How To Ride Your Motorcycle Faster At A Racetrack

Battling with your instincts on the way to lap records

Stealing tenths.CaliPhotography

Chasing a fast lap, you're your own worst enemy. Extracting a tenth of a second is a personal battle. Racetrack conditions, suspension settings, and tire compounds are no longer holding you back; it's just you focused on staying composed in a high-stress, high-speed environment. Every natural instinct itches for inputs to happen sooner and more aggressively. These tendencies are exaggerated in competition like the one I was in at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway.

MotoAmerica Supersport podium finisher Richie Escalante was a few seconds ahead of me. Like any elite-level racer, he rarely puts a wheel wrong. Beating his kind of talent requires raw speed and precision, corner after corner, lap after lap. Even if you have the speed, then you need the patience. I knew all that, but my instincts were out to catch—scratch that—destroy Escalante. Technique and accuracy went out the window, and with them the chance to pass. Eagerness results in mistakes, opening up the gap.

I switched my concentration from his back to my own reference points. From corner entry to exit, I hit my marks in quick succession, piecing together one turn after the next. Escalante was nothing but an object in my peripherals, but once my focus shifted inward, he was an object that was quickly inching closer.

My sole focus was patience for the next lap. I sacrificed late braking to hit my apexes with exactness, and forfeited early throttle application for direct corner exits and more straightway speed. The result? There was no arguing the stopwatch—the fastest 600cc lap ever recorded at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway. Racing is a battle among competitors, but sometimes the fiercest enemy is yourself. Patience is always the secret.