Laguna Seca – Altar Secrets from the High Temple of Velocity
Ol’ #30 going thru “The Corkscrew” – Photo Credit: Chuck Lantz chucklantz.com
Laguna Seca Track Tips.
Laguna is one of the high temples of Velocity – beautiful, but intimidating to the neophyte. I learned a few of her altar secrets on my journey to the heart of speedness:
Turn 1 – you gotta go over that hill flat-freakin-out. Do not roll off. As you go over the top, your back wheel will kick you in the butt as it comes off the ground and spins… if you did it right.
Turn 2 – don’t crash trail-braking at the entrance, ask Bobby Fong. But you can get on the gas hard at the exit thanks to positive camber.
Turn 3 – “toughest corner in motorcycling” according to the King, Tom Montano. He’s raced many tracks around the world, and won an AMA National here. It’s dead flat and loads the front end – Scott Russell found that out to his cost in 1998.
Turns 4 – trickier than you expect. It loads the front a lot but you lose a little camber at the exit so be careful. Slow down a hair going in, and gas hard coming out.
Turn 5 – lots of people crash in 5 – ask Lorenzo, Pedrosa etc etc. It’s heavily banked so your mid-corner speed can be very high, but it flattens off at the exit right when you’re hard on the gas and you can highside. Late entry and tight apex is the best line I found.
Turn 6 – don’t look at the vicious dip at the apex – turn the bike hard, set a positive throttle and go thru on power, looking across to the far kerb where you want to exit. Then full throttle up the hill as hard as you can.
Corkscrew – this corner is the nearest thing to an orgasm in full leathers – it’s wonderful. And less challenging then I expected. Take any entry line you like, launch downhill, but open the gas hard as you flick to the right.
Turn 9 – they didn’t name this Rainey Corner for nothing… it separates the men from the boys, and the World Champions from the men. The fast-bike line is straight to the apex, but I liked the Roi Holster-patented wide entrance: although it’s longer, you miss the bumps going in and you can drive the exit harder.
Turn 10 – always challenging you to go faster. I remember a mad, tilted, trajectory going through there in the race faster than made sense – a reality more video game than emergency room, hopefully
Turn 11 – like turn 3: tricky and easy to crash. Super-important to exit AFAP (as fast as possible) onto the straight.
Front straight – max throttle, everyone’s watching, feel the glory!