Guide to track riding: Braking - part 1

By Chris Newbigging -

Riding Skills

 21 August 2009 15:21

Braking on track is easier on track in some ways – a better, more consistent surface, hot tyres and nothing to pull out or appear in front of you.

But it also requires more concentration – you’ll be trying to extract every last bit of braking ability from the brakes, tyres and suspension, leaving it as late as possible to get the best lap time.

Before you even head for the track, ensure every component is working as it should – the master cylinder, lines, calipers, discs and brake fluid all need to be working as they should. Tired fluid, warped or worn discs, knackered pads, sticking calipers and tired seals are both dangerous and performance sapping.

Check it over first. Make sure you have the right tyres set to recommended track pressures, and that your suspension is up to hard braking.

Give the tyres and brakes a couple of laps to get to temperature – track pads and discs often need to get to working temperature. Get a feel for what grip is available, where bumps are and any markers that might help.

Start with a comfort barrier giving extra room to stop – identify an immovable marker on the track (trees, marshal points, access roads, surface changes are common) to give you a repeatable target to aim for. You don’t need to brake exactly on it –  as long as you know where you brake in relation to it, it’s useful.