduction for anyone following Motorsport. He is pretty hands on from doing track recce to even checking if your helmet is strapped on properly before you exit the pits. For someone who lives life in the fast lane he is very down to earth. He is like a benevolent principal of an elementary school and I witnessed a master class in how to handle young hot shot riders who felt they were too fast for the course, not an iota of superiority and calmly explained why every one should learn to walk before they can run. You could literally see him beaming with pride watching all the students riding on track like a proud parent. For some drills he gives you feedback and when he said "Better this time, next time try a bit faster" a chill ran down my spine. And when he decided to do a few shakedown laps on a track prepped ZX10r, everyone dropped what they were doing and just watched how blazingly fast he is, such is the aura of the guy!

Motorcycle Track day with RACR - Kari motor speedway-rajini.jpg

No task too small for him (Im third in line wondering whats going on)
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Navneet Muralidhara - Our classroom instructor, I guess he has the toughest job of keeping a bunch of young hot shot want to be racers attentive in a classroom. Credit to him you hardly realized how time flew and you are armed with a clear idea of what skills to practice on track.
Motorcycle Track day with RACR - Kari motor speedway-navneet.jpg

Deepak Ravikumar - The class of around 40 people is split into 5 batches (given color coded arm bands) and Deepak was our Track instructor. Very easy to converse with and was willing to answer each and every question thrown at him. Initially he was a bit peeved that some of us were really slow but by day two he was really happy with everyone's progress
Motorcycle Track day with RACR - Kari motor speedway-deepak.jpg
Motorcycle Track day with RACR - Kari motor speedway-deepak-2.jpg

Jagan Kumar
You also share track space with a multiple time champion and TVS factory rider, they say he is responsible for why the 310RR is so much fun around the track.
Motorcycle Track day with RACR - Kari motor speedway-jagan.jpg

The Training
About 10-15 minutes of verbal explanation on what drill was coming up immediately followed by on track practice of about 5 laps. Contrary to popular belief the classroom sessions were not boring at all and Navneet made sure of that. For on track practice irrespective of what the drill is, if you pick up the pace you get more laps, however if you have one or two slow riders the whole group has to maintain speed and the number of laps decrease. You cannot overtake the trainer but sometimes he lets you ahead so he can observe someone else directly behind him and that time you can let loose.
I guess most track schools follow a similar curriculum with standard skills and drills like counter-steering, braking, using only one gear and no brakes to ensure you focus only on the racing line, peripheral vision etc. Where RACR completely differs from other schools is this is a pure racing school with the intent to train racers and spot talent. They make no pretenses with allusions of how these skills will make you safer rider on the road etc,. They live and breathe racing. Time flies and its all a blur. Im glad I did the two day training and not all four days as Im pretty sure it would have been information overload. Only after a few days was I able to recollect the track layout and understand where I could have done better. But make no mistake L1 and L2 is ONLY to learn the basics and not to beat any lap records or getting your knee down. Its all about learning track decorum (flags) and the racing line etc.
They used to have open track sessions at the end of day 2 but sadly most batches took that as a free for all and ended up trashing the rental bikes, though we were lucky to get some open track time at the end of the training and yeah few bikes took a tumble. Cant blame anyone though, for the young hotshots they want to catch the eye of Rajini Anna while old farts like me just want to have enough fun to be able to drive back home safely.


My Preparation
I know my limitations and am under no illusion that I will be able to get into competitive riding of any sorts. But that did not stop me from being in the best possible shape of my life to ensure my track time was not torturous. I actually started way back in March 2020. With a combination of Intermittent fasting and mobility drills, I dropped from a portly 84kgs to 67kgs. My body was no longer as stiff as it had been for the last 20 years. I really want to thank our resident IF champion and guru Graaja. If you are trying to improve your fitness this thread is a goldmine https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/shift...ml#post1568496 (The Weight Loss Thread) . Only downside is none of your clothes would fit anymore. If you follow IF and low carb diets you will know hydration and staying away from sugar is key in keeping your energy levels up and to get your body fat adapted. Not that I wanted to prove a point but I completed both days in a fasted state and drank only water and black coffee. I can safely say, I did not feel tired even once during the entire two days. In fact I was still buzzing when I left Coimbatore after the second day. So I have no clue how the lunch served was and have no intention of finding out.

