8 Reasons to Love Little Tally
Updated: May 31, 2019
I've never heard a track griped about so much in the sportbike community as Talladega GP Raceway--also known as Little Talladega. I've heard it all: it's too small, it only has one right-hander, it lacks elevation and the facilities are lacking. So, when I say Little Tally deserves some appreciation, I'm probably going to get some eye rolls. Before you write it off, consider these reasons to truly love Little Tally:
1. The Ability to Work On the Same Corner Lap After Lap
One of the primary reasons to do a track day is to work on your skills, speed and technique. Little Tally's smaller size enables you to put in more laps each session on the track, so you can pick one corner and work on it over, and over again. It was this right here that helped me get more comfortable in right-hand corners. Yes, Tally only has one right corner. But because the track wasn't very long, I spent an entire session on the track just focusing on that one corner and really dialing it in. And it went from being a corner I hated to one I not only enjoyed, but was able to do a lot of passing. I then moved onto the next corner and so on.
2. You Can Work on Visibility
It's true that Little Tally is relatively flat and lacks the kind of elevation change you see at VIR, Barber and places like Laguna Seca. However, the lack of elevation enabled me to work on a key skill: visibility. Prior to Little Tally, I struggled with higher speeds on the straights. I just didn't feel comfortable. But at Little Tally, I practiced the proper technique of looking out and ahead. By doing this, I was able to see the wealth of track ahead of me and suddenly my speed didn't seem quite so fast. I was able to significantly increase me speed on the straights with this one change.
3. You Can Improve Your Braking
The straights at Little Tally are short. This means that if you want to be competitive, and get faster, you have to get on the throttle quickly--and up to speed quickly--and carry that speed as long as you possibly can. The short distance meant I was really trying to push my limits on the brake markers and find that balance of braking hard (but not too hard). On the back straight, it was tricky. You have to find that perfect balance of braking because right after the turn (info Farmhouse) you have another straight. And if you brake too hard too soon, you won't have enough acceleration going into the front straight. Which leads me to the next point...
4. It's a Great Track for Testing Your Limits
Since there are no blind corners and there is ample run-off room into wide grassy areas, it's a great track to push your comfort zone a bit and to test your limits. One of the coaches noted that I needed to shave off less speed when braking into Farmhouse, so I worked on that. I practiced braking later and less hard. At one point I braked too late and not enough and ended up with an off-track excursion. Thanks to the ample run-off area into the grass (and not grabbing the front brake) the bike stayed up and I was able to ride right back onto the track. I learned where my happy medium without it causing a wreck and kept it shiny side up.
5. There's Good Variety in the Corners
Little Tally has seven corners (depending on which track map you're looking at). That's not very many when you take into consideration the 20 corners that other tracks like COTA have. But, the corners it does have provide some variety and enable you to work on your lines, corner speed, form and passing in different configurations. Turn one gives you nice open corner to carry a lot of speed while turn two and turn three give you tighter decreasing radius turns on both the left and right. You have a carousel at four, a kink for five and six goes into a chicane.
6. It's Grippy
It's true that Little Tally does eat up your tires, but it also has great grip. I felt like my tires were on velcro. And what that did was provide me with added confidence in my tires and in my bike. I pushed it at this track day more than I ever have at any track day since I had that confidence. I realize my bike (and myself) are capable of a lot more than I thought!
7. It's Less Expensive Than Other Tracks
Don't get me wrong--I love Barber--but that track is expensive. VIR was rather pricey too and Road Atlanta is similar in price. Little Talladega was less than $100 a day. You can't beat that. Track days are expensive between the gas, tires, hotel and the added gear I always end up buying before a track day. The lower price helped.
8. The Food
When I say they serve some great track-side BBQ, I mean it is GREAT. They offer pulled pork sandwiches and nachos that are pretty amazing and I heard the catfish is great too. I know, a track day isn't about food. But trust me, you'll like the food.
Before you turn your nose up to Little Tally, consider these eight reasons you just might love it. I certainly did. While I do look forward to doing a track day at a larger track with elevation, Tally is definitely on my list of tracks I want to return to each year. In fact, I plan to return to Little Tally again before the end of the year. So give it a shot. You'll have a blast and learn a thing or two.