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Discussion Starter #1
I'm sure Code's TWIST is a staple among many of you guys, and have been advised to read it as a rider if not for racing, but for my own general benefit. I've definitely found my niche in riding or more so my excitement, in the turns. This book just blew open all the blocks I've encountered as a new rider. I want to start practicing the basics, yet want assurance that I am doing so correctly. In addition, TWIST has given me a real hunger to get to the track and see if I the sport is a match for me. Being a tough competitor all the way through to college sports and being told I have a very coach-able personality I really want to give it a go. I've already been informed by a lot of the stickies and other riders about expectations of road racing's basic glories and drawbacks... so advice on where to get started would be great.
 

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Sounds like you just need to do a track day.

Hit your local race course and check their schedule for track day groups.
STT has a good track intro program. The big issue is dont let a little knowledge be dangerous. Oh yea and have fun..........:banana
 

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Roadracer since '96
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Offended easily? Don't read any further!

Today there are 2 main routes to racing: Straight to Racing or Track Days to Racing.

Up until the late 90's the only choice you really had to go racing was to.....well.....GO RACING! There are 3 main levels of Racing: Amateur, Expert, and Pro. There are also 3 main ways Racing organizations are divided: Regional (mainly Amateur/Expert racing), National (mainly Pro, but there are Expert and even some Amateur races available at this level in certain race org's), then World (these are the best of the best Pro's who race World Superbike and/or MotoGP). The traditional way new racers have got into roadracing sportbikes was to take a 1 day 'New Racer Licensing School' that is generally held in conjunction with an actual race event, this familiarizes you with how a race event operates (the rules, tech inspection, on track sessions, etc.). If you pass that 1 day school (which mainly means don't crash and don't be an idiot) than you are issued a certificate which allows you to buy an Amateur Racing license (generally the certificate is good for 12 months from when you got it). In the race organization that I Regionally race with (CCS - Championship Cup Series) you can take your school on Saturday and if you pass be racing the next day as an Amateur. You then race against other Amateurs till you reach a level of achievement that you advance to the Expert ranks - generally if you earn a certain amount of points in a season or win a championship in a specific class you will automatically be advanced to Expert the next season. Some people only do 1 season as an Amateur, at the opposite extreme some people will never go Expert due to not racing enough or for a variety of other reasons. Once you go Expert you can race at that level for your entire career without ever being forced to go Pro.

Track Days are still relatively new, the oldest have only been around since the end of the 90's. Track Days were brought about by people who were looking to make money by providing a way for people who don't want to race (or were too afraid to try) to be able to get on a race track. In an age where many people are buying race bikes (sportbikes) for street use, this went over well and provided those people a way to go fast in a controlled environment. This led to somewhat of a complicated issue when Track Day organizations started promoting themselves as a 'stepping stone' to racing, yet ironically almost none of them are certified (or even seek to be certified) as a 'new racer licensing school'. The big issue here is that Track Days are NOT RACING and the insurance companies who cover the Track Day org's are the ones who ultimately make the 'safety' rules. Almost all Track Days very specifically state in their rules that "racing is not allowed" at their venues and that cetain 'safety' rules are to be followed by all participants. These safety rules include passing restrictions based on the group your riding in (groups are generally divided based on track experience), for example you may not be able to pass on anything other than a straight with at least 6' between you and the rider being passed in the beginner group. In the upper most group it will depend greatly on the individual org your riding with, some will 'allow' passing anywhere on the track, but still maintain that certain amounts of space be between you and the motorcycle being passed - other Track Day org's I've heard of are basically uncontrolled in the upper group and allow almost anything (contrary to what their insurance companies require).

Track Day org's have people who work for them, many are called 'control riders' or 'coaches', these people in almost all cases recieve compensation for doing what they do at their respective Track Days. These 'coaches' are usually either people who have done a number of Track Days themselves or may possibly be a racer (Amateur, Expert, or Pro). The compensation these people recieve varies based on what org they are riding with and who they know, some will just get free track time at that org's Track Days, others I've heard of even get race tires at greatly reduced prices (or for free) along with monetary reinbursement, and/or etc. The reason I'm telling you this is because of something I heard along time ago, "Always follow the money" whenever your considering someones advice. What this means is that almost all suggestions have a monetary basis somewhere, for example I try and get people to go Racing instead of doing Track Days because it helps to build the Racing community, creates even more competition, and ultimately creates a person who's far more confident in themself. Most Track Day org's will NEVER be encouraging you to advance on to Racing (unless the specific individual 'coach' your dealing with is doing it on their own) because it's not in the monatary best interest of the Track Day org to send it's revenue paying customers elsewhere.

What has sadly happened nowdays is this trend for people to go to Track Days "Just to get a little bit of track time before I go racing" which leads to "I need to get fast enough so I'm not the last Amateur in my 1st race" which eventually leads to "I need to be fast enough so when I go racing I can finish in the Top 5" which leads to "I need to be doing lap times fast enough that when I go Amateur racing I have a chance at winning my 1st race". This is a perpetual never ending cycle that I've seen SOOOOOOO many people do, the feeling of 'never being good enough to even start racing' is so common amongst Track Day regulars it's crazy! I have seen multiple people who have literally 100's of Track Days under their belts before they have gone racing (if they ever go at all), some do well as a new Amateur racer, others don't. The Track Day companies seem to have this mentality brain washed into it's participants that the only way to go Racing is of course to do Track Days 1st - LOTS and LOTS of expensive Track Days. What they don't tell you is that many people who develop an ability to do a certain lap time at Track Days have never developed the ability to pass in actual Racing conditions - doing a certain lap time is one thing, doing it in an actual race is another. A very common thing I've witnessed is Track Day riders who go Racing and end up crashing fairly soon and getting hurt because they always had that 'safety zone' around them when passing other riders at Track days then got in an actual Race situation and 'froze' when encountering close passing.

