What are Track Days All About?
Track Days are the most exciting, fun and effective way to improve your riding skills…period! You will learn how to corner and brake with a lot more confidence and control. And you will have a freakin’ BLAST.
Track Days are held on a closed course (racetrack), which means you learn in a safe environment and at real-world speeds. Learning on a racetrack allows you to ride freely and concentrate on and advancing your skill level without the typical hazards faced on the street…
It’s one of the best investments in fun and skill development money can buy.
Learn to Corner Better
While parking lot courses have their place, riding your bike on a track will let you practice riding skills at real-world speeds – without the normal distractions found on public roads (like cars, sand, cops, etc).
Classroom sessions are usually included in the price of your day where you will benefit from discussions and demonstrations of advanced riding technique that you can then try on the track.
The fact that you visit each corner several times a day allows you to perfect your technique without the changing variables found on the street. These techniques are transferable to street riding.
The skills typically learned:
Shifting Timing and Techniques
Cornering Line Selection
What’s a Track Day and is it right for Me?
Track Days are a mystery to many riders.
A lot of motorcycle riders believe the track day myths that circulate around the Interweb.
Track days are the same as racing
Track days are only for rich people
Their bike will need a ton of time and money to be ready
Riding on a racetrack is more dangerous than riding on the street.
But, none of these statements are true.
Track days are not race events.
Track days can be expensive, but not compared to speeding tickets, insurance points.
Depending on the track day organization, a normal street bike can be prepped for a track day in a couple of hours, tops.
The controlled environment of a racetrack is much safer, especially if you choose to ride fast on the street. Let’s take a moment to clear up a few myths and perhaps convince you that a track day should be in your future.
When it comes to track days, riders seem to fall into a few different camps:
Those who have no interest in performance riding
Those who ride fast on the street and think this is okay
Those who know better than to ride really fast on the street, but think that track days are competitive race events
Those who try a track day and discover that there is no better place to learn to corner, but performance riding isn’t their priority, so they return only occasionally to brush up on their skills.
Those who try a track day and are hooked for life. These riders aren’t interested in racing, but want the thrill of riding fast in a safe environment. They eventually buy a dedicated track bike and are happy to spend their money and vacation time on their new passion.
The Racing vs. Track Day Myth
Who said anything about racing? Here’s the thing; A track day is NOT a race event. Many people respond to a suggestion of attending a track day by saying “but I don’t want to race”. Now, I understand that most people automatically think “racing” when they hear “racetrack”. This is why I spend a fair amount of energy on educating the potential new customer that a track day just might be worth considering, both for having a blast, but also for becoming a better rider (much better).
If it’s not a race, then what is it?
Imagine the perfect twisty road, but with no oncoming traffic, sand, gravel, guardrails or folks in big sedans trying to figure out their GPS while talking and texting on their phones and you start to get the idea of what a track day is. Oh, and did I mention no speed limits? So, riding on a racetrack is not only a safer place to ride, but you can also go as fast as you want without the risk of getting an expensive speeding ticket and insurance points.
Not only are track days fun, they are also a great place to develop your skills. Most track days offer some instruction, with classroom time and perhaps a garage seminar on body positioning. You can also get some on-track coaching if you ask for it. Then you go practice what you’ve learned by circulating around the track. The beauty of riding on a racetrack is that you visit each corner multiple times a day so you can perfect each corner as the day goes on. You also get to explore the limits of your bike, the tires and your ability. Woot!
It’s not all about speed!
Yes, we are talking about riding on a racetrack, but that doesn’t mean you have to have the latest rocket, or even that you have to go a whole lot faster than you do already on the street (in the novice groups). That’s the beauty of track days as opposed to a competitive racing environment; they have two completely different purposes. Both track days and racing allow you to go as fast as you dare, but track days allow you to go as fast as you want without the pressure to win a competition. When racing, you risk a lot more because your goal is to try and beat the next guy.
The goal of a Track Day
So, what exactly is the point of doing a track day then?
With no surface hazards or roadside obstacles to hit and an ambulance just seconds away, the track is the safest place to ride, especially if you want to ride fast.
It is the best place to learn and refine cornering and braking skills with multiple opportunities to refine your skills by riding the same corners over and over.
Commiserate and socialize with like-minded motorcyclists. Most new track day riders show up for their first day nervous and afraid, only to find a friendly group of fellow riders eager to help you learn the ropes.
Top Excuses why riders don’t do track days:
I don’t have Proper Riding Gear
Yes, you need to protect your body in the event of a crash, but that’s a good investment whether you ride on the track or the street. Most track day organizations allow street gear, so you should already have most of what you need.
I am worried about crashing my bike.
It can happen on the track, but it can also happen on the street (with more severe consequences). Track day crashes usually happen because the rider pushed too hard before they learned to manage the extra speed. Rarely do two riders come together to cause a multi-bike incident. And with no trees, mailboxes or oncoming vehicles to run into, serious injuries are also rare.
I’ll be the slowest rider out there.
So what if you are the slowest rider out there? You’ll get faster as the day goes on and will likely be passing people by the end of the day.
It’s too expensive. Why should I pay to ride someplace?
It makes little financial sense to risk serious injury, a speeding ticket, and insurance points rather than pay to ride on the track. This often includes some instruction.
I’m not comfortable doing a track day yet.
Maybe you’re just nervous. If so, then rest assured that you’re not alone. It’s smart to have some street miles under your belt, but if you’re comfortable riding around corners at brisk street speeds, then you’re probably ready to do a track day. Many organizations allow spectators to come check out what it’s all about. This is a great way to see if it might be right for you. And most organizations have two or three group levels so you are matched to others’ experience level.
via | Riding in the Zone