In a rare stroke of luck, I managed to book another evening and day at Cadwell Park on what turned out to be the whole of Summer 2016 - the 8th and 9th of May.
I followed my brother around for the first few sessions of the evening novice/inters group. The advice I gave him - and previously Phil - formed the foundations for the Getting Faster, Faster articles.
I previously talked about how I managed a lap of Cadwell in 1:58 (a 9 second improvement over my previous best) and was going to aim for a 1:55 next time.
I decided on this goal after watching the 1:58 onboard. I noticed that I needed to work on on my lines and the shorter drives between corners.
In the last session of the evening, I went for a blast and was pleasantly surprised by a 1:52.779. Goal achieved!
The next day I made even more progress. Moving markers around, checking lap times and making and consulting notes saw me very comfortably running low 1:50 laps the majority of the day before finishing it off by popping in a 1:49.73.
Yup. I managed to scrub off another 9 seconds.
It wasn't worth it though. I really pushed for that 1:49. I felt like I was pretty close to a one way ticket to the tarmac in a few places, and I was very very tired afterwards … for a gain of a 300th of a second.
There has to be easier time to gain, and as per usual, the answer is in the evidence.
In general, my biggest improvement to make is with strong braking. For example, I'm off the throttle and on the brakes before the 3 board up park straight when it should be somewhere between the 2 and the 3 board.
My problem is with braking hard and blipping. You can see this in the video @ 0:41 - the front of the bike dips with my throttle blip due to the change of pressure on the lever.
Shitty braking aside, some simple mistakes are very apparent.
I'm slow with my drive in the first third of the lap. Throttle development through Coppice @ 0:17, Charlie's @ 0:23 and Chirs curve @ 0:49 sucks.
Which I must notice because then I over compensate in the second third and end up rushing the Gooseneck @ 1:03 (messing up my drive to and through Mansfield ) and The Mountain @ 1:25. Running wide on the exists and totally messing up both my line and drives between corners. What was I supposed to be working on again? Hmmmm.
The final third of the lap through Hall Bends @ 1:39+, the hairpin and barn is ok, but, this is the slowest section of the track so there's hardly a lot of time to gain anyway.
I’m under no illusions that the rate of going faster carries massive diminishing returns. Losing another 9 seconds would see me on front row qualifying pace - which isn’t going to happen.
Shaving 2 - 3 seconds next time out is a difficult yet realistic goal (weather depending). We’ll have to wait though, I don’t have any dates at Cadwell on the agenda for a while.
He made awesome progress too. This was his third track day ever and his second at Cadwell. He really took on board my advice on the second day and made massive improvements with body position, lines and corner speed.
Unfortunately he doesn’t have any lap timing equipment to verify his progress, but he tells me he must have got faster, as he started to overtake more and more people during the day.
Oh, and he’d kill me if I didn’t mention that he managed to get his knee down.