People need to realize that your individual Track Day experience will depend GREATLY on the Track Day org your riding with, who the actual 'coaches' are that your recieving instruction from, and the rules of that org. There is no 'standard' for Track Day org's, what you will be taught at each one will most likely vary, trying to figure out what information is correct and what is wrong can be very difficult. I have alot of trouble with Track Day 'coaches' who have never even raced before teaching a student anything that will be a basis for them to go racing, how can they teach something they've never even done themself? The best situation is to have an actual race instructor (who is probably an Expert or Pro Racer - former racer - or knowledgable instructor/researcher in the field) teaching people what they need to know when it comes to racing, not some random Track Day 'coach' who's experience may be very limited. I understand that the 'coaches' are just trying to help, but they very well may unknowingly be doing damage to that persons learning curve by giving them bad foundations of advice. And so people understand that I'm not coming from a view point of just being a Track Day hater or something, I've been asked to be a 'coach' before and I turned it down because I didn't agree with a number of the 'safety' rules and techiniques being taught. Working for an actual technique and/or race oriented school would be a different situation that I would actually do.

In my opinion if your looking to get on a track to just have some fun then more power to you, do Track Days forever and have a blast! But, if your truely serious about Racing then I would limit Track Days to nothing more than a 'familiarization' to the track at most (probably not more than several days). I (and a number of other racers) believe someone looking to get into racing should INVEST their money elsewhere, like actual SCHOOLS where they have highly structured programs for advancing your abilities. Trying to 're-learn' something over a developed bad habit is much harder than learning the correct technique from the beginning. I would also suggest that if you have sportbike experience on the road and feel good riding at speed and cornering that you go racing very early in your on-track 'career' instead of getting stuck in the Track Day rut of "I'm not good enough yet". The sad thing is that there are going to be some Amateur racers out there that have done endless amounts of Track Days and can go pretty fast, yet their experience in close passing is probably limited and can be very questionable and flat out dangerous! I personally was almost taken out 4 times by the same Amatuer racer in 1 individual race late this season because their passing ability flat out sucked! (but they were on a faster bike and could pass me on the straights) I later found out they were a fast Track Day rider who had just recently gone racing, how ironic, speed without passing ability - a very dangerous combination!

Actually racing to develop your speed helps you to develop your passing abilities at the same time. I highly encourage new racers to start at the back of the grid and work their way forward if possible during the race, this way your not going to get stuffed by the really fast guys in the 1st lap and you'll be moving forward instead of backwards. As you get faster you'll encounter more and more difficult racers to pass, this is priceless experience that your not going to get at a Track Day that requires 6' passing safety zones around other riders. I personally went straight into racing without ever having been on a roadrace track prior to that, I invested in myself my entire 1st season by always starting at the back of the grid and working my way as far forward as I could - that process led to me being a front runner the next season. I would find it extremely hard to believe that a person who goes the Track Day to Racing route would have near the ability of someone who spent the same amount of time actually Racing - that something to think about and consider.

If you have more questions just ask. Make sure and remember, "Follow the money" when considering advice. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
thnx a lot mike. that is exactly the feedback I am looking for. With a no bs reply like that I can make a decent decision about how little I want to spend at track days. Since I just purchased a new R6 but will probably use my f3 as my race bike at first, I believe the local track (Firebird in az) entitles me to a free day with my receipt. And I am glad you mentioned the "not good enough" syndrome, luckily in all competitive things I prefer just to go out and do them as was meant to be (ie football/lacrosse, play with better players even if i don't shine and always allow full contact, no whoosying around) so I guess I'll have to call on suits and the liscensing program (if there is one here :/ ) as to following the money, i somewhat grasp what you're talking about but correct me if I have misunderstood. Why go spend $ on track days that offer watered down and inconsistent teaching (in reference to track days nationally) when you can just jump into racing and build your skill correctly (money truly well spent) as well as a minutely possible foundation for making money at it?
 

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In my opinion if your looking to get on a track to just have some fun then more power to you, do Track Days forever and have a blast! But, if your truely serious about Racing then I would limit Track Days to nothing more than a 'familiarization' to the track at most (probably not more than several days). I (and a number of other racers) believe someone looking to get into racing should INVEST their money elsewhere, like actual SCHOOLS where they have highly structured programs for advancing your abilities.
Well said!

I can see what you mean about track days possibly having a negative effect on the racing community & give some people the "I gotta get good enough to do 'X' when I start racing".... but you could also argue that because of track days the Novice ranks have gotten safer & more competative.

That's the case at LRRS from what my peers & I have seen. You can usually tell what rookies have done track days & what rookies haven't. The track day guys typically do quite well & ride safely no matter what their pace, whether it be at the front or the back.

I was one of those that did a couple years worth of track days under close supervision of experienced racers & they let me know long before I did that I was ready to make the transition to racing & do well. Now I'm in their position doing the same with new track day riders that they did with me :)

That said I don't often see the drawbacks that you mention. I don't see "excessive track days" making "track day heros" dangerous, I see it as themselves & their own attitude that they brought with them long before they were a "track day hero" that makes them dangerous.


Bottom line I think track days are great if you're a street rider looking to safely make the next step. If you want to use it as a stepping stone to racing, by all means do so. That's how I did it & it's an excelent way to do it :)
 

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I remember something I was told when I 1st started racing, it turned out to be a concept I had thought about before concerning other things. This person was making a comparison between your racing 'class' and your high school graduating 'class'. What he said was that every year you have a new group of new racers who start out on their racing journey, that group or 'class' is the people you will be racing with the most in your formative year(s). Every year the 'class' is different, sometimes there's more people in a certain years 'class' who are on the conservative side (racingwise), sometimes there's more people on the aggressive side in a certain years 'class', sometimes almost the entire 'class' is more middle ground in assertiveness, and on and on. Some 'classes' will only have 2 or 3 people who are absolutely on fire right from the start, other's may have quite a few, one year I remember talking with an race instructor who was saying how that entire season he had not seen even 1 immediately outstanding new racer start racing that season. This also rings true in luck, a person who starts racing in a year where the weather just turned out to be crap at the majority of all the race events that year will most likely have a different learning experience than someone who started in a year where the weather was beautiful at every event (I've experienced both of these extreme's myself - for an example of luck I've raced at Daytona 7 different times and it's never rained at any of those events, but ironically the times where I planned on going and then didn't after all it ended up raining, all except for once).

