Four Tracks for 2018

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David Leikvold
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Four Tracks for 2018

Post by David Leikvold » Sun May 14, 2017 9:31 pm

This might get some attention!

Elsewhere on this forum in the last day or two I have suggested various changes to the way we do our annual track layout. Look in "Volunteers 2017" for the posts. It seems like we are stuck in a bit of a rut as the layout looks remarkably similar year after year. It has always bothered me, particularly this year, that we don't make any use of the salt south of our existing start lines. When Track 2 (T2) went soft at the 2 mile we couldn't use the timing system so everyone dreaming of a record crowded onto Track 1 (T1) and the result was a lot of unhappy campers. The priority line (PL) didn't help either, it just compounded the misery for those who had to wait and watch the "more equal than others" competitors get more than their fair share of runs. There's nothing wrong with a PL as long as it isn't part of T1. So here's the first part of my proposal (and I couldn't be more serious).

We need to radically rethink our track layouts. We should have TWO long tracks and TWO short tracks. T1 (to the east) and PL (a little further west) should be started as far south as good salt allows. This year Norm Bradshaw drove south and found more than two kilometres of good salt that was just going begging. He said he could have even gone further. The two long tracks could be set at an appropriately divergent angle and surveyed and graded as far as good salt allows.

Next we also mark out a five mile (total length track) for TWO short courses in one straight line (west of PL). The normal Track 2 (T2) heads north from the two mile mark on this course and is set out as usual. The first two miles (T3) run south and is for cars and bikes that can't exceed 100 mph. It is a GPS only track. This five mile track is almost good enough to be a backup track for faster competitors if the salt on PL and T1 becomes too soft.

Read all the posts and tell me what you think. And, yes, I know we'd need more timing systems for PL. Properly organised we would even have enough volunteers.
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Tone
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Re: Four Tracks for 2018

Post by Tone » Mon May 15, 2017 9:57 am

like the "sub 100" idea Dave, what a great collection of fun vehicles that would attract!, really as long as you and Peter are there at the start line it's a fun time,

David Leikvold
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Re: Four Tracks for 2018

Post by David Leikvold » Mon May 15, 2017 11:02 am

Thanks Tone, you've got the right attitude, you could easily do a shift as a starter! The sub 100 vehicles are already there and always have been. These competitors have often told me that their bikes (it's usually old bikes) aren't really up to going flat out for the full T2 distance and they have to take it easy so I have no problem with them doing that, especially on T3. With GPS they can reach what they know is probably their best speed and then slow down before they do any damage. I'm sure the idea would work well. It would be even better if most of the T3 racers brought along their own GPS units so we didn't have to keep swapping them over all the time.

The T2 and T3 combined start line would be the place to be, lots of fun for everyone, a very relaxed vibe with no aggro and wait times measured in minutes, not hours. I would also be happy to have the T3 racers switch to T2 whenever they wanted to set an official speed. T3 would also be a great place for anyone to test and tune. Let's hope everyone gets behind the idea.

Cheers
Dave :mrgreen:
Good, Fast, Cheap, pick any two!

Tone
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Re: Four Tracks for 2018

Post by Tone » Mon May 15, 2017 1:12 pm

all good ideas need to be explored, wait times are understandable and part of the sport, additional tracks would encourage more competitors and also free up T1 for the "big guys", only thing I can think of off the top of the head is providing rescue to south bound racers, lot of ground to cover for existing crash crews (?), anyone want to add positives or negatives?

Norm
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Re: Four Tracks for 2018

Post by Norm » Mon May 15, 2017 1:28 pm

All great ideas. Having spent some time in the timing van I now understand the issues the guys face. Some of the issues are with people not being ready.

Having a track for vehicles under 100 makes sense and maybe say up to 130 ish.

Yes there will be a need for extra support vehicles. Maybe we needs a small working group to work the issues out and provide feed back to the main committee.

David Leikvold
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Re: Four Tracks for 2018

Post by David Leikvold » Mon May 15, 2017 1:54 pm

This year on Track 2 we had the medical crew with us (Dr Scott and his medico mates) running their Escort so we were well covered. It is always better to have the doctor arrive before the rescue crew as anyone seriously injured won't be moved until they're stabilised. If it's a bike that goes down the doctor is the only one needed. I can't think of any cars that can't do at least 100 mph. If something were to happen on the 100 mph T3 they would at least be heading south, roughly towards the T1 and PL start lines so getting closer to help with every second.

