FUN Track Day Mentors

The DOCV has had several members put their hand up to be mentors for our Fun Days. 

These are people you can ask questions of before or on the day, someone there to help you navigate the day, to be a sounding board or someone to give you a bit of advice based on their experience or even simply someone to share a garage with who has been around the track a time or two before.

We won’t always have everyone at every day depending on their own schedules but as we get closer to each Fun Day we will let you all know who is going to be there on the day. 

So let's meet our Fun Day Mentors.


PAUL CAIA  

Hi, my name is Paul Caia.  I’ve been riding motorcycles since I was about 19yrs of age and a member of the DOCV since 2000, when I purchased my first Ducati; a 996.  Since my 996, I’ve been fortunate to also own a 748R, 1098S Tri-Colore, 1098R and now a 959 Panigale Corse. My current track/race bike is however a GSXR 600 (blasphemy I hear you cry).

My passion and enjoyment for riding got me involved in regular DOCV Fun Days, track days with Phillip Island Ride Days, Champions at Broadford and courses with the SuperBike School.

A few years back, I was fortunate to have a couple of years off Full Time work, which allowed me to be involved and work with Phillip Island Ride Days and the California SuperBike School. 

Given all this, I sincerely believe and can say with confidence, that our DOCV Fun Days are the most relaxed and friendly days, with no pressure to perform or prove, and no expectations set. Everyone is friendly, willing to assist and most importantly having a “Fun Day”!

A racetrack (and Phillip Island is spectacular), is the safest place to ride a motorcycle; it was designed for this sole purpose. There are no speed limits on track, no parked cars, curbs, sign posts or drivers doing U-turns!

I would highly recommend that you consider giving at least one Fun Day a go. You never know, you may just get hooked. Remember, we all started at the beginning as novices by doing our very first Fun Day.

Even though I’m far from qualified, or a pro-rider, I would love the opportunity to meet you and share what I have learnt and my experiences.  Look forward to the Fun Day when you come up and say Hi
 


GARRY ELPHINSTONE  

Who am I?

Tasmanian born, I have been riding motorcycles for over 40 years. Past captain, secretary and president of DOCV. Did my first track day with DOCV on an ST4 over 10 years ago. Have since done some of the Superbike schools and track days at Winton, Broadford and Phillip Island.  Brought a ZX6RR ex race bike to run around for a while. I bought it to crash it but found that can be painful (high-side) and fun (low sides), cleaned up a cape barren goose at 240 kph down the main straight and lived to tell the tale. I’m not out to set any lap records, just cruise around on a Ducati 899 which is my current track bike (don’t plan on crashing this one). Might even bring one of my Guzzi’s along for a few laps.

I’m a middle aged, recreational motorcyclists, hobby farmer, father of 4. Bit of a bike tragic with four bikes in the garage, not counting the farm 4-wheeler. I regularly do 3 or 4 track days per year. Will be at both PI and Broadford with DOCV and heading over to Mt Gambier in January with some other DOCV Fun Day buddies for some race tuition on another nice road, for a couple of days, without Police presence 

Track days are not to be feared. I rode down to PI for the first one I did and wondered why there were no other bikes on the road. On arrival at PI there were bikes in pits with slicks, tyre warmers etc. I nearly turned around and went home. Started out in the slow group and clocked up 370 km circulating that day. Had a ball, though the ride home was an absolute killer. I was stuffed. I got smart, acquired a trailer and drove down which makes the day so much easier (being able to bring fuel, change of clothes, snacks, cold drinks etc) and makes the trip home more bearable.

I’ve done track days with other clubs, corporate days, Superbike school, Champions etc and DOCV days are the best. The track is not crowded, no huge ego’s, no wanna-be-Rossi’s but a friendly, helpful, inclusive atmosphere.

<<font face="Tahoma">As someone who has literally done thousands of laps around PI and been involved in running DOCV fun days I’m more than happy to buddy up with those who may be doing their first, or first few track days, and to make sure you have a great DOCV Fun Day experience.

My name, Garry Elphinstone

 

LEX VILLANUEVA  

I have been a track day addict for the last 12 years and over the last 10 years, I have attended every DOCV Fun Day. 

I'm a late bloomer with motorcycle riding, I did not take up riding until my early 30's.  I cannot say, I am naturally gifted at anything especially motorcycle riding.  I started to do trackdays because I found public roads to be scary to try and learn to ride fast but  I am an enthusiastic learner, so over the years I have read tonnes of material, attended numerous riding courses (including SuperBike School) and watched too many YouTube videos to help and improve my riding technique.

<<font face="Tahoma">Currently, I am in the Goldilock zone at Phillip Island, not too slow and not too fast, lapping circa 2 mins and mid pack medium fast group.