Applying this to Track Days you can have a wide variety of results based on many factors, like ones I mentioned in the 1st post. If your LUCKY you end up with a 'coach' who not only knows what their doing, but also has the ability to convey information in a way that is easy to understand and they are able to adapt it to each individual - it's not uncommon for many people to have trouble with this in itself. I've known some very smart and talented people who for the life of them couldn't explain something to someone else understandably enough to save their own life (I've worked with people like this, extremely smart, but they can't explain anything worth a damn). Then you get into the aspect of who's in your 'class', is everybody fast right out of the box or are you the only fast person in the whole 'class' so it gives you a false sense of accomplishment? This situation usually corrects itself as that person advances to the middle or advanced group at the Track Day and realizes that there are a bunch of people who are going alot faster than he is and maybe he wasn't as kick ass as he thought.

In my opinion the 'baby steps' are the ones that are so important, as I've said many times: learn to crawl, then walk, then run! I personally try and shy away from giving advice on the Internet about specific lines thru turns on the track, instead I prefer to tell people to watch World Superbike or MotoGP and look for the helicopter footage from far overhead, this not only shows the bikes making the turns but also the imbedded rubber in the track from the bikes tires. If you pay attention you'll notice that at this level of racing there is a real 'flow' to their race lines which generally starts out wide with a fairly hard late turn in, cuts in all the way to the apex (closest point on the inside of the turn), then goes way out toward the outside of the track in a long arc as they exit the turn - with the arc ending quite a ways out away from the turn. Contrary to this type of truely fast line is the lines I've seen some people being taught at Track Days I've attended, lines that seem to follow the shape of the turn alot more and depend on late braking and high cornering loads (which wears the crap out of tires in a hurry) instead of carrying more speed THRU the turn. I ran into this a year ago when I was working with a freind at a Track Day, I was concentrating on bringing up their cornering speed and maintaining a good line thru the turn and not worrying about 'late braking' at this time (and they were improving every session). In the afternoon a 'coach' jumped in between me and my freind out on the track and was pressing my freind to brake much later, this led my freind to completely mess up their lines thru the turns and do progressively slower and slower lap times as the session went on (even though they were braking later and later like the 'coach' wanted them too).

For a number of years now I've been the racer at the back of the Experts because I didn't want to spend the money required to be a front runner. Here in the Midwest Region of CCS almost every race we run is Expert/Amateur combined, this means that the Experts leave the grid at the drop of the green flag and the Amateurs stay put, then after the Experts make it thru turn 1 they release the Amateurs who were gridded behind the Experts. Due to this I ended up having to deal with the fastest Amateurs passing me at some point in the race (back when I was using old race tires). Today the lead Amateurs are hardly Amateurs at all, they are turning lap times that would put them solidly in the Top 5 or 10 in the Experts, many of these guys are the ones who did massive amounts of Track Days before actually going racing. The problem is that some of these really fast Amateurs are some of the worst passers I've ever seen, the lines their taking are just way out of wack from what I've seen the Pro's do on TV and what I've been taught is correct. On the other hand some of the really fast Amateur racers have figured it out and can pass well (safely) and will make a great addition to the Experts, those are not the ones I'm worried about.

This season I read a couple stories of riders in my Region who were Track Day 'coaches' that decided to go racing, these guys crashed very early in their actual racing career and ended up with season ending injuries. They actually admitted publicly that they were not use to the close proximity of the passing in actual racing and had crashed due to that. Also this season were a few guys who I personally met that were Track Day regulars who decided to go racing, they did their school on Saturday and went racing on Sunday. Those guys never did another race because they got freaked out by actual racing, they actually said "We need to do more Track Days before we go racing again" - the irony is they already had the speed, just not the passing ability and comfort with the close proximity of the other bikes - both of which are things that they would really only get from actually racing and building up their confidence.

GOOD instruction is very valuable, finding it can be difficult. It all comes down to the 'class' you end up in, hopefully the people you learn from are knowledgable and what you are taught becomes a great foundation for your future in racing. If you feel confident already on your bike I personally would invest your money in classes at a reputable well known school(s) from the beginning like California Superbike School, Freddie Spencer's race school, Jason Pridmore's school, Kevin Schwantz's school, or others (none of these are cheap, but the knowledge I've read that people got from each of them was invaluable and your being taught by people who are or were at the top of this sport). And again, learning something correct from the beginning is so much easier than having to try and correct developed/practiced bad habits, that's why I suggest the school route from the beginning if you truely want to race. Check out their websites, call and talk with them and ask what your going to get for your money and tell them what your goals are and they can probably guide you in the correct direction. For a random example, the Kevin Schwantz 2 day school (Kevin is a former GP World champion) is $1400 in 2008, even though that's alot of money just ask OFFICER737 (SuperMOD here on SBN) his experience when he took the school and if he thought it was worth it? He took that school (which is also certified as a 'new racer licensing school') and went directly into racing. I personally am going to either attend one of the above mentioned schools in 2008 and/or seek personal 1 on 1 instruction dealing specifically with race set-up on my bike with a local race instructor/set-up guru I know to get my butt back up to speed (actual bike geometry set-up is something I never had alot of experience with - after modifying the suspension I always just rode 'around' any other handling issues a bike may have had).

Bang for the buck I personally think one of these basic routes is the way to go for someone serious about getting into racing. :)
 

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great feedback mike.......

I am going to work on getting to a race school this year I am just not getting what I want out of trackdays and I want to have more of real experience.
I suggested doing the track day in my original post as a more general get on the track and stop speculating about what its like. If you enjoy it then you can either go do a race school as it takes more prep, or continue just being a weekend warrior. :)
 

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vvv HOTDOG NECK vvv
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Hit up the AZ forum. With several road racers, trackday riders and one track owner, we can probably help ya with a few things.

