Ok we have all done them, or at least "hope" to in the future. A Track day, which is where you pay around $100.00 for an entire day of learning and good bike experience. THIS IS NOT A race day but a "ride day". They are relatively safe and provide the novice rider or an experienced rider a day of good fun. A good track day is run by professionals who organize safety measures, corner marshalls and enforcement of anti-dickhead rules.
I have done 6 so far -3 in Australia and three in Las Vegas Nevada. Eastern Creek Raceway where the former Australian Grand Prix Superbike was held. Mick Doohan himself has drug his knee around corners I can just get my knee down into.....it's a well conditioned track with a smooth surface and relatively challenging construction. Then I recently did Las Vegas Motorspeedway's #2 track (roadcourse) track day fun by Dale Keiffer of Racer's Edge Performance.
A- Highly experienced riders bikes range from R1's to Fireblades
B-Above Average riders- but a lot of EGO and red flag's in this group.
C-Slow and learning the "groove" can be challenging but safer than B group.
Yes I can admit that riding up to 35 men revving their engines waiting patiently to go out onto our session really gets my butterflies going in my stomach. The worst fear I HAD was holding up someone who is experienced enough to be well ahead of me. At first, I looked around constantly trying to know where they would be, but quickly learned that doing that is useless. They can see me easier than I can see them. Once that happend I said " to hell with it" and just got into a groove. A 2:12 groove to be exact....Nerves went away after a lap or two and before I knew it I was passing those guys! For a two mile track I wasn't doing too bad.
In the rider's briefing rules are specified. No passing on the inside of anyone always going on the outside. I think this rule is pretty fair, it's very scary to get smoked by a jerk on a superbike on the inside, especially since most road riders typically go wide on entry and exit thus creating a potential crash situation.
Getting a bike out on the track for the first time is so exhilirating, and you leave there saying to yourself, " yea my bike kicks ass". Because you truly get to see what your bike is capable of, not to mention what YOU as the rider are capable of. How often do you open up your bike full throttle without evading the police? Well then, these track days are your ticket ( pardon pun) to happiness.
There is a high level of safety present at most track days. An ambulance service is called out to stand-by in the event of a "rider-off" scenario. Proper corner marshals are equipped with radios to notify the track manager of "dickheads" pulling maneuvers, and of course hay bales, heavy sand etc etc. I like the sense that if you do lay your bike down, at least you will have help readily available.
Ok after all that, now have FUN FUN FUN! Worry less about your lap times and concentrate more on getting a good line. I found that it was harder to get a good line if the track day was full, meaning over 30 riders in my session. Often you are bike end to bike end going into turns etc. So after getting around the slower ones ( nicely too) then the fun begins. You test your limits as pilot, and your bikes' limits. You really see what your bike is capable of and you leave there with a lot of knowledge which in turn makes you a better street rider.
Now that the track day is over and you are feeling like Mick Doohan, bring yourself back to earth and realize there were no sponsor's for this and you were not getting paid. You left in one piece and should be thankful that your bike is even ride able. Get better so that you don't endanger others. Pat yourself on the back and stay cool. There's nothing worse than a rider who thinks he's God's gift.
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