   

KATIE KEMP  

Mitch and I first joined DOCV back in 2005, but we dropped off the radar for a bit (due to getting married, and having Riley,) before returning in 2016. I have always participated in the ladies track days at Broadford, but once I started to attend the DOCV fun days I got the track bug pretty bad and quickly decided that my everyday ride, my beloved 996 Monster wasn't ideal to ride on track, because if I dropped it, I had nothing to ride.

So I started to ride a 996 Superbike, which I love but I found heavy to muscle around my favorite tracks, being Broadford and Mac Park, so now onto an 848, a little more torque but 30kgs lighter and a little more user friendly.

I'm no expert but I've had expert training from the likes of Cam Donald, Levi Day, Josh Waters and Dave Moss, and Ifind that body position, head position, lines and a bit of grit are key when on the track, as well as the road. 

Having said that though, I have no intention of racing professionally, I'm just out there having a go, improving my riding and skills and having a ball doing it.  Would be so great to get some more ladies out there having a go, it really is super fun.  I'm always happy to help out and chat to anyone who needs anything. 

 

MITCH KEMP  

How much fun are track days?....Awesome fun as far as I’m concerned and they just keep getting better.

Although I’ve been road riding all of my adult life, my track experience is only fairly recent. In 1994 I did a basic Stay Upright course at Phillip Island. I had a big day sacring myself stupid at high speed but can’t say I really learned any track technique on the day. In 2012 I did a level 2 course with Top Rider at Broardford but again all it did was prove my road riding skills were ok while track technique was still all but absent.  The photos told the story. I didn’t even look fast. My body position told the tale.

In early 2016 Katie and I re-joined DOCV after a 10 year period away due to our busy lives getting in the way.  In the lead up to the amazing opportunity presented by the 40th anniversary double PI fun day that year, I thought it might be time to obtain a dedicated track bike and finally try to gain some track technique as a 50th birthday present to myself.

No money for a track bike…. no worries, because I noticed Leigh Martin’s bike finance ad in Desmoto. I started looking for a roughy but kept finding myself drooling over 1098 Tricolors on Bikesales. To justify the $18,000 purchase price, I convinced myself it was a collectable model and I would have to make sure I stay well within my skill level on track so as not to damage my new baby.

So far, it’s turned out to be a pretty good strategy.  It gave me licence not to worry about being fast. I recognised I still had a lot to learn before I could be comfortable and fast.  So instead I focused on bike set up, ergonomics, tyres, braking zones, tip in points, apexes, track conditions and body position. I always ride within my comfort zone but keep trying to apply best practice to all the above. Whilst on track I try to pay particularly attention to body position and track position.

In the beginning it felt so unnatural and I didn’t feel like I was making much progress. But it takes a while before something like track body position becomes second nature. Eventually though (several track days later) it did start to embed itself.  I started to notice I felt more comfortable leaning off the bike and setting up for corners. I felt faster, and the track photos started to confirm this.

So while I’m really happy with the progress I’ve made in the last 3 years, I still recognise I’ve got a long way to go before I’m anywhere near as fast as Faz for instance. And that’s fine, I don’t feel like I need to compete with anyone but myself. It’s much more about continuing the journey I embarked upon back in 2016 and reflecting on the steady progress I make along the way.  I’m still yet to stitch together one perfect lap but I feel I’m getting a little bit closer every fun day.

So, the best advice I can to give to someone new to track days;

  • ·        just remember to give yourself time
  • ·        ask lots of questions
  • ·        and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be fast

If for whatever reason it doesn’t feel quite right during a session, come into the pits early or sit out a session and just chat to the wonderful people of the DOCV.  That’s what’s so great about DOCV. The generous help and support you get from the moment you show up.

And once again, many thanks to Leigh. My beloved Tricolor is all paid off and remains unmarked!

Ciao,


PETER SAUNDERS  

I joined the DOCV around 2001 and have been attending the club’s Fun Days since about 2005.

My first track day was over thirty years ago at Phillip Island. It was organised by a Melbourne motorcycle dealer whose name now escapes me.  Their rules covering protective gear were minimal and the ones that were in place were not policed all that diligently!

The safety instructions for the day were vague and nobody that I spoke to knew what the on-track etiquette was.  It made for an extremely stressful introduction to track riding!

But I am so glad it did not put me off as I would never have realised the pleasure of riding fast and safe in a controlled environment (and without the fear of losing your license)!

Fortunately, those days are long gone and the club has worked hard to ensure members leave their first Fun Day with great memories and very much looking forward to their next one. 

I look forward to meeting our new track riders and helping them have an enjoyable Fun Day experience.

 

GAVIN HODGE  

Hi, I’m Gavin, your recently ex- DOCV captain.  I started riding when I was 15 years old on dirt bikes, progressed to doing endurance racing and then onto road bikes. 

I joined the DOCV in 2009 and have been an active member ever since.  Not that I’ve been counting but I have probably done over 150,000 kms on Ducati bikes so far and still going.

I have also done a couple of track days and helped with running a few more so might know a couple of things to help out if you are still new to all things track day. 


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