And Damn Mike, Cliff notes.:neener:beer
 

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I'm sure Code's TWIST is a staple among many of you guys, and have been advised to read it as a rider if not for racing, but for my own general benefit. I've definitely found my niche in riding or more so my excitement, in the turns. This book just blew open all the blocks I've encountered as a new rider. I want to start practicing the basics, yet want assurance that I am doing so correctly. In addition, TWIST has given me a real hunger to get to the track and see if I the sport is a match for me. Being a tough competitor all the way through to college sports and being told I have a very coach-able personality I really want to give it a go. I've already been informed by a lot of the stickies and other riders about expectations of road racing's basic glories and drawbacks... so advice on where to get started would be great.
Hey man, I think that there are a lot of good advice and insight here, but I disagree with lots of it.

First off I think that it is important to clarify how much riding experience you have and what you hope to learn in the short term and long term.

I would also recommend twist of the wrist 2 over twist of the wrist 1 so definitely read both. I would also recommend reading sport riding techniques by nick ienatsch.

I will preface that I am one of those waste my money on trackday guys:twofinger

I went with the trackdays because that is where my friends and I transitioned to from street riding. We didnt know what we were getting into with going to the track and thought it was a safe opportunity to go fast.

Racing wasnt even a thought in my mind....cause I feel like if you race you have something to prove, either to yourself or others.

I was in the slowest group and loved every second. I thought I was fast from riding the canyons and this was definitely an eye opening experience. I too can be competitive and have over the years worked myself up to a consistent A group rider.

I have learned to pass with my group of riding friends who have all progressed at the same level...critiquing eachother and learning together.

I think there is irony in the above post as some riders make bad passes in races because they arent used to passing in close quarters....
Well as a racer who "knows" how to pass in close quarters you should know either how to deal with it and hold your line, or ride defensively and hold off the trackday racer.

I think that the 6ft passing rule which is enforced by some also is not by others. I have been at trackdays where they say its the last day before race weekend and rubbin bows is not uncommon, just try to make the safest and cleanest pass as that is what you would want to do anyway.

I also want to say that I work with California Superbike School and highly recommend CODE RACE school if you havent. Its a very comprehensive program with Keith personally critiquing your riding.

To the OP, we arent coming to firebird this year but have in the past. If you can make one of our streets of willow days you should do so. Its not that bad of a drive and I know cause my buddy comes out from phoenix all the time.

I do race and have had very good results. I have learned how to pass from trackdays and started racing because I wanted to see what my new bike and I were capable of...I also wanted to improve my best times since I felt a little stagnant with my progression.

Do the AZ trackdays at firebird or cruise out to CA and we can do some trackdays. I know that CCS races at firebird and arroyo seca isnt too far from you as well.
 

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My loss of interst

What has sadly happened nowdays is this trend for people to go to Track Days "Just to get a little bit of track time before I go racing" which leads to "I need to get fast enough so I'm not the last Amateur in my 1st race" which eventually leads to "I need to be fast enough so when I go racing I can finish in the Top 5" which leads to "I need to be doing lap times fast enough that when I go Amateur racing I have a chance at winning my 1st race". This is a perpetual never ending cycle that I've seen SOOOOOOO many people do, the feeling of 'never being good enough to even start racing' is so common amongst Track Day regulars it's crazy! I have seen multiple people who have literally 100's of Track Days under their belts before they have gone racing (if they ever go at all), some do well as a new Amateur racer, others don't. The Track Day companies seem to have this mentality brain washed into it's participants that the only way to go Racing is of course to do Track Days 1st - LOTS and LOTS of expensive Track Days. What they don't tell you is that many people who develop an ability to do a certain lap time at Track Days have never developed the ability to pass in actual Racing conditions - doing a certain lap time is one thing, doing it in an actual race is another. A very common thing I've witnessed is Track Day riders who go Racing and end up crashing fairly soon and getting hurt because they always had that 'safety zone' around them when passing other riders at Track days then got in an actual Race situation and 'froze' when encountering close passing.
Reading this after the holidays is probbaly not the best idea but in any case here goes.....

I'm not trying to single out any group or anyone in particular I'm just giving my opinion.

Right now with the dead of winter relegating my bike to the garage and me to my cage, It seems like I'm steadly loosing all interest in getting back on the bike. Interest in riding on the street is also taking a hit but to a lesser degree. What depresses me even more is that I spent so much on a race machine and gear, a trailer and a ton of other stuff and just can't seem to will myself to even consider looking at what I need to do ride next year. It's as if someone 'changed' some programing in my brain last year and I went full-bore into racing and all of a sudden someone went in and 'deleted' some 'interest' files and now I'm thinking of what I might do for the summer instead. I'm certain that my last (first) season not going well isn't helping either.

What's been said about Track Day organizations is true in my area with a few but very marked exceptions. The local track day organization aims to get people out on the track and some experience under their belt. They sponsor a handful of racers and some of these racers volunteer their time in the local club to teach riding schools. The club also sponsors the local race series and works closely with both the track proprietor and track day organization.

What probably discourages me the most is how new people are accepted (or not) in this sport. I tend to leave people seething when I say this but the arrogance in general in this sport is beyond pathetic. Granted, there are some wonderful people who give of their time and talents but there are just enough arrogant @$$holes out there that ruin the good deeds and overshadow those who mean well. It may well be my own personality but this is not a sport where the overwhelming majority go out of their way to befriend the 'newbie' or help someone who may be substantially more 'green' than the status quo. I've tried to get to know people... Some are nice, I think some are nice to because it's polite thing to do and some are....well I'll leave it at that. But suffice to say, I've not found but a small handful of "really" friendly, outgoing "do-anything-for-you" type individuals in this sport. Information for the most part seems to follow the rule of "Secret Squirrel $h!t".... Attitudes being "I had to suffer the "initiation dues" so I'll be damed if I'm going to give it out unless it benefits me" type attitude.

Recalling from my memory banks, my pitiful performance on the track just doesn't seem to be a great boost for my ego (note highly sarcastic tone). I've posted here and on other boards about quitting almost to the point of ad infinitum but the nagging in the back of my mind keeps telling me that I'm not racer quality. That compounded with some things that others have told me; lack of support or any resemblance of genuine interest from family and friends; a history of bumbling through every new hobby or sport I attempt, leaves the feeling of being little more than a 'wanabe'.

