Riding Around In A Cornfield

Capo #1, Jim Calandro asked me to write up a description of a lap around the Roebling Road Raceway. From years of personal experience I can assure you that finding the track is a greater challenge than finding your way around the track. Roebling Road is located in the middle of a cornfield approximately 15 miles west of Savannah, GA.

First the disclaimer: I am a competent club level racer. Faster, more skilled riders may disagree with some of the following but it has always served me well as I have attempted to ride motorcycles at speed around this section of South Georgia asphalt.

Roebling Road is approximately 2.2 miles long and consists of seven right hand and two left hand turns. The front straight is approximately 1/2 mile in length and silly fast. The track is typically run in a clockwise direction. The pits at Roebling are on the infield side of the front straight.

Exiting the pits onto the front straight, it is very important to stay to the right or inside of the track to stay out of the "racing" line because open class bikes can be approaching 165 mph on Roebling's front straight. Continue to stay to the right (inside) entering right hand turn 1. Turn 1 is very fast; most racers will enter at over 100 mph. As you exit turn 1 it is time to start merging into the "race" line. Drift toward the outside of turn 1 and begin looking in towards the apex of turn 2.

Turn 2 is a late apex right turn. You should stay outside until you can see the exit of turn 2 and then turn the bike hard towards the apex. You should almost touch the inside curbing of turn 2 as you start to gently apply throttle and allow the bike to drift towards the outside. Once you have the bike upright you can accelerate thru the short straight before turn 3.

I enter left hand turn 3 from the middle of the short straight. You will probably feel the need to apply a small amount of front brake as you enter 3. Turn 3 is a long, fast constant radius left that I usually follow about three feet from the left edge of the asphalt. At the exit of turn 3 allow the bike to drift right, towards the entrance of right hand turn 4.

The entry to turn 4 is one of only two hard braking points on the track. Everyone seems to have a different entry point for turn 4 but I prefer to stay inside from the entry thru the apex. Turn 5 is a slight left hand kink that doesn't really require a major change of line. Many beginners will not feel comfortable accelerating from the exit of turn 4 thru the turn 5 kink and up to left hand turn 6 because turn 6 is decreasing radius and there are several patches through turn 6.

I try to ride a straight line from the exit of turn 4 until I am approximately 25 feet from the outside of the track at the entrance of turn 6 and then I turn the bike very hard left towards the curbing at the apex. I like to use this very late entrance for turn 6 unless I am racing and protecting the inside line. The asphalt patches on the "racing" line in 6 can be slick in the morning sessions or if the track is very cool or wet but offer good traction once the track is dry and warm.

Right hand turns 7 and 8 are basically one long carousel turn. The best line is to enter tight inside and maintain a constant arc until the exit of turn 8. The patches and bumps in this section are not as unsettling as the patches in turn 6. Coming off turn 8 allow the bike to drift left towards the outside. Now the fun really begins!

Accelerate along the outside of the track until the entrance of right hand turn 9. Most riders will drag the front brake slightly before turn 9. At the entrance of turn 9, turn right towards the inside of the track while you gently apply throttle. Follow a constant arc thru turn 9 past the pit entrance on your right. After the pit entrance you can allow the bike to start slowly drifting left towards the outside of the track. The exit of turn 9 is blind meaning you can't see the outside of the turn at your turn in or apex points. You have to learn the exact turn points and speed by gradually working up to them.

You will exit turn 9 near the outside (left) of the front straight. You now have 1/2 mile to catch your breath (if you can convince yourself to breath at well over 100 mph). I would recommend that you stay towards the outside of the front straight but leave several feet on your left for faster riders to pass.

As you approach turn 1 you will be entering the other hard braking zone if you are on a large bike. Remember turn 1 can be taken at approximately 100 mph but you will still need to slow from over 150 if you are riding a 996, Aprilia Mille R, etc. Turn 1 is a classic out/in/out turn. Begin your turn from the outside of the front straight, dive right towards the curbing at the apex and then let the bike drift gradually to the left towards the outside and the turn in point for turn 2. Many riders will stay leaned over from the entrance of turn 1 until the exit of turn 2.

There you have it. Roebling Road can be great fun and many riders develop a rhythm in a short amount of time. Some riders will drag their knee for the first time at Roebling due to the excellent traction and amount of time several of the turns require that you stay leaned over. Have fun.

Bill Birchfield USD Member 00007

Read Bill's Hot Lap of Carolina Motorsports Park...

The Roebling Road Raceway web site has a track diagram.