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How I approach Wakefield Park
How I approach wakefield park
Bike: Yamaha R6
Gearing: 15/47 (Can be geared shorter as well but I use the same gearing for EC)
Turn One – Depending on what size bike you ride through there, it is more of a fast kink than a turn. On the R6 I top out in fifth gear till the end of the armco of pit exit then roll off to start braking. Staying on the ideal racing line which is far left of the track, trailing the brakes into the kink (far right clipping the ripple strip)
Turn Two – Drifting back to the outside of the track coming through the kink in fifth, I would pick the bike up and brake in as straight of a line as possible shifting back two more gears before tipping into turn two. On a 600, its important to release the brakes early here to keep corner speed up and pick up the throttle early to get a good drive. It opens up a chance to get a quick pass on the inside of turn three.
Turn Three – Ideally, you would approach it from the outside white line. I shift back into third and tip it in quickly clipping the ripple strip with my knee. There are bumps to watch out for so stay relaxed and keep on the throttle and ride the bumps out.
Turn Four – can be taken from the left or mid track really. Still in third, clip the inside, then drive it out wide. Use all the track to build up speed through the back because most people slow down too much (sometimes I do too)
Turn Five – after picking it up a little and driving out wide, turn five dips downhill so pick that knee up and try not to grind any footpegs and end up sliding on your arse. When I first started, I waited till I was through the corner before I applied the throttle. I found the key to getting the bike stable was to actually roll on the throttle before you hit your clipping point.
Turn Six – basically a matter of lining it up. You can take any line here depending on if there is dirt washed across the track and other riders. It’s a nice right hand sweeper that you can progressively keep rolling on the throttle.
Turn Seven & eight – is a quick flick to keep the bike upright after you hit the little crest then brake hard for the sharp left hand corner. The best way I found is to turn in late rather than early. Turning in early creates a couple of problems for you, either running it wide to the other end of the track and not getting the drive up the hill or you have to constantly adjust your line. Shifting down to second, I found that you can trail the brakes in quite deep after a late turn in and getting on the throttle to run it slightly out to mid track, then hugging the ripple strip on the far left before you take turn nine.
Turn Nine – coming out and driving up the hill, I short shift into third (to keep the bike settled) then it’s a quick dab of the rear brake in transition to the quick right. On the bigger bikes (even the 600s) the little bumps after the corner makes your front end really light and just be prepared for the little headshake. Best way is to keep those arms relaxed and let the bike sort it out for you.
Turn Ten – this turn is quick and there is a 100m bollard on your left. I try to use that as my braking marker (again depending on the size of your bike) From fourth, I shift back into second. The line I pick is about 3 or so metres from the far left. It’s a turn that catches you out if you turn in and try to clip early. On exit, run it out wide by getting on the throttle early and hopefully creating a good drive down the main straight ready for turn one all over again.
When I was learning the track when I first started doing track days, I started to watch the faster riders. I was amazed at how much speed you can carry in the corners and how early they let off the brakes. I initially tried to close the gap by braking harder and wondered how the faster riders were still pulling away. Then I realised I wasn’t using power on the exit because I was still trying to tame and settle the bike. While I was still doing that, the other riders were already off the brakes and on the throttle. Like any track, take the time to familiar yourself with the layout then progressively find your reference points for braking and tipping in. Hope this has been useful for you.