My idea with the four tracks was to spread the load as evenly as possible with all four tracks so we could easily adjust the required speeds to suit the demand. As the number of racers dwindled overall we could close T3 and put what's left of those racers on to T2. Some T2 racers will qualify to run T1. There are plenty of ways to make this workable over the whole four and a half days.

Norm, I would be happy to be part of this working group.

Cheers
Dave :mrgreen:
Good, Fast, Cheap, pick any two!

David Leikvold
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Re: Four Tracks for 2018

Post by David Leikvold » Mon May 15, 2017 2:00 pm

Earlier I mentioned that it would be really handy if the T3 racers brought their own GPS unit along to save a lot of messing about. Jaycar and various e-Bay sites sell digital GPS speedos fairly cheap. These would be even better than a normal GPS because they work as a speedo all the time, so racers would be getting more useful information as they went rather than waiting to see a single number peak speed back at the start line..
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David Leikvold
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Re: Four Tracks for 2018

Post by David Leikvold » Wed May 17, 2017 10:06 am

Lets get this working group started now. Who else wants to be part of it, either on this forum or with face to face meetings or by phone hook up or any combination of the three?
Good, Fast, Cheap, pick any two!

Tone
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Re: Four Tracks for 2018

Post by Tone » Wed May 17, 2017 1:04 pm

OK!, Two in the group!, last year we took a MPS-100 with us and had just as much fun with that as our big bike(P/PP 2000)
talk soon David,

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BONES
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Re: Four Tracks for 2018

Post by BONES » Thu May 18, 2017 7:43 pm

David
Boy are you trying to make some work for people (volunteers) we don't have.
Here's my 2c worth
At Speed Week they have 4 tracks, but they have 400 entries. Early in the week lines move slowly but as the week progresses the lines speed up and tracks get closed.
I think the biggest thing we can do to speed things up is to make sure competitors are ready to go when the guy at the line leaves
and make sure slower vehicles don't waste time running the full length of the track at 100 mph.
I can do 200 mph and be off the track by the second timed mile.
Car guys need to be in their car ready to go before they get to they get to the line. Bikes the same-- helmet on-leathers done up and ready to go.

I think having a pre-stage is wasting our resources. Have you seen an aerial view of Speed Week? The 2 lines can be a mile long. You just
keep moving up until it is your turn. At SW (all vehicles MUST be towed or trailered to and from the start and finish) I will keep my bike in the trailer until we are about 5 vehicles from the front and then unload and suite up and warm the bike up.

I do realise that some vehicles may have a problem starting. They should be given some time to get fired and if still have a problem the next competitor
is brought forward (he is READY to go because he was next in line) I know this is happening now.

This priority line is not good. Every one should line up the same. Streamliners and others which are dependant on minimum wind should line up like
everyone else. When they get to the front and the wind is too high and they decide unsuitable they can move to the side and let the racing continue
until such time that the wind has dropped and more suitable. They can then be brought back to the start. It may take all day but they still need to line up with all of us.

cheers Bones

David Leikvold
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Re: Four Tracks for 2018

Post by David Leikvold » Thu May 18, 2017 9:31 pm

Thanks for your 2c worth Bones, I wish more people would comment.

There seem to be two schools of thought about the number of volunteers we have available. Some say we never have enough, but my experience is very different, I never run short and many come back for more and Pete had to turn others away. The way I have tentatively planned the four track idea will require very low crew numbers. The existing Track One and the proposed Priority Line track would start from the same point(and be divergent) and would use the same crew with perhaps just one of two more people to "wrangle" the racers into the right lines and in order. The same starter would control both lines. This is not a significant increase in workload as a lot of juggling already happens run by run. My plan was to send a PL racer first and then when that one is well ahead send the next T1 racer. This will need some refinement as there may be wasted seconds with this arrangement. I guess I came up with this to placate the curmudgeons who are convinced that we'll all be killed if we start near each other. A bit more thought will be needed on that to maximise efficiency.

We had 400 entrants in 2013 and people rightly complained they didn't get enough runs. Even with less than half that we still get people unhappy about waiting. Four tracks will solve the problem for years and properly adjusted will halve waiting times for the T1 competitors. Pre-Stage just means less whingers distracting and annoying the starter. Maybe we need a big sign, "FASQ" - Frequently asked stupid questions. That's why Pete will never come back for more. The current T2 usually closes on Thursday afternoon. I expect T3 would be closed well before then. I was talking with Dave Freiburger from HOT ROD about the length of our T1 lineup this year and he laughed and said "that's not a line". Why would we ever want to have a queue that went for more than a mile? Or one that meant wait times measured in hours or "you'll get a run tomorrow"?