I have come a long way from needing to eat every two hours and getting "hangry" if I dont, to not knowing what hunger means anymore
Motorcycle Track day with RACR - Kari motor speedway-img_20201117_183632.jpg

Some of these drills really saved me a lot of pain and I felt no discomfort on both days nor after.
Motorcycle Track day with RACR - Kari motor speedway-screenshot_20200527213633117_com.google.android.apps.photos.jpg
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What I did not like
Not everything can be perfect but the biggest disappointment for me was the photography. Especially since the brochure called out photography was included in the package. Now there are two reasons I can think off where photography would help
a) Multiple shots at different parts of the track will reveal if you have the right posture and how much further you can push
b) For the gram
They failed on both counts. Most riders didn't even get one picture taken on track and even if it was clicked, it was an extreme close up so you have no reference to where you were on the track and if you had the right body position. The photographer was capable, which is very evident in some of the pictures of trainers where he altered his level of view , slowed down the shutter speed and panned to get the "Hero shots" and for the regular folk he just switched to manual mode and stood and took random pictures, so yeah that was an utter fail on both counts. Heck we all even stood in a group and posed for a picture and the guy took two takes but weirdly even that didn't make it to our inboxes. The only consolation was the training was good and the photography bad and not the other way around.

The only shot of me on track and very evident the photographer took the easy way out.
Motorcycle Track day with RACR - Kari motor speedway-me.jpg

Another thing I didn't like was the fact that there were no R15s on rent for students, I would have gladly paid a little more to get some track time on one.

Conclusion
It was very heartening to see parents coming with their young wards in the quest to introduce them to the world of Motorsport. People had come with their families and made an event of it, there are basic amenities to cater to everyone but no snack vendors etc so bring your own stuff.
I now know what they mean by "Trackday Junkie" - Its a very expensive hobby but once you are bitten you cant think of anything else. So now I am on the lookout for a used R15 and a leather suit and all the while running multiple permutations and combinations in my head trying to figure out how to fund my next fix.

Last edited by deepfreak15 : 19th November 2020 at 21:35.
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Old 20th November 2020, 07:05   #2
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Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing Deepak!
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Old 20th November 2020, 11:30   #3
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Default Re: Motorcycle Track day with RACR - Kari motor speedway

Really very heartening to see a rider invest time, effort and money into schooling himself on the right techniques of riding in the safe environment of a racetrack. Keep at it! Attend some open trackdays next to practice the drills you've learnt in L1 before your next level.
God speed!
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Old 20th November 2020, 11:50   #4
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Default Re: Motorcycle Track day with RACR - Kari motor speedway

deepfreak15, this is such a nice and information packed thread, that I read it twice in one sitting! It was nice that you put in a section on the trainers as well, they are the real heroes of these events. Among them, I have only met Navneet so far, he is a great guy to hang out with at the track.

I believe RACR is the only firm offering rental bikes and leathers, that takes a lot of pressure off first timers, as one can never really say if they will want to keep going to the track or not. I have a leather suit that I bought a few years ago that I have only used once. I planned on attending a couple of track sessions this year but then Covid happened! I will be sure to join a RACR track session once this Covid pandemic passes.

P.S - The photographer's output seems quite lousy! Considering that it is part of the package, he seems to have really taken it easy for the riders but gone above and beyond for the trainers. Its a small thing but one that detracts from the overall experience.Hopefully RACR is able to rectify this issue going forward.
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Old 20th November 2020, 11:54   #5
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Default Re: Motorcycle Track day with RACR - Kari motor speedway

Quote:
Originally Posted by neil.jericho View Post
I believe RACR is the only firm offering rental bikes and leathers, that takes a lot of pressure off first timers, as one can never really say if they will want to keep going to the track or not.
I know for a fact that Apex Racing and ISBK offer rental bikes & leathers too. Maybe T.W.O does as well. Makes sense for them to offer these specially to make first-timers feel easier about attending.
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Old 20th November 2020, 12:31   #6
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Default Re: Motorcycle Track day with RACR - Kari motor speedway

Quote:
Originally Posted by deepfreak15 View Post
Looking at the silencer tells you how low they go and all of them had these badges of honor
Attachment 2082708
I'm pretty sure that's because of a crash and not lean angle.

I would love to hit the tracks with my R15 and see how skills I learned by 80k Kms of street riding translates to track.

Thanks, this was hugely informative. Ride safe.
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Old 20th November 2020, 18:26   #7
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Default Re: Motorcycle Track day with RACR - Kari motor speedway

Fantastic write-up deepfreak15. Looks like you had lots of fun over the weekend. Wishing you many more such track days.

Your transformation is phenomenal. Doing two track days in fasted state. You are an inspiration! Hats off to your dedication and effort. I hope this will be a good motivation for people who are hesitant to get into the IF lifestyle. You should also post this in the weight loss thread.
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Old 20th November 2020, 19:09   #8
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Default Re: Motorcycle Track day with RACR - Kari motor speedway

Oh boy! Track days are such a dream. Almost made it to a track twice, but as luck would have it nothing materialized.

As always 2020 was supposed to be the year, but then this time I can pass the blame onto Covid.

