2 Wheel Track Days SOW 4 Sept 2015
Streets of Willow (SOW)
Before The Roster Cries:
Up at 3 AM took care of the three esses, fed the 8 month old, packed up the cooler and out the door I went. It had been 10 years since I have been to SOW and to be honest I’d forgotten how to get there. I remember it was North East-ish but not as far as Button Willow. I put the address into my GPS and it tells me it cannot find a route. WHAT!?! Here I am heading up the 15 at O-dark-30 trying to find an address that will work. It wasn’t until I hit the 215 area that it found a route. I arrived at sunrise and start setting up right away near the SOW administration building. It was cold, really cold and like a rookie I didn’t think to bring a sweatshirt or hat.
Looking out onto the paddock it looks like we has a great turn out and I was looking fwd to getting out on the track, getting some much needed laps in and helping where as I could. During registration I helped with tech checking customers’ motorcycles. It wasn’t a race level inspection but we wanted to make sure we caught any obvious safety issues. Sticking throttle, weak brakes, tires wear, leaks, taped wheel magnets etc. The registration process was pretty smooth. All those who had preregistered had their paperwork and wrist bands waiting for them. They just needed to verify the information, sign a release, get their wrist band and out the door they go.
We packed into the administration building to get the required safety brief. It was your standard talk starting with the welcome speech, followed by an explanation of the flags and a video explaining the track entry and exit procedures. It was nice having the video. Sometimes the procedure can be confusing to new riders. Being able to see how to safely enter and exit the track from the rider’s perspective was very beneficial. 2WTD’s also provide a track orientation class for new riders. It gives them solid contact time with a control rider as they learn about the joys of riding on a track. At the end of the meeting I was asked to talk about a fellow motorcycle racer, Joanna Bitter #88, who was killed in a motorcycle race at Fontana the week prior. I made the assumption that most riders there didn’t know her so I simply explained what happened and framed it in a “be safe, it could happen to anyone” kind of talk.
On the Track:
SOW is a very bumpy and technical track. If I had to quickly describe how it flowed I’d say “If you’re not turning left your turning right” It also has two straights that end with 90 deg+ turns. I hadn’t been on a sport bike in over 4 months. It took a couple sessions to find some turning and braking markers I could use to help me get around. By lunch I was feeling comfortable and was actively helping customers and fellow control riders navigate some of the trickier sections of the track. There were a couple of run offs and crashes in T2, T3 and the BUMPY left-hander at the end of the back straight. Thankfully the ambulance was not needed to transport anyone and debris was cleaned up quickly so that we could get the customers back out onto the track. I finished the day tired but satisfied that I got to help those who needed it. I was also happy I got to practice getting the bike through a lot of tight turns. It was going to pay off for me when I went to race at the first round of CVMA.
Over all it was an amazing experience. 2WTD’s is running a great program and are well on their way to becoming one of the primer track day organization in Southern California. I can wait until the next day at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway 23 Oct 2015.