Track 2 and Track 3 are one straight line, at least five miles long. The combined start line will be at the two mile with the GPS T3 running south and the TAG-Heuer timed T2 running north as usual. This combined start line will only need one more person to be a spotter with binoculars to give the starter the all clear to send the next T3 racer on their way. We don't need a lot of people and I've always found that my volunteers are happy to do more than the minimum required, everybody quickly gets the idea that efficiency is everyone's responsibility.

Cheers
the other Dave :mrgreen:
Good, Fast, Cheap, pick any two!

Les
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Re: Four Tracks for 2018

Post by Les » Thu May 18, 2017 10:32 pm

I think it is worth a try David. As an old bike rider I am happy to run on track 2 and also track 3 with my own GPS for testing. Everyone hates hates queuing, it is a total waste of everyone's time better spent in the pits and are decidedly unhealthy in the heat. As you say it may only be needed for the first day or two until enthusiasm wanes and attrition mounts. 2017 was an exceptional problem because track 2 could not get going until near midday on Tuesday, from then you could get as many runs as you liked with hardly any queue.
Regards
Les

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BONES
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Re: Four Tracks for 2018

Post by BONES » Thu May 18, 2017 11:24 pm

Dave
What makes a priority vehicle?

Bones

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dplecko
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Re: Four Tracks for 2018

Post by dplecko » Thu May 18, 2017 11:33 pm

Agree with everything Bones said (...I can do 122.5 mph and be off the track before the one mile...)

Before we contemplate 4 tracks, and with the utmost respect, Track 2 has never been 'fully' operational - not timed over 1 mile, sometimes GPS only, sometimes just outright closed, return road not open to recovery vehicles, no two way records, etc. Every business/club needs a bread and butter earner, both for cashflow and to foster the future of the sport. Perhaps Track 2 should be really nurtured and renamed the honey track. Pay per run could be another cashflow model instead of entry fee: $50 per mile run on Track 2, $100 per mile run on Track 1.

Being dictated to motor a mechanically injected bike/vehicle back down the return road with an imperial gallon of warm nitromethane in the sump is an absolute suicide mission (not to mention expensive). I guess we might get to see how thick the salt is on that part of the lake by looking in the crater.

I have no problem with 250+ mph vehicles and invited VIP guests given a little priority, but extending that to 225ish mph vehicles is stretching it. I have invested more on test and tune equipment than what some vehicles for sale are asking, but have no issues running on Track 2 provided there is one mile timing and the startlines are adjacent. We do like to help each other go faster by comparing notes whilst waiting at the start line before our life's run out.
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David Leikvold
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Re: Four Tracks for 2018

Post by David Leikvold » Fri May 19, 2017 12:01 am

Bones, this year I'm led to believe it was fast vehicles that spectators wanted to watch. I'm far from convinced that entertaining people in the pits is more important than giving everyone a fair number of runs. Apparently the speed minimum was 225 mph but don't quote me, I was never told by any officials. I don't think Pete was either. Ironically, vision at ground level is only about two miles or so before it turns to haze, so the poor old starters NEVER get to see the show, all we get are highly geared vehicles that drive away from the start line with no more excitement that a road car getting a green light. Except for Tom Noack, who was always worth watching. The best we got was listening to them heading for points north.

If we had the two fast tracks we could share them relatively evenly but I'm not prepared to speculate what minimum speed would be set. Cars doing 150 mph and bikes doing 175 mph are long course qualified, he says, stating the bleedin' obvious. I think whatever is about even is about right.

Les, there is a possibility that we could have an extra timing beam on Track 2 next year so that we could time people over a full mile as well as the quarter mile. We haven't decided where that extra beam would be yet. The current beams are at 1.75 and 2.0 miles so we could have the extra one at 1.0 or 2.75. At 2.75 we would need to grade a longer braking zone but that would be useful if the long tracks got soft or wet. I will talk to my friends the timers and see what works for them. Any input on this from competitors would be most welcome. Les, if you make your bike last until Wednesday or Thursday you will have so many timed runs on T2 that you will be dizzy and loving it. I am happy for people to switch between T3 and T2 and back again whenever they like.

Cheers
Dave :mrgreen:
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