Amazing writeup man! It is very clear how much you enjoyed and learned during the course and the price seems pretty reasonable too considering the potential of the trainers involved.

Navneet has a killer R3 I think. IIRC it was a yellow bike with race fairings not sure if any track add-ons were added to it.

And kudos to you on getting in shape this lockdown season, dropping that much KGs is no joke, I am on the exact other side of the spectrum on this. Have heard a lot about how people underestimate the toll track riding takes on the body and how just 1-2 laps is enough to drain you out especially in the heat we have down south. But you were well prepared, a wise move.

Just curious, when did you book your seat for the session?
Asking because you have mentioned you started prepping in March for the fitness aspect of it.

Cheers
Krishna
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Old 20th November 2020, 21:58   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krishnaprasadgg View Post

Amazing writeup man! It is very clear how much you enjoyed and learned during the course and the price seems pretty reasonable too considering the potential of the trainers involved.

Navneet has a killer R3 I think.

And kudos to you on getting in shape this lockdown season,
Just curious, when did you book your seat for the session?
Asking because you have mentioned you started prepping in March for the fitness aspect of it.
Ha! Nothing is reasonably priced about this hobby, have to factor in the cost and time to reach the venue with accommodation but like you said considering the lineup of coaches , well worth it indeed!

Navneet was referring to a yamaha with wistful longing which tells me something must have happened to it.

True that about track time being really physically demanding. I played the long game, had been planning track time for a couple of years actually and the lockdown gave me the perfect opportunity to kick into a higher gear and then it was just about waiting for the schools to restart. Thanks for your kind words and Im pretty sure you will end up having a whole lot of fun on your R1 soon.


Quote:
Originally Posted by graaja View Post
Fantastic write-up deepfreak15.
Your transformation is phenomenal. Doing two track days in fasted state. You should also post this in the weight loss thread.
You are way too kind! Thank you and actually the inspiration came from you and I have you to thank. It was pretty amazing indeed to be able to completely concentrate both in class and on track without feeling hungry or tired! The old me would have started thinking about food as soon as I reached and would have been too tired going back. Though that didn't stop me from indulging in some kothu parotta, would have been a grave injustice going all the way to Coimbatore and not eating that.

Motorcycle Track day with RACR - Kari motor speedway-img20201106wa00273721.jpg

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisTJ View Post
I'm pretty sure that's because of a crash and not lean angle.
I would love to hit the tracks with my R15 and see how skills I learned by 80k Kms of street riding translates to track.
Highly likely! You should, its a very refreshing feeling to realize that we have a whole lot more to learn, at least in my case. Its all about that racing line and braking points.

Quote:
Originally Posted by neil.jericho View Post
information packed thread, that I read it twice in one sitting! It was nice that you put in a section on the trainers as well, they are the real heroes of these events. Among them, I have only met Navneet so far, he is a great guy to hang out with at the track.

I believe RACR is the only firm offering rental bikes and leathers,..
That short a review eh! Thanks for the kind words though . Navneet seems to be a very popular person with loads of experience training in various academies and affiliated with some big manufactures. Post Narula's update I noticed Apex does the same thing with regards to gear and bikes on rent, ISBK was an unknown for me and TWO does not provide gear nor bikes but they do help with transporting your bike to the track and there was no way I was going to try a track day on a big burly ADV. That said like you stated the star cast of trainers is a good enough reason.

Quote:
Originally Posted by neil.jericho View Post
The photographer's output seems quite lousy! RACR is able to rectify this issue going forward.
True I know a lot of guys were extremely disappointed rightfully so because they didnt have a single track picture. Also I still cant get over the fact how a group pic taken inside the classroom doesn't make the final cut.

Quote:
Originally Posted by narula123 View Post
Really very heartening to see a rider invest time, Keep at it! Attend some open trackdays next to practice the drills you've learnt in L1 before your next level.
Thank you very much for your kind words. Yup keeping my ears and eyes peeled for such announcements.
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Old 22nd November 2020, 09:18   #10
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Default Re: Motorcycle Track day with RACR - Kari motor speedway

Hi Deepfreak15,

Great thread and good info. Quite happy to see track days and rider training flourishing in India. I think every rider who can afford should do these sessions, learning is accelerated. It's a shame that we don't have more of such initiatives.

I was in Bangalore for a couple of years and I would have considered it, had it come to my attention. It would be great if you can post some of your learnings from the session! If you crash you pay - must have been a deterrent to most to push the bikes harder. Personally, I wouldn't want to foot a huge bill and it's so easy to get carried away.

Also, kudos to you for training hard and being in best shape and form.

Last edited by voyageur : 22nd November 2020 at 09:27.
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