August 3, 2002
Thanks to Mark Finney, I was able to sneak into a Desmo track day at Putnam Park on August 3rd at the last minute. Putnam is a great track. The pavement quality is top notch, the turns challenging with both high speed sweepers and hard braking tight corners, and the elevation changes give the track a lot of character. I had a great day of riding, and the event was very well run.
Here's my take of a lap around Putnam Park on the little 400:Throttle to the stop as you exit turn 10 down the front straight, which has a downhill grade. Grab another gear at the start finish line, and let the upcoming downhill section (over a small rise, the descent increases) help the bike rev quicker before grabbing 5th gear. Tucked in as much as possible, you watch the rumble strip on your left go by, and here comes the 300 foot marker. Sit up into the wind, grab a quick downshift, and just a little brake as you start to lean the bike in to the right, trailing the front brake until about 10 feet before the apex. Get back on the gas to help you run wide and set up turn two. Still leaned over coming out of one, grab another downshift and let the engine braking adjust your speed, find your apex, lean right again, and roll on the throttle, pulling it to the stop by the time you hit the apex. Throttle to the stop as long as you dare exiting turn 2 and run wide, setting yourself up for the right hand kink turn 3. The exit of turn two starts the uphill run through 3 and 4 to the entrance of 5. The revs are approaching the limiter as you exit 3, and you're trying to keep the bike from going too wide. Let off the gas, lift yourself out of the seat to the other side of the bike, throw the bike and your knee into turn 4, keeping your knee on the ground until just past the apex (the apex eventually shows up...it's a long left-hand sweeper, like Fabi turn 4 but a little tighter) where you let the bike run wide, throttle to the stop. Before you hit the exit rumble strip, grab a gear and head back to the other side of the track for the upcoming right hand turn 5. Quick downshift and light brakes to help your turn-in before you roll the throttle on again to the stop well before the apex, running you wide on the exit, setting you up perfectly for an easy right, turn 6. Keep the throttle as open as you dare through 6, finding your braking marker on the exit for turn 7, the bus stop, another right hander. Grab a downshift, hard on the brakes as you turn the bike in, and when your knee puck starts to drag, get back on the gas pulling it to the stop again. Grab a quick upshift as you head downhill towards the uphill left hand turn 8 - the hairpin. Enter wide, find and hold a tight line (not too tight, or the peg will drag), knee on the ground as you look ahead in the turn and it begins to ascend back up the hill. You're wondering how much longer your knee will be on the ground by the time you finally spot your exit, although you hold as tight of a line as you can while rolling on the throttle, since the entrance to the right-hand carousel turn 9 and 10 is on the far left hand side of the track. Throttle to the stop before easing up, set a tight line in the entrance to 9, run the exit a little wide before turning it back in for 10, pulling the throttle to the stop as soon as you've got the guts. Repeat!!