my downshifting issues

Jo Rhett jorhett at
Thu May 12 02:38:40 PDT 2011

Thank you all for the commentary.  I'm rereading and thinking over what you have to say.  As for your questions, here's the too-long story.

Okay, so before this weekend my corner entry was fairly consistent as such:

1. Chop the throttle
2. Pull in the clutch
3. Get on the brakes soft and progress to hard smoothly but quickly
4. Click one downshift
5. Release my brake hand enough to crack open the throttle again lightly
6. Let the clutch out enough to sync the engine and wheel
7. Get back hard on the brakes
(repeat steps 4-7 as necessary for more downshifts)
8. Crack open the throttle - maintenance mode
9. Trail brake near/to/past apex as necessary for corner
10. Roll on ...

So by now you are looking at this list and thinking "holy moly, batman, you're doing too fucking much!" and well yeah, that's why I decided to change it.  It works pretty well in fast corners like turn 1 at thill, turn 2 at sears, etc but it sucks rocks in hard braking zones like turn 7 at sears, turn 3 at cal speedway, etc.  And when I get in braking duels with people, it's not uncommon for me to miss a shift and come out of the corner in the wrong gear and lose the position I just made up.

The obvious change that many people recommended to me was to focus on braking hard, delay the downshifts until very late in the braking zone and do them all at once.  In theory this makes a lot of sense.  And it seems to be what all the faster guys do too.

It works well for me in certain corners: I had no drama in turns 1 and turn 7 at sears.  But turn 9 and 11 both had the rear wheel bouncing around something fierce.  Of odd note, I had no trouble on the 2nd gen superstock engine, it just absorbed it and rolled.  It was the 1st gen z-built superbike engine that would just throw me around something fierce no matter how late I waited to roll back on the throttle.

I found the situation so frightening that I was keeping the clutch engaged way deep into the corner, way past where I would already be rolling on again, and I *STILL* got rear wheel hop when I opened up the clutch again.  And yes, I was letting it go smoothly and slowly.  Very carefully.  It's just a really rough transition if I went down more than 1 gear.

I gave up trying to do this, and raced my normal way.  But I need to figure out how to do this. I believe that this Doing-Way-Too-Much is probably the thing holding me back the most right now.

My notes on this:

1. Engine is happy if I am rolling on.  Rolling on is good.  Maintenance throttle when opening the clutch is bad.

2. Hard braking corners like 9 and 11 at Sears I can't be rolling on the throttle until at or past the apex of the turn.

3. When the engine is in sync and I have positive throttle I roll harder and faster through the corner and out of it than when I go in very deep with the clutch still held in.  But perhaps I'm losing so much time in the longer braking zone that it evens out?  Hard to tell.

4. Perhaps I should just get slipper clutch for superbike and practice doing this with the 2nd gen stock engine?

Jo Rhett /  velociRaptor Racing
#553 WERA / AFM

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