Thunderhill East, 3-1/2 Years Later

Periodically I like to compare where things started to where they are now. For this example, I pulled my October 2018 data, shortly after I started this whole focused track thing. Thunderhill East has been a scary track for me in the past and I attribute most of this to the fact that it’s such a fast track (~140mph on the front straight with a supersport, 3+ areas where you’re 120mph+). Only since late last year is it no longer so intimidating for me and do I feel like I can make progress.

Thunderhill East, late 2018 vs mid-2022, GPS speed only

In this example, I have data from my best session at Thunderhill East thus far in July 2022 and my best session in October 2018. The bikes are different models but power and weight are quite similar and then and now I certainly am not riding the bikes to their full ability. This represents just about a 16-second delta.

In comparing the data, my slow points weren’t bad in 2018 but it’s clear that I wasn’t confident in the brakes because I was afraid to hold the throttle. This is more evident in the next graphic that adds braking G force, trail braking, and lean angle graphs.

Thunderhill East, late 2018 vs mid-2022, adding braking force, trail braking, and lean angle

I’m far from being properly quick around Thunderhill (or other tracks for that matter) but this is where I’ve found improvement. Number 1 is confidence in braking. To become more confident in braking I feel that it takes better vision skills along with better anticipation of what’s coming up next, familiarity with braking technique, and what it feels like to brake more effectively and consistently. Because my slow points have a higher speed, obviously my comfort with lean angle has progressed as well and I attribute this to an organic process, I haven’t deliberately focused on increasing lean angle. I can also tell that my sense of place in vision has improved as well as I now feel like I’m waiting for the bike to accelerate and feel like I’m sitting in the braking zones for a long time whereas in 2018 everything felt rushed.

In sum, if you’re looking to methodically improve your own track performance as you work through things, you might consider what I’ve used to develop my own riding in a safe manner.