Earlier this year I thought about investigating a track/racing school but I've lost interest in perusing that. Knowing that my performance has been meager at best up to this point I cant see any reason to spend that kind of money.

So with all that being said. I've pretty much decided to hang up the gear and park the bike for good. Too many people in my locale have complained about newbies in races (I'm pretty certain I'm part of those complaints). Not following lines, getting spooked when passed, too slow, blah blah blah blah on and on and on...... Would you want to "just start racing" with this general tone being perpetuated from the local race community..... Well I don't. There doesn't seem to be any sort of "standard" or "benchmark" to progress towards that is agreeable to everyone. So I never know If I'm doing well or irritating or worse, spooking someone. Basically I assume I'm failing by default - Yeah I know my bad.

Perhaps someone can learn something from my experience and make the introduction to this sport a little more "positive" for the future racer or rider and keep their ambitions and hopes alive. Befriend them and make sure that they never loose interest. It will ensure the sport's future and enjoyment for those involved.

That would make me the happiest......
 

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well thats why its stupid to go straight into racing...if you become a trackday guy you can see where you are in relation to others just going your own pace....if thats what you care about. I did it cause my friends started riding the canyons and streets too fast and we wanted a safer environment to ride in....i.e the track. The great thing about trackday and riding on the track is you DONT HAVE to GO FAST!!!!!

You dont have to go fast or try to go fast to have fun. Some people just want to ride without having to worry about guardrails, double yellows, oncoming traffic, oil, debris, cars, or anything else to worry about.

Do you all just ride by yourselves?
Where are your riding buddies...? The ones that have your back and you grow up riding with?
Check your egos at the door and find some people to ride with that have the same mentality. Its so easy and you can help one another with riding...I helped my friends and have had friends help me by video taping and it has made the hugest difference in my riding.

Race when you can afford it and when you think you are ready...if you arent then you will soon learn you suck, if you are good then you will soon learn that you need to make more money :)


Racing is expensive and trackdays are cheaper...i know that most of the guys that I do trackdays with would be fast novice racers anywhere in the country

But we have fun just dicing it out at trackdays...plus you get more time on the track than a 6-8 lap sprint race or a 20 lap solo...

And yes there is a WINNER at trackdays...:eek:nfloor
 

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The irony of this current discussion is it has relevence to a never ending set of hot topic issues in CCS as well, I'm going to copy and paste here what my most recent posts in that forum were on that topic and the responses. The debate is basically about what makes someone an Amateur racer and what makes them an Expert. The person who responds at the end is just crazy fast, he's done lap times that I can only set goals to achieve, he's a Track Day 'coach' who went racing as an Amateur after years of Track Days and won a number of championships in 2007 (his 1st year of actual Amateur racer). The main debate at this time in the thread is that people coming out of Track Days may be fast, but they lack 'Racecraft':
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GSXR RACER MIKE: Ironically this wasn't an issue when Track Days didn't exist because a person learned their 'Racecraft' as they developed their speed instead of getting really fast in a non-race environment then jumping into racing already fast - yet lacking 'Racecraft'. I think this is a large part of the problem today, SOME of the really fast 'new racers' (coming out of Track Days) who work their way into the Expert portion of the field during the combined races are making dangerous passes due to apparent lack of experience/knowledge. This is something I've witnessed extensively over the last several years because even though I've raced since '96 I've been the guy at the back of the Expert pack for quite a while now (I've been at the back because I wasn't spending the money on tires that the fast racers are - I was actually on race tires that had 3 seasons on them, but that's another story).

I'm in a rather unique postion, I'm a former fast guy who hasn't spent the money to go fast for quite a while, so I know what it's like to be in the lead group and doing the passing and at the back of the Experts as well (though I don't get lapped by any of the Experts in a sprint race). The biggest difference I see today is the experience/ability of the racers passing me, in practice I've had people like front running Expert/Pro racer Brian Hall go by me only a foot away and I was comfortable with that because he's smooth and never chops me off. Yet as a great example at Road America this last season I had 5 different Amateur racers pass me in 1 race with passes that each chopped my line so badly I almost plowed into each of them, I ended up stuck racing with 1 of those guys almost the whole race and he almost caused me to crash 4 different times in 1 race!

Actual race experience shows in smoothness, passing ability, and consistency - all of which are things you don't automatically have by just being able to do a certain lap time. The racers I mentioned at the RA event were indeed fast, but their passing ability sucked. I'm in no way saying this is ALL the fast Amateurs, there were some that consistently went by me during the season this year that will make great additions to the Experts in 2008.

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Quote from: RSimmons on December 29, 2007, 05:03:42 PM
I was probably in that race. (I raced all of the HW classes that weekend) I don't think I was one of the offenders, since I tend to take a very conservative, almost track-day mentality to passing. But If so I apologize.

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GSXR RACER MIKE: No need to apologize (i'm pretty sure you weren't one of them anyways), racing is racing, I was just trying to provide an example relavent to the current conversation.

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Quote from: Red900 on: Yesterday at 12:11:32 AM
I agree with you mike, That is the race experience I am talking about. That is the difference. That only comes with race laps...
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This is not editted in any way, that is the exact conversation at the current end of that thread with 2 extremely fast Amateur racers whom I have never personally met but have been in the same races as.

The situation SD40T-2 is speaking of is unfortunate and I feel the Track Day to Racing route is much of the reason by making true Amatuers feel as though they are not up to speed like the fastest Amateurs who came to racing from Track Days. Amateur racing use to actually be Amateur racing where people learned and developed their abilities to race. Now it's turned into this huge disparity between new racers and the fastest Amateurs for various reasons, some got really fast at Track Days then try and learn the racing aspect of it once they are already up to speed, some are 'sand baggers' who do years and years of racing as an Amateur but never earn enough points to be forced to advance to Expert because they intentionally only enter a limited number of races in a specific race org each season (but race in more than 1 racing org so they actually race throughout the entire season). There is alot of debate about the Expert upgrade in the last 5 years or so amongst CCS racers due to the situation that has come about with people coming to racing from Track Days and sand baggers as well. The arguement is that if someone is capable of doing a certain lap time percentage as compared to the fastest Expert's lap time in that same class at that same event then they should be forced to advance to the Expert class the next season, or if they are doing even faster times that would put them in the Top 5 or 10 Experts (for example) they would be forced to advance to Expert at their next event. This is where the above debate is coming from, the actual fast guys coming from Track Days are argueing that being able to do a certain lap time either should or should not make someone an Expert.

