Brouggy Blog - Crashes = Errors in Time, Space & Speed

Crashes = Errors in Time, Space & Speed

One of the biggest fears riders have when attending a racetrack experience (training / ride day / racing) is that of being interfered with by another rider. Although crashes involving more than one motorcycle are a very small percentage of incidents at the racetrack for non-competition experiences (compared to racing), they are an unfortunate reality from time to time…despite my wishing it to be different…

As a provider of these types of activities for around 25 years, it is a part of my job to not only try to reduce the possibility of multiple motorcycle incidents, but also to do a forensic analysis should it happen. Then, once we have an understanding of what contributed to the incident, attempt to implement policies and / or procedures to reduce the possibility of it happening again.

In doing so I have observed a number of things that can contribute to two or more motorcycles coming together.

The first and most observable contributor, and the one we’ll deal with in some degree of detail here, is that at least one individual has made an error in judging one (or more) of the three fundamental things we all juggle when riding – time, space & speed.

An error in one or more of these areas does not always result in a crash, but it does always result in an unexpected outcome for a corner. That unexpected outcome would most likely be something like; running wide (which can be from either turning too late or turning too early – entering too fast –  steering too slowly); making steering corrections (which can be from entering too fast or too slow – steering too slowly or too quickly) adding lean angle late in the turn (which can be from all of the above); poor throttle control – on and off the gas – late on the gas – too early on the gas (which can also be from all of the above)…and perhaps a few others. These errors are, I dare say, common to all but the best riders, and we will all make them on a semi regular basis. Agreed?

OK, so what happens when you make one or more of those errors – resulting in an unexpected outcome for the corner – then add in the additional element of another rider (or two), that may or may not have made one or more of those errors themselves? The answer? Usually nothing good…

Regardless of the error you have made (and it’s less than desirable outcome) you are now dealing with a situation where every decision you normally have to make as a rider is compressed into less time and space. Why? Well, now you not only have to judge where you are going to end up, but also where the other rider(s) are right now – and importantly – where they will be in the very near future. This scenario severely tests our skill set and, unfortunately, most of us will find that we are not skilled enough to guarantee not only our own safety, but also the safety of the other riders.


Want to see an example of this? Watch Jorge Lorenzo crash into Andrea Dovizioso, and take out Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi as well (Catalunya 2019)…

What was the cause? Sure, Lorenzo was coming too fast down the inside…but if you watch closely, you’ll see Dovi slows the bike a little because Marquez has just passed him down the inside and he is trying to still make it to his apex. This slight reduction in speed  and slightly later turn-in was enough to cause Lorenzo to have to brake harder while being on a tighter line. Lorenzo’s entry speed was actually about the same as Marquez (who made it through the corner fine), but Dovi’s attempt to get back to his apex closed the space that Lorenzo needed at the speed he was travelling.

Does this make it Dovi’s fault? No. I’m not saying that. But I am saying it contributed to the situation.


So how do we – as providers of non-competitive racetrack events – stop this from happening? The truth is, we can’t. As much as we’d like to, we simply can’t. In fact, this reminds me of a quote from California Superbike School founder Keith Code when talking about riders and crashes – “we don’t have to make mistakes, but as human beings we tend to”. Those mistakes are going to happen no matter how hard we try. All we can do is try to minimise the possibility of them happening and manage the severity should they happen.

Now…before you start thinking we’ve thrown our hands in the air and are attempting to absolve ourselves from all responsibility and control…there are a few things we can do. And here they are (in no particular order)…

  • Track groups and reduce speed differential between riders as much as possible.
  • Create rules for rider behaviour and communicate them clearly to all riders.
  • Monitor rider behaviour on track.
  • Monitor rider behaviour off track.
  • Educate riders how to look after themselves physically on the day (food & hydration).
  • Educate riders on potential errors on track.
  • Encourage riders to undertake regular rider training and constantly work on improving their riding.

These points are ingrained parts of the culture here at Motorcycling Events Group Australia (MEGA). We regularly engage in discussion as to how we can improve what we do, and by regularly, I mean like as in daily. That is something that has not changed in the past quarter of a century we’ve been running Ride Days, and it’s not about to stop anytime soon.

Despite that culture of evolution, improving everyone’s safety on track is a joint responsibility between ourselves and everyone who attends one of our Ride Days at either Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, or Sydney Motorsport Park. So before you get on your bike for your next riding session, perhaps just think about the above and see if how you behave on track is reflective of your desire to bring yourself (and everybody else) home unscathed.

How exactly can you do that? You can start by always riding within your limits, whether you are around other riders or not. You can also take a conservative approach to passing other riders, after all, there are usually a number of opportunities to overtake, you just need to take the correct one. Remember - it's a Ride Day, not a race day. There are no trophies up for grabs and everyone has to get up and go to work tomorrow. Last but not least, you can regularly upgrade your skill-set by attending some of the awesome rider training opportunities available. Do all of the above and you'll enjoy your riding on racetracks for a very long time to come...

Until next time…

Good luck with your riding,

Steve Brouggy (Founder – Motorcycling Events Group Australia)


Interested in reading more about this subject? Riding training legend Keith Code has delved into managing Time, Space & Speed, and offers some insight in this article on the California Superbike School riders’ forum. Check it out here -


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