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Feel The Fear And…..

If it’s been a while since you’ve ridden on circuit you’ll start to wonder if you can still do it. ‘Maybe I’ve lost the skills?’ or, ‘I haven’t done it for years, I’ll be rubbish’.
This is common so thought I’d share how I deal with it.
Firstly, you are not the only one that experiences this feeling.  It’s normal to have self doubt when you’ve been off the bike for a period of time. I didn’t zip up a leather suit for 5 years from when I retired from racing until I started instructing.  I used to have this feeling before the first test of every season after the long European winter break and also when coming back from injury.  Even now the self doubt comes when a new client (who has hired me to help them ride faster) tells me their smoking fast lap times, times I haven’t had to do in years! I wonder to myself if I can still do them and even worry that I’ll let these people down & waste their time/money etc.  Because I’ve been through this so often I know that it’s just an inbuilt human trait that I need to ignore and push on through it.  I remind myself that riding on track is ‘like riding a bicycle’ as the saying goes, you don’t forget the skills you’ve learned. Instead I use this feeling as a friendly reminder to prepare well.
Whenever you feel this self doubt creep in, rather than let it put you off doing something simply acknowledge it as your helpful, built-in reminder to make sure that your bike and equipment are prepared well. This way you have a head start on a successful return. If you haven’t ridden in a while it will be easy not to recognise something that is wrong with your bike or setup and you will put your lack of success down to your lack of recent practice and in doing so reaffirming your self doubt, when in reality if the setup of your bike was correct you’d have felt good and ridden well.

Also, it’s easy to forget how hard you tried when you set your best lap time’s. Don’t make the mistake of believing you’ll surely beat your personal best, forgetting that you tried your ass off to set those times. You will have to try your ass off just to equal those times, then make your next move.

So, instead of letting self doubt stop you, remember it’s just a reminder to give yourself the best chance of success by preparing well.

Photo: TrackRiders.eu

7 comments

Wise words, thank you Mr Crafar

when people lost confidence they just start fibling with everything traction, new tire mark etc! Why not just realize that we have better days and also opposite? Concentrate and selfsuggest that i can, i will, its possible! Listen to sixth sence and if you feeling the bad day a close call or what so ever go home its coming new days with better oppurtunies!
Thanks Simon for so many god advises and pedagocic instructions! Mike from Sweden

Hi im new to track riding and having trouble with this side off things is there something I can read more on this do you have a book on this im in nz and have done csb school I’d love to get some rides with you but nz is a long way from you if you have books I will buy them thanks

Nail on the head again Simon! For some reason I forget (I think it was something to do with doting on a woman actually) I didn’t ride on track for about 5 years too. When I came back I had little or no idea how to find an apex, I was a bit broken to be honest. A little patience, a little introspection and eventually ending up on the right kit rather than trying to flog a road bike on road tyres that didn’t turn sorted the problem – but I tell you what – that feeling of thinking I’d lost whatever skills I had was horrible. It just needed a bit of application and sensible thought to overcome all the things telling me to give up for good. Glad I did, because 10 years on and I’ve rarely enjoyed my riding on track more (especially since you made me quicker in one simple conversation back in 2010!)

Hi James,
We have 2 books: Motovudu: Dark Art of Performance and Motovudu 2 (for advanced riders, follows on from first book) and also Motovudu: Dark Art of Performance DVD. They should give you lots of info to help you out on track. They are all available from http://www.brm.co.nz/motovudu/ in New Zealand or from the http://www.motovudu.com website. Good luck with your riding.

Thank you sir!

I came back to race after a 4.5 year lay off riding a model of bike I hadn’t ridden for 10 year’s. Gearbox got stuck in 4th in qualifying so I started from last place on the grid. Went on to win the race and do faster times than I did 10 years earlier. To put this in perspective the bike I was on was one of the best bikes on the grid plus machines had developed partly due to rule changes, tyres were better etc so was in fact a faster machine than my old bike. I’m not just blowing my own trumpet here I’m trying to reinforce your point. Even from the back of the grid after that lay off I still believed I could win the race. Self belief is paramount. By the way my first time on a race track was under your instruction at the cadwell Park race school. I was so impressed by how nice a bloke you were. Might see you again as I was on a track day last year you were instructing on and this year I’ll try and come say hello.

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