I also wanted to make it clear that the suggestions I'm giving are for someone who is PLANNING FROM THE START to go racing, I'm certainly not saying someone can't go racing and be successful after doing even 10 years of Track Days. I'm purely trying to show the other side of the coin that most new people will never hear about unless someone exposes them to it. It's up to each individual to make their own choices as to what route they want to go, but they should also evaluate along the way if they are achieving what they want, and if they're not what can they change to reach that goal? As I've heard before, "Insanity can be described as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result". If what your doing isn't working then use that as a challenge for yourself to seek out and apply what does work! :)
 

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Racing is expensive and trackdays are cheaper...i know that most of the guys that I do trackdays with would be fast novice racers anywhere in the country

But we have fun just dicing it out at trackdays...plus you get more time on the track than a 6-8 lap sprint race or a 20 lap solo...
Racing as a front runner is expensive, but if your not there yet then you can race economically. As an example if I go to Blackhawk Farms Raceway (BFR is my home track) and do the 'Racer Only Practice Day' on Friday before an event for $85, there are only 2 groups (Amateurs and Experts) and alternates between them the entire day (more track time than you'll get at a Track Day). If I then race on Saturday I can do the 2 morning practices for my class (generally each practice is the length of a sprint race - about 8 or 9 laps at BFR) and the GTO 25 minute long Endurance race in the afternoon. If I add up all the fees for those 2 days it would be about $190 ($85 for Friday practice, $75 for the GTO race, $30 for a 3-day gate pass good Fri-Sun). If I wanted to get alot of Track time (on my GSXR 750 which is considered a Heavy Weight classed bike) I could stay for all 3 days and add 5 more Sprint races ($50, $40, $40, $40, $40) for a grand total of $400 for 3 consecutive days on the track including 6 actual races.

For $400 you could have:
- all day alternating practice on Friday
- 2 practices / GTO Endurance race / Sprint race on Saturday
- 2 practices / 4 Sprint races on Sunday

After that much time 'at speed' on the track your going to probably be somewhat mentally drained - but in a good way. Something that is pretty cool is if your on the track on days that are back to back you'll probably find your faster right away the next day, it's amazing how a good nights sleep after being on the track can get you faster.

The other thing I've seen people do is take the New Racer Licensing School so they can buy an actual Race license and do the 'Racer Only' practices before events as an Amateur, then they only do limited actual races and all the Friday practices to gain track time. The ones that are serious look into renting a personal instructor for themself to work with them at a Friday practice (or split the cost between themself and a couple other racers and do small group instruction with a personal instructor). This is what I'm planning on in 2008 with a personal instructor/race set-up guru I know, have him work with me exclusively for a day on getting my bike set-up and refining my race lines to get me back into the lead group. While this may not be cheap the 'bang for the buck' ratio that brings about immediate good results is huge when you have exclusive 1 on 1 instruction with a knowledgable instructor.
 

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So whats more hazardous...a so called expert ( doesnt mean anything) that is a moving pylon, or a novice that has some work to do on passing (whatever that may mean)

A pass is a pass you dont like it well tough....A block pass, stuffing, rubbing, getting pinched off, checking up...its all fair in racing and equally efective. You're objective is to get in front of everyone and win by abiding by the rulebook and in my opinion doing so safely and cleanly. As long as I dont get taken out which has happened to me, im cool with it....yeah the ones who usually suck at passing usually end up crashing though....most of the time by riding outside of their limit.

I think the issue is that you need to assure yourself as a self proclaimed used to be fast guy that you are somehow better than an "amateur" who is faster than you....

This is racing right? Someone faster is someone better... that is the end result.
Another rider shouldnt have made you crash that many times...you shouldve learned that he was a maverick or rogue type amateur and proceeded cautiously or tactfully.


but as this is a derail of the original post

I would once again recommend keith code or star motorcycle school...they are close to AZ and you can really learn a lot from them as they are trained to teach...not just fast as mike stated.


These are my opinions and if you "Don't like it or agree with what I have to say? Then don't read it or respond to it!"
 

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Racing as a front runner is expensive, but if your not there yet then you can race economically. As an example if I go to Blackhawk Farms Raceway (BFR is my home track) and do the 'Racer Only Practice Day' on Friday before an event for $85, there are only 2 groups (Amateurs and Experts) and alternates between them the entire day (more track time than you'll get at a Track Day). If I then race on Saturday I can do the 2 morning practices for my class (generally each practice is the length of a sprint race - about 8 or 9 laps at BFR) and the GTO 25 minute long Endurance race in the afternoon. If I add up all the fees for those 2 days it would be about $190 ($85 for Friday practice, $75 for the GTO race, $30 for a 3-day gate pass good Fri-Sun). If I wanted to get alot of Track time (on my GSXR 750 which is considered a Heavy Weight classed bike) I could stay for all 3 days and add 5 more Sprint races ($50, $40, $40, $40, $40) for a grand total of $400 for 3 consecutive days on the track including 6 actual races.

For $400 you could have:
- all day alternating practice on Friday
- 2 practices / GTO Endurance race / Sprint race on Saturday
- 2 practices / 4 Sprint races on Sunday

After that much time 'at speed' on the track your going to probably be somewhat mentally drained - but in a good way. Something that is pretty cool is if your on the track on days that are back to back you'll probably find your faster right away the next day, it's amazing how a good nights sleep after being on the track can get you faster.

