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Dec 18th 2017, 09:30 PM   #1
 cgt1229's Avatar
 
  Feb 2016
  Bellingham

  Suzuki
Anyone been to Chuckwalla?

Planning on flying down, renting Gixxer 600's for a day or two, maybe even staying in a trackside cabin.
Probably less then a grand for airfare, lodging, bike, food & tracktime.
Anyone ridden this track?
There's a chance to do it both counter and clock, not sure what they'll offer.
Also it's an "open" all day format, with no sessions, should be interesting.
Temps in March are claimed to be around 85ish.

Any tips on gixxer "sweet spots" as far as ideal rpms go on the track?
Also could rent 636's, but leaning toward Suzuki's since it's really the only bike I've ridden for any length of time.
Nothing modern though, only 3 decade old dinosaurs.
Haven't spent any time on middleweights, just crusty old flexy flier litre bikes.

Edited by cgt1229 on Dec 18th 2017 at 09:35 PM
Dec 19th 2017, 09:14 AM   #2
 Nathan's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  space needle

I haven't been there but it sure does look like a fun track. Check out this neat site and click on the fz07 button: https://www.raceoptimal.com/Chuckwalla

compare it to the ridge: https://www.raceoptimal.com/RidgeMSP
I'd say it appears that liter bikes are more suitable for chuckwalla to maximize the stretches
Dec 19th 2017, 02:35 PM   #3
 mgfchapin's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Kirkland, WA

  '15 675R
I started my racing career there and considered it my "home" track for a few years (my avatar is in turn 10). I've done the fly in and rent thing there too, on a 2013 GSXR 600, and loved every minute of it. Great way to ride the track and an even better way to get away from a long WA winter.

SoCal Trackdays are unbeatable. Just keep in mind you'll be out there with former and current professional riders, so it's really, REALLY important to hold your lines and signal your intentions early. They will hammer that into your head in the morning. Otherwise, it's about as low stress as you can get at the track.

The straights at CVR aren't long. A 600 is much better suited anyway, and you'll find yourself using mostly 3rd and 4th gear. I don't know what redline on your rental will be, but keep it over 10k RPM and you'll be in the sweet spot. It's also a good idea to have your suspension set up in the morning and again in the afternoon when you get more comfortable.

Edited by mgfchapin on Dec 19th 2017 at 02:38 PM
Dec 19th 2017, 04:42 PM   #4
 cgt1229's Avatar
 
  Feb 2016
  Bellingham

  Suzuki
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgfchapin
I started my racing career there and considered it my "home" track for a few years (my avatar is in turn 10). I've done the fly in and rent thing there too, on a 2013 GSXR 600, and loved every minute of it. Great way to ride the track and an even better way to get away from a long WA winter.

SoCal Trackdays are unbeatable. Just keep in mind you'll be out there with former and current professional riders, so it's really, REALLY important to hold your lines and signal your intentions early. They will hammer that into your head in the morning. Otherwise, it's about as low stress as you can get at the track.

The straights at CVR aren't long. A 600 is much better suited anyway, and you'll find yourself using mostly 3rd and 4th gear. I don't know what redline on your rental will be, but keep it over 10k RPM and you'll be in the sweet spot. It's also a good idea to have your suspension set up in the morning and again in the afternoon when you get more comfortable.
Thanks for the tips, I don't tend to be a "swooper", so the line holding will hopefully work out, when the fast folks blow by. I've never ridden an unfamiliar bike fast on the track, might be a little sensory overload till I figure out where the apex's are. Are there any elevation changes at all?
Did you prefer a certain direction lapping the track? Maybe the Aztrackday folks will ball park the suspension settings based on weight.
Dec 19th 2017, 04:49 PM   #5
 cgt1229's Avatar
 
  Feb 2016
  Bellingham

  Suzuki
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathan
I haven't been there but it sure does look like a fun track. Check out this neat site and click on the fz07 button: https://www.raceoptimal.com/Chuckwalla

compare it to the ridge: https://www.raceoptimal.com/RidgeMSP
I'd say it appears that liter bikes are more suitable for chuckwalla to maximize the stretches
That's a pretty cool line representation.
Apparently the bike rental company claims 600's will be more than enough, especially with some wet newbies from the NW, though we do have double digit visits to the Ridge, with some dabbles at PR and TH.
Dec 19th 2017, 06:06 PM   #6
 mgfchapin's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Kirkland, WA

  '15 675R
No huge elevation changes like you're used to, think T-hill without the Cyclone, or the Ridge without the Ridge complex.

I guess I like CCW a little better. It seems to flow faster; my lap times are faster by half a second going CCW.

The line program is cool but that is really optimistic for an FZ1. If you're lapping at around 2 minutes flat, you might get passed by a couple other people. 1:49 would make you the fastest guy there by far.
Dec 20th 2017, 11:03 AM   #7
 TedR's Avatar
 
  Feb 2016
  Ferndale, WA

  Big-Block Dinosaurs
Quote:
Originally Posted by cgt1229
There's a chance to do it both counter and clock, not sure what they'll offer.
The way I read it, SoCalTrackdays Calendar says they're running CCW both days we're looking at (3/10 & 3/11).

