The right view - I go where I look! –
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The right view - I go where I look!

The most important sensation you have as a rider is your eyes. The way you work with them drastically affects your riding. Opinions can vary and some consider other riding techniques more important. In my opinion, using your eyes correctly is the most important thing that will affect your speed and safety. And why is that? Your eyes contribute greatly to where your motorcycle is going. They are the basis for deciding how to deal with the situation in front of you. Last but not least, correct eye work will also influence the intensity with which you perceive speed.

How "fast" do you feel?
Imagine you are driving on a flat road at, say, 160km/h and you are looking down at the tarmac directly in front of you. How fast does it feel like you are going? I bet it's a lot faster than it really is. The road's going to pass you by at such a pace you won't even be able to follow it. Same case, but your eyes are far out on the horizon. How do you perceive your speed now? Do you understand the difference? The farther you look, the "slower" you approach your destination. If you have already been on the circuit, for example in Brno, how did you feel? When you were going full throttle down the finishing straight, did it feel fast to you, or did you find speeds of around 200km/h perfectly fine? That probably wouldn't happen to you on a normal road. This is due to the width of the track and the distance of the objects from it. There are no trees or bollards whizzing past you at breakneck speed. Proper eye work will affect the way you perceive speed.

Even if the rider is directly in front of you, you still need to watch the turn itself and not fix your gaze on him.

Eye fixation
A big mistake and one of the panic reactions to impending disaster. Eye fixation, or fixation on a point, means that your eyes follow a specific point and cannot move away from it. The classic example of a pothole in the road. Instead of looking for a way around the hole, your eyes are fixated on it and you just hit it. Similar situations occur when driving on a race track. You overshoot a corner, you start braking hard, your head starts to panic and instead of looking into the corner and tilting the bike and turning, you're looking straight ahead at the duck. If you're following another rider, you obviously have to follow them. But you have to leave room to watch the track as well. If you fix your gaze only on him, I guarantee you that if he makes a mistake, you'll make one too. If he's long and goes off the track, you'll go with him. If he falls... You have to avoid that because the obligatory "Look where you want to go."

I go where I look
You always go where your eyes go. That's it. There are several reasons why this is so, and I honestly can't list them all and describe them properly. But it works every time and in any other sport. Do you look at the grass behind the curbs on the exit of a corner for fear of hitting it? You probably will. If, on the other hand, you focus on the exit point just after you pass the apex of the corner, you will go through the corner correctly. Experienced riders and racers are constantly working their eyes and focusing on points far away, rather than looking just ahead of the front wheel. In situations where you are approaching some sort of danger, you have to take your eyes off the hole in the asphalt or the gravel on the road to find an escape route, which in most cases exists. The chances of handling such a situation will then be much higher.

Get far enough ahead - this of course also depends on your speed through the bend.

Next time you're on the track, try to think about where you're looking when you're driving. If you realise that you are only concentrating on what is immediately in front of you, or that you are fixing your gaze on approaching obstacles or riders ahead, try to take your eyes off them and direct your gaze where you want to go. Pick points far enough ahead to reduce your perceived speed, but not too far that you stop peripherally perceiving the environment directly in front of you. Make sure your gaze goes from one point to the next without lingering on any one too long.

Visual sequence
Let's not just talk in generalities, let's try to describe a model example. Let's start from a straight line as we approach a curve. The eyes are looking for a braking point. The moment they find it, we start to perceive it peripherally and focus our eyes on the turning point. Once I know I'm properly oriented and I hit the turning point, I direct my gaze virtually to the apex of the turn. It works exactly the same way in the subsequent stages of cornering. Once I hit the apex of the corner, my eyes must not rest on the inner kerb two metres in front of the front wheel. At this stage, I have to direct my gaze to the end of the corner, to the outer kerb at the exit. If I can do this, it will allow me to adequately accelerate and straighten the bike to use the full width of the track (where appropriate, of course). If you happen to be long on the exits, or conversely miss corner entries and miss apexes, the problem will very likely be in your eye work.

This will take a bit of practice to get the hang of it and get comfortable. Especially if you have experienced mistakes. Training your peripheral vision can be the hardest and most difficult part. It will simply take time to get over the initial unnatural feeling. This can also be related to the position of your head when driving. Most riders tend to keep their head above the bike. At worst over the tank, i.e. on the axis of the bike, at best off axis but still with the head high instead of just above the tank. The explanation may be as follows. For your brain, this view is unusual. You're having trouble hitting the right track. Suddenly the corners look different. You're stepping outside your comfort zone of the head towering high above the bike. This position is unnatural for you and you have to get used to it if you want to achieve the most tightly packed racing stance ;-).

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