The other thing I've seen people do is take the New Racer Licensing School so they can buy an actual Race license and do the 'Racer Only' practices before events as an Amateur, then they only do limited actual races and all the Friday practices to gain track time. The ones that are serious look into renting a personal instructor for themself to work with them at a Friday practice (or split the cost between themself and a couple other racers and do small group instruction with a personal instructor). This is what I'm planning on in 2008 with a personal instructor/race set-up guru I know, have him work with me exclusively for a day on getting my bike set-up and refining my race lines to get me back into the lead group. While this may not be cheap the 'bang for the buck' ratio that brings about immediate good results is huge when you have exclusive 1 on 1 instruction with a knowledgable instructor.
whats the point of racing if you arent there to do your best?

Why spend the money to go through the motions...just do a trackday
Im there to win or improve on my times and if I dont have fresh rubber that is almost impossible to do.

Can I win in expert class, no, can I drop my times yes...but i have to be in the best state both physically and mentally as does my bike.

Why race if you are there to just survive and be in the back of the pack...?
I would rather not race that much and bring my "A" game when I do...
 

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Long live NTSC.....
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well thats why its stupid to go straight into racing...if you become a trackday guy you can see where you are in relation to others just going your own pace....if thats what you care about. I did it cause my friends started riding the canyons and streets too fast and we wanted a safer environment to ride in....i.e the track. The great thing about trackday and riding on the track is you DONT HAVE to GO FAST!!!!!

You dont have to go fast or try to go fast to have fun. Some people just want to ride without having to worry about guardrails, double yellows, oncoming traffic, oil, debris, cars, or anything else to worry about.

Do you all just ride by yourselves?
Where are your riding buddies...? The ones that have your back and you grow up riding with?
Check your egos at the door and find some people to ride with that have the same mentality. Its so easy and you can help one another with riding...I helped my friends and have had friends help me by video taping and it has made the hugest difference in my riding.

Race when you can afford it and when you think you are ready...if you arent then you will soon learn you suck, if you are good then you will soon learn that you need to make more money :)
Well consider yourself blessed. I have ZERO (zip, zippo, nadda, "big-fat-goose-egg") friends outside of those I'v met through bike forums or the local club that ride anything on two wheels. For the most part those friends and family that I have who don't ride think I slipped a cog somewhere and have lost my mind to do what I was doing on the track this past summer. My parents didn't even come out to watch a track day.

One reoccurring issue that I've sensed is that of conflicting viewpoints. There are so many people out there that have a wide range of opinions on what "qualifies" a person "racer worthy". One person may want a rider that is consistent in lines and doesn't blow into the dirt as a result of a lousy pass by another rider. Another rider may want a rider who can keep consistent lap times. A third may want someone who twists their head in a perceived effort to "look through turns". These and endless other qualities are all marks that make a good rider but there's no standard that everyone can agree upon that qualifies someone a good racer.

For the record I've never attempted or entered a race. My experience is from doing track days and a couple of "club" day-long courses. The intimidation and "failure" factor (as I'll call it) started even before I did my first track day. I spent hours and hours reading about racing and riding and all the information was presented in such a way that is was assumed the reader already had some knowledge of MC racing and the day-to-day operations. As they say "ignorance is bliss" and my first track day was probably my best and most enjoyable; never to be equaled.

It's human nature to want to take things to the next level and I'm no different. Even though I only had one track day under me, I decided to take a club "Advanced Rider Training" course. Normally this would have been a wise decision but I decided to try it on a newly purchased race machine and (metaphorically speaking)branded myself with perpetual black eye. I also attempted to procure a race license and the orientation for this was a very miserable and discouraging few hours of my life. I was told that I wasn't "performing" to the satisfaction in which was expected.
Nowhere in anything that I read, anywhere, was there any sort of guideline, rule-of-thumb, suggestion or otherwise that would hint towards a good amount of track experience before one should attempt to begin racing. Likewise there wasn't any sort of requirements dictating a pass or fail criteria for obtaining a race license. It's all very subjective. It's the possibility of human emotions and their outcomes that have almost mandated multiple choice written examinations and numerical, quantitative skill/performance based exams when applying for government, civic or other official type licenses.

Granted, I made the error of not having anywhere near enough experience to begin racing but I think that could be said of some who hold race licenses. Again subjectivity is the rule rather than the exception.

If I recall correctly, the line I heard more than any other was "work on lines, stay consistent and smooth throttle and braking" (usually in the same breath). Problem is I would try and work on them and then someone would call me on something else. I felt like I was chasing phantoms; never really hitting the "apex" of all my weaknesses together. Since I would try and seek out advice, I got numorus versions of what I was doing and how "you did this and #$*[email protected] up" type stuff. I felt and still feel like I was trying to fight a brush fire with a garden hose; putting out a fire in front of me while another started behind me. Some seasoned racers were better in giving me support than others with the majority being from the track day organization. But in any case I always got the impression that I was a nuisance in asking for advice and evaluations on my riding. Maybe its just me or maybe it's just the typical demeanor of the race community with no ill intended. In any case I felt like I nuisance.

I've become somewhat disenchanted with the track riding/racing avenue for various reasons. A lot of frustration is lies in the feeling of never being able to progress past the 'underachiever" status and earning one ounce of respect from my peers in the local race community and shedding the "wannabe" label. If I thought I had an one percent chance of actually "succeeding" then perhaps I wouldn't be so frustrated. I'll admit that some of it's how I perceive things but it's also how newcomers are or are not accepted into this sport.

GSXR RACER MIKE said:
I also wanted to make it clear that the suggestions I'm giving are for someone who is PLANNING FROM THE START to go racing, I'm certainly not saying someone can't go racing and be successful after doing even 10 years of Track Days. I'm purely trying to show the other side of the coin that most new people will never hear about unless someone exposes them to it. It's up to each individual to make their own choices as to what route they want to go, but they should also evaluate along the way if they are achieving what they want, and if they're not what can they change to reach that goal? As I've heard before, "Insanity can be described as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result". If what your doing isn't working then use that as a challenge for yourself to seek out and apply what does work!
I only wish that I knew what it was that I was trying to achieve. I seriously doubt that I would know it if I was achieving it. I doubt I would know what to change even if I did.