Quote:
Originally Posted by mgfchapin
I've done the fly in and rent thing there too, on a 2013 GSXR 600, and loved every minute of it. Great way to ride the track and an even better way to get away from a long WA winter.
If you don't mind we/me asking, did you rent the bike through AZTrackday?
If 'Yes', it sounds like you had a positive experience, correct?
I spoke with Ted Rich on the phone, (I'm a different TedR, lol), and got a good vibe from him. Reviews also seem positive as well.

I'll pretty much echo CGT's comments - an experienced Intermediate track rider that holds predictable lines. Still a tiny bit intimidating I admit, due to unfamiliar track & bike.
I'm getting pretty excited about this little adventure. All the advance info is greatly appreciated.

.
Dec 20th 2017, 11:12 AM   #8
 mgfchapin's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Kirkland, WA

  '15 675R
I rented my bike through Andy of AP MotoArts, the guy who builds the FZ07R race bikes, but I know Ted Rich and I know some people that have had instruction from him. He's not someone I want to race against, but it sounds like he is very professional with his customers and I think you'll have a great time.

It sounds like you both know what you're doing. Chuckwalla is 40' wide and as long as you're predictable, the fast guys will have no issues getting around you.
Jan 2nd 2018, 05:11 PM   #9
 
  Jan 2016
  Seattle

I've got one of my bikes stashed there for the winter. There are a few of us that do a 'fly-n-ride' for the winter. $50/mo to store bikes we're not using, and flying into Palm Springs is fairly straightforward and affordable.

We'll be at every SoCal Track Days date until the end of April.

The track is super fun! Somewhere between Pacific and The Ridge in terms of bumps. Not much elevation, and picking up reference points is tough in the desert. Dusty if it's windy. 600 is plenty of bike. Be very confident in your direction and bike placement. Some of the critical points are entering or exiting tricky blind corners, depending on CCW vs CW.

Ken Hill has some great videos demonstrating proper lines around Chuckwalla. One of the best is this one : showing proper brake release points CCW.

As far as SoCal Track Days: the usual mix of 200/300 blue/black folks. I had space to work on my riding, but it wasn't a 'haul ass' kind of day. The group is mixed enough that you absolutely need to have a plan for maximizing your time around riders that may be quite a bit faster or slower than you.

One explicit warning: At the track, SoCal Track Days is very responsive and easy to talk to. However, they don't seem to respond to their email or phone. I have called them several times trying to address a registration issue and sent some email feedback. Never got a call or a response. If you need something, be pretty aggressive about contacting them.
Jan 2nd 2018, 07:42 PM   #10
 cgt1229's Avatar
 
  Feb 2016
  Bellingham

  Suzuki
Thanks Hawker for the insight, might see you on 3/10-11 then. Apparently both those days will be CCW, so the video is very helpful.
Looks like a 5:00 amish start time in the vid, will be a chore to focus at that hour, though the cooler temps might help.
Only got 3 days in this summer, 2 were at PR and the other at the Ridge, so the mix of the 2 for comparison, calms the nerves a bit.
Did get a couple days at TH west last fall, so it felt sorta like 5 days in the NW.

I imagine it'll take 20 laps or so to get familiar with the bike and the layout.
Since it's open track all day, the thought was to treat it like we do here in NW for the first 3 hours,
by doing 20 minute sessions on the hour, then start adding laps if the fitness allows.

I have accomodations in PS, but was thinking about trying the cabins at the track...have you done that?
Jan 4th 2018, 04:46 PM   #11
 
  Jan 2016
  Seattle

Quote:
Originally Posted by cgt1229
Thanks Hawker for the insight, might see you on 3/10-11 then. Apparently both those days will be CCW, so the video is very helpful.
Looks like a 5:00 amish start time in the vid, will be a chore to focus at that hour, though the cooler temps might help.
Only got 3 days in this summer, 2 were at PR and the other at the Ridge, so the mix of the 2 for comparison, calms the nerves a bit.
Did get a couple days at TH west last fall, so it felt sorta like 5 days in the NW.

I imagine it'll take 20 laps or so to get familiar with the bike and the layout.
Since it's open track all day, the thought was to treat it like we do here in NW for the first 3 hours,
by doing 20 minute sessions on the hour, then start adding laps if the fitness allows.

I have accomodations in PS, but was thinking about trying the cabins at the track...have you done that?
The day starts at 9am, noon-1 break for lunch, and track goes cold at dusk (~4:30)

Sounds like you've got a plan! If you can get a track walk in, I'd recommend it. If you come find me, I'll give you a tow. I try to park next to the Pridmore trailer.

We haven't stayed in the cabins, but I've talked to a few folks that have, and they say it's pretty good. If you bring your own bedding, you can get a bit of a discount. We sleep in the back of my truck...
Jan 4th 2018, 04:48 PM   #12
 TedR's Avatar
 
  Feb 2016
  Ferndale, WA

  Big-Block Dinosaurs
Great insight & info, Mgfchapin & Hawker.
Thanks for sharing, very much appreciated.

Officially booked the 3/10-3/11 trackdays and bike today...W00T!!

@ Hawker, hope we might bump into you down there.

Cheers, TedR
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