So you want to do a Track Day?

Take some time out and go off on a Track Day

 

Track days give you the chance to fully explore the performance of your bike in the relative safe environment of a racetrack. You can be sure that they'll be no pedestrians around the corner, no parked cars, no GATSO cameras and no speed limits. With the smoothest one-way streets in the country, you can push you bike to the limit and find how it really behaves under stress.

Most circuits in the UK hold track days throughout the year, either with their own qualified instructors or via a known track day organisation. Here you can take to the track for some 'knee down' action, late braking and explore your bike to it's full potential!

You will probably be riding a lot faster than you have ever been before on the roads but there's always that temptation to take it just one step further. This is where you can get into trouble. Your first time on a track is a daunting prospect, where do I go? What lines do I take? Where do I need to brake? All these things come into it a some stage. Listen to your instructors and take note of what they say and where they take you on the track.

When you go out on your own don't try and break the lap record! You will have cold tyres and no real experience of the practised lines your instructor has just shown you. Take it easy and do a few warm up laps to get your bearings and to warm up your tyres. The track has no lines and is wide so you don't get that sense of braking distances for up-coming corners. Unlike the road you loose your sense of speed and distances become vague. You will find yourself travelling at much greater speeds up to a corner so make a note of where you need to break, like curbs, surface changes and so on. You need to remember these to enable you to enter the turning point for the corner at the correct speed, hit the apex and accelerate out on the correct line and at the right moment. Sounds a little daunting so far but it doesn't need to be!

So make sure you do 2 or 3 laps before you even start to speed up, and make sure you get to know those important points. After a while you will see a change in your riding style as you move the braking points closer to the corner. You will find your lines change as you fine tune them and suddenly your knee seems to be down all the time on every corner! Remember don't get carried away at this point, it takes more than one visit to a track to master it, go carefully and don't let the red 'mist take' over!

Preparation

Obviously your bike should be in top condition prior to participating. Get your bike checked out a few weeks prior to the day. Particular attention should be paid to the state of your brakes and tyres, these will be stressed more than they ever are on the public roads, and a few laps can be like a thousand miles on ordinary roads! Oil leaks can mean a complete disaster, not just for you but for other riders on the track so make sure your bike is in top form before you venture out.

Once you have a few track days under your belt you will undoubtedly get the bug to do more, this is when you can prepare in advance by investing in some wheels and soft compound track tyres, and maybe some pattern fairing panels just in case! Take off your mirrors, tape up your lights and indicators (or remove them altogether). Anything can smash them and leave glass etc all over the track, it can also be very costly to replace them.

If you have an aftermarket pipe check before you pay out for a track day, some circuits have noise limits and road legal exhausts are the only option here. If you turn up with a noisy pipe you will not be allowed out at all. Also don't turn up without full protection, leathers (one or zip together two piece) good race boots (Frank Thomas Aqua boots will just wear away!) some good gloves and a good full-face helmet. With a little thought and preparation you will have a great day.

Do Remember
  • Make sure your bike is fit for the job. It's not just another run out in the country!
  • Get kitted out with the correct gear and helmet.
  • Listen and take notice of what the instructors say and do, it may make your day somewhat more enjoyable!
  • Don't rush out and try to break the lap record, take it easy and do some warm up laps first. Slowly does it, you have all day!
  • Warm up your tyres with a few sighting laps first.
  • Drink lots of fluid, not coffee or Coke but water (carbonated is best)
  • If you feel tired sit the next one out, heroes take a rest sometimes too!
  • If you do fall off, even if it's a slight fall, take a trip to the medics just in case.
Don't
  • Follow the fast boys, they may well know the track much better than you and you will probably crash!
  • Be a hero, show off or try any stunts for the watching crowd, it will end up with some broken plastic, bones and it may involve others.
  • Turn up with a hangover, drink alcohol or over eat and then ride, your reactions will be much less than normal and you will cause an accident both to yourself and to others.
  • Look behind you or panic, you are in front and it is the responsibility of others to get past you, not for you to move over (this applies to most tracks except the Nurburgring)
  • Follow look at the rider in front of you if he or she makes a mistake, you will probably do the same if you do!
  • Ride if you feel tired, take a break for your own sake.
  • Get into personal battles until you know the track, we all know it's fun but it can very dangerous to you and to others if you don't quite know where you’re going yet.
  • Run out of fuel, make sure you have enough for the session before you go out. We have all done it and it's embarrassing to say the least!

With all this in mind and making sure you have the right equipment and clothing for the day try a track day at one of the following, enjoy.

Adrian

ADY Smith Tel: 01283 813760
Apex Leisure Tel: 0831 701909
100% Bikes Tel: 01366 324133
Bike Tel: 0953 888789
Biker Base Tel: 0289 2683575
Bill Smith Tel: 01244 320 699
Bishopscourt Tel: 01396 842202
Bruntingthorpe Tel: 0116 2478030
Byrne-Up-Bike-Tours Tel: 01494 866661
California Superbike School Tel: 01933 224449
MCN Track Days Tel: 01953 888789
MDS Tel: 0374 996096
Mick Boddice Tel: 01332 677079
M&P Tel: 01792 224469
Mondello Park Tel: 045 860200
Motorsport Promotions Tel: 01246 222007
Motorcycle City Tel: 01953 888989
Motorcycle Folly Tel: 01803 690773
No Limits Tel: 07000 600750
On Track Tel: 01953 888989
PB Track Days Tel: 01953 888789
Pembrey Tel: 01554 891042
Point Break Tel: 01937 835186
Rapid Tracks Tel 01296 715904
Rice Racing 2001 Tel: 01803 664 999
Rider Skills Tel: 01652 680371
Ron Haslam/Honda Race School Tel: 01332 883323
Shire Training Tel: 01480 464689
Slik UK Tel: 0797 9750201
Speed Freak/Jamie Whitham Tel: 0161 4872222
Steve Parrish Tel: 01462 743129
Spago Track Days Tel: 01642 713755
Suzuki Riding School Tel: 01455 251800
Track Attack Tel: 01332 810048
Track Daze Tel: 01403 782780
Track Sense Tel: 01276 473616
Track Tamers Tel: 01956 859837
Track Time Tel: 01386 861818
Ultimate Tel: 01252 377148
Windy Corner Tel: 01455 842922

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