Ohh well until next time......
 

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Racing is not for everyone. Doing track days is not for everyone either. back when i started there wasn't a such thing as track days and if you wanted to get better you either took chances on the street or took chances on the racetrack. its not rocket science to figure out which was safer. track days give riders the opportunity to ride fast in a fairly safe environment. track days give you the opportunity to measure your improvement based on you own mental evaluations as opposed your ranking at the end of the race. if you really just want to ride and be able to work on things in your own head then track days may be for you. Sportbike Track Time - Get on the right track !! Toll Free #888-390-4020 is a good place to start. i prefer STT over Nesba for newer riders and newer track day riders due to the amount of structure their beginner program has, the class room time and the one on one attention. a lot of the basics that are covered in Twist2 they use in their schools. personally...i think they are the biggest bang for the buck. most of the other 'schools' cost a lot more money for less fun.

i wish i could have done a few track days before i started racing. not because i wanted to have been faster when i started but because i knew there were things i needed to work on mentally and mechanically that i wasn't able to work on while i was racing. really, racing is about racing...its about finishing ahead of as many people as possible and not getting yourself killed or taking someone else out. all good intentions went out the window once the flagged dropped. i read the books and wanted to work on them but as soon as i got on the track all i could think about was going faster and i really didn't care how i did it. i got faster, i learned how to pass and when to pass and when not to and when i needed to and when i didn't need to and how to push riders into making mistakes and how to mentally prepare to race and how to setup my bike and set up my pit and organize my week before the race and the weekend of the race and bike maintenance...

i didn't become a better rider until i stopped racing however.

if you decide to race I'd still advise doing a track day or two. it helps. don't listen to anyone who tells you that you aren't ready to race or you're not fast enough to race or blah blah blah. don't get discouraged by your lap times compared to the faster riders. don't think you have to be "X" fast before you start racing. a lot of riders say they don't want to race yet because they don't want to get in the faster riders way. really...they don't want to get in the slower riders way and can't admit it. the fast guys have passed plenty of riders over the course of their racing. they've passed guys faster than you, slower than you and at some point they were the slow guy. don't worry about them. get the basics down. learn to find reference points. learn to get the gas as as soon as possible. learn the basics of sport riding and you'll be fine. find a race weekend at a track near you and spend the weekend there just observing. get there early and do the track walk with the riders going through race school. watch the faster riders, look at their bikes in the pits and get a feeling for how preparedness carries over onto the race track. watch some of the slower riders and see if can find mistakes they make that you make as well. get a feel for the entire weekend of racing and decide if that is something you want to do.
 

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Long live NTSC.....
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Racing is not for everyone. Doing track days is not for everyone either. back when i started there wasn't a such thing as track days and if you wanted to get better you either took chances on the street or took chances on the racetrack. its not rocket science to figure out which was safer. track days give riders the opportunity to ride fast in a fairly safe environment. track days give you the opportunity to measure your improvement based on you own mental evaluations as opposed your ranking at the end of the race. if you really just want to ride and be able to work on things in your own head then track days may be for you. Sportbike Track Time - Get on the right track !! Toll Free #888-390-4020 is a good place to start. i prefer STT over Nesba for newer riders and newer track day riders due to the amount of structure their beginner program has, the class room time and the one on one attention. a lot of the basics that are covered in Twist2 they use in their schools. personally...i think they are the biggest bang for the buck. most of the other 'schools' cost a lot more money for less fun.

i wish i could have done a few track days before i started racing. not because i wanted to have been faster when i started but because i knew there were things i needed to work on mentally and mechanically that i wasn't able to work on while i was racing. really, racing is about racing...its about finishing ahead of as many people as possible and not getting yourself killed or taking someone else out. all good intentions went out the window once the flagged dropped. i read the books and wanted to work on them but as soon as i got on the track all i could think about was going faster and i really didn't care how i did it. i got faster, i learned how to pass and when to pass and when not to and when i needed to and when i didn't need to and how to push riders into making mistakes and how to mentally prepare to race and how to setup my bike and set up my pit and organize my week before the race and the weekend of the race and bike maintenance...

i didn't become a better rider until i stopped racing however.

if you decide to race I'd still advise doing a track day or two. it helps. don't listen to anyone who tells you that you aren't ready to race or you're not fast enough to race or blah blah blah. don't get discouraged by your lap times compared to the faster riders. don't think you have to be "X" fast before you start racing. a lot of riders say they don't want to race yet because they don't want to get in the faster riders way. really...they don't want to get in the slower riders way and can't admit it. the fast guys have passed plenty of riders over the course of their racing. they've passed guys faster than you, slower than you and at some point they were the slow guy. don't worry about them. get the basics down. learn to find reference points. learn to get the gas as as soon as possible. learn the basics of sport riding and you'll be fine. find a race weekend at a track near you and spend the weekend there just observing. get there early and do the track walk with the riders going through race school. watch the faster riders, look at their bikes in the pits and get a feeling for how preparedness carries over onto the race track. watch some of the slower riders and see if can find mistakes they make that you make as well. get a feel for the entire weekend of racing and decide if that is something you want to do.

With all due respects and trying to sound as objective and sincere as pobbsile: I've already been down this road (both mentally and physically) a couple dozen times. I've watched others and done track days. That's why it's so frustrating. I've got enough pride to respect when others say they think I shouldn't be on the track racing. When it turns into cruel and careless comments (which happened to me as well) then the ego is highly sensitive and one becomes rather cautious/paranoid about image and perception. I don't care how it's interpreted, that's what happens.

Chances aren't good that I'll get on the bike again. This after spending thousands of dollars on equipment, training courses and track days. In the end I feel like I've failed for more reasons that just being told I'm not good enough or ready to race. It's a combination of things.....

Since I still have a deep concern for those that may end up trying to get on the track, I would encourage everyone to stop and asses what will make that person want to take the next step and the next and the next. This is supposed to be a fun activity and I would hope that someone can gain more from it than I have.
 
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