MissyB’s first trackday

We’ve only been harassing her to do this for… um… what is it, 3 years now?  At least?  She wanted to get it done before her [age redacted]th birthday, but events conspired against her.  However, on the 14th of this month, she managed to get it done.  Since I’ve got the upcoming annual West Coast BBO Rally (alternately known as the Potato-Ranch Rally) and have had that leave form in for some 6 months, I figured discretion the better part of valor with regard to doing the trackday with her.  However, since it was at Inde Motorsports Park up in Willcox, it was less than a two hour ride from Kelly’s house in Tucson for me to take photos.

Here’s the crazy lady in question, just after pulling in from her first session:

We had gotten an email from the Take it to the Track (TI2TT.com) guys stating that they were really short for the day’s registration, and that unless another 30 riders registered before the friday a week out from the trackday, it would end up being cancelled.  Well they ended up combining the A and B groups since only 2 A-group riders registered, but the C-group ended up being pretty well stocked:

Here’s Missy doing her thing:

During the first session, this guy came over the second ‘blind hill’ on the course (Turn 14 on the official track map) and was going too fast, so he stood it up and ran off the track in a straight line, then slowly turned to get back on the asphalt:

After further events, I realize I probably should have talked to the control riders between sessions, since in retrospect he appeared to have continual issues with that particular corner.  The further events, given someone riding over their head, were kinda inevitable:

Notice anything weird with that?  Here’s the next three shots in the sequence:

He was fine, and got the ‘ride of shame’ back to the pits on the back of a dirtbike.  I mentioned ‘riding over his head’ earlier mostly because he was a C-group rider, and most definitely should [i]not[/i] have been riding hard enough during the first session to get himself into trouble.  Find your way around the track.  Get comfortable on the track.  Get comfortable on your bike.  Open it up on the main straight… but save the speeds where you need mid-corner line adjustments until later in the day.  The run over the blind hill and off the track during session one should be a warning that you’re running too hard.  Oh well, hopefully lesson learned.

Mark (AZridered) and his wife Janet were there, and his son’s bike was sporting some new paint:

He also pulled the lights off (and put the number plates back on) the little CB400.  Oh, and he pulled the muffler… “So at least I’ll sound like I’m going fast” she said:

So Missy pitted next to Mark, and on the other side of her spot there was a VR6 Golf with a little trailer and a pop-up tent where the guy riding a CBR1000RR was parked.  As we were all chatting between sessions, he overheard some of the photo discussion, and chimed in with something along the lines of “Well I see you’re a Canon guy, so you’re okay…”  Followed not to long after by “I’m out riding and can’t shoot much today, but I’ve got a 70-200mmF/4L if you want to borrow it…”

Um.  Yeah.

For you non photo-geeks, what he just offered was a very good, image-stabilized, pro-grade zoom telephoto lens.  I had been shooting with my 18-200mm Sigma ‘walking around’ lens, which is good for everything, but not great for anything.  The offered lens is one of the premiere daytime sports lenses that Canon makes. On the APS-C (small sensor) T1i I was shooting with, the lens effectively becomes a 112-320mm, and the F/4 means it has a very large aperture (gate which controls how much light comes in) which means it would shoot ridiculously fast.

Um, yeah, I’ll take you up on that.  Serious props to Ryan Young (an AF Capt. from DM) for letting me borrow that lens.  Here he is doing his thing:

One of the other great things about the lens is depth of field monkeybusiness.  As an example, when shooting with a long focal length at a wide-open (f4) aperture, there is a narrow distance from the camera for which things are in focus.  Anything in front of, or behind the plane in space for which the lens is focused, is slightly (or greatly) blurred, an effect called ‘bokeh’ by photographers.  This lens had a great bokeh:

Also, because it shoots well at high shutter speeds, and has a very sharp and clear focus, you can get some pretty amazing close-ups:

However, because it’s a zoom telephoto lens, you can ‘back out’ as it were, and get some good compositional stuff too:

There were a couple of seriously fast guys running laps, I think I was able to figure out who at least one of the ‘A-group’ bubbas was:

Missy did get faster over the course of the day, and was able to get moved around a little bit on the seat for corners:

… and a little bit more here:

Around lunch, I mentioned that she needs to get further off the bike.  Janet mentioned that until you’re leaning over far enough to drag stuff, you don’t need to hang off more… to which I responded “Well go faster!  Then hang off more!”  A good day was had by all, and most importantly, Missy kept the shiny side up for the entire day.  One of Mark’s friends apparently had a semi-gnarly crash going into turn 4, but was cogent and coherent enough to tell folks not to call his wife until they got done at the hospital checking him out.  I haven’t heard anything else bad about the incident from Mark, so I assume he turned out at least ‘only scuffed up a bit’.

If you want to look at the entire set of the trackday photos, check them out over at my Picasa Albums.

About Galaxieman