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  • Your first track day what to expect Part 2

    Part 2

    Once you get on the track for your first session that isn’t lead/ follow or a control ride don’t worry about how fast you are or aren’t. Some people get all upset that they are slow and feel like they are holding up other riders. That isn’t your problem, if someone is faster than you are, they will get around you quickly, safely, and before you even realize it. Always focus ahead of you, never look behind you; you are going forward, so there is no need to look behind you. Again, if someone wants to get around you, it is THEIR responsibility to get around you safely. If you sense someone is behind you and can’t get around you, then your best is to let them pass you on a straight away.

    Remember this isn’t a race, so what if they go around you, they aren’t going to win anything, and neither are you. Better to let them pass you on a straight then have them get frustrated and try to pass you on the inside or outside of a turn, or going into a turn. I have seen a lot of newer riders who are slow in the corners and then all throttle in the straights. You then get a person who might be on a smaller bike but who is faster in the corners then you and want to get around you, but once you come out of the corner, you open up the throttle of that 1000 cc bike, and run down the straight, making it hard for a smaller bike to pass. Then when the next turn comes, that rider behind you closed the gap, and is trying to get around you. Remember we are all trying to have fun, so let them pass on the straight. That brings up another point, if you are the faster rider and can’t get around someone like we just described or a group of people. Hot pit, let the person, or people pass and get some distance, and then go back out. Hot pitting is when you come off the track, pit in, you ride down hot pit lane and then take a quick break, once you are ready and the track is clear you head back out. This is a great way to get out of traffic you can’t safely pass, or if something happens, and you get spooked, hot pit, calm down and go back out. You can hot pit as many times as you want within your session and it is a great way to take a quick break, calm your nerves, or let a group of slower riders get further ahead so you don’t have to worry about passing them. This is something that will also be covered in the riders meeting.

    Most tracks and track day organizers will usually follow a format of the 3 groups (novice intermediate and advanced/expert). Each group gets set amount of time on the track usually 15-20 minutes per session. The groups will vary if the track has an open track day, depending on the amount of people. Sometimes there aren’t a lot of people and the track might do only 2 groups, or even better an open track. An open track is when there are no groups, and you just come and go on the track as you wish… Regardless of the groups and riding time, one thing that will affect your session on the track is Red/yellow flags. Remember crashes happen, and when one does happen, depending on the severity and where it is, this can affect the time of your session. Sometimes it is as simple as the yellow (caution flag) being thrown, everyone slows and the rider gets back up and your session resumes as normal. Sometimes the crash truck needs to go on the track and pick up a bike that cannot function any longer. Again, this could be a HOT PICKUP (meaning the session doesn’t stop, because the downed rider is in an easily accessible pick up spot) or just a pick up. If the crash truck has to go on the track, and there is some clean up, the track workers will work as quickly as possible to resolve the situation, and depending on when the crash happened in the session, you might get more time out there, or race control might just call the session and move on to the next group. This is where knowing exactly what to do helps. If the ambulance or crash truck needs to go on the track, it won’t do so until EVERYONE is off the track, so when you see the red flag, waving, get off the track as quickly and as safely as possible. Remember there is NO passing under a waving yellow or red flag. That doesn't mean grab a handfull of brakes when you see those flags. The best thing to do is raise your hand or stick your foot out to signal to the riders behind you, in case they didn't see the flag. Then maintain speed and get around the track and off the track. Remember NO PASSING under a waiving Yellow or Red Flag. The sooner you are off, the sooner the crash truck and Medical team can go out there and resolve the situation. Off the track means to the pits in a safe manner.

    So you have been riding all morning, in your group, for the specified amount of time. Around noon most places will shut down for lunch. The track and track staff will get something to eat, and this is your time to eat as well. Hopefully you have been keeping hydrated, having light snacks. Some personal advice, DON’T have a big lunch. You’ll get sleepy and tired and won’t focus that well after lunch. After the hour lunch is over the track is open and the predetermined format is followed throughout the afternoon. Finally most track days end around 5pm.

    Remember you want to end the day on a positive note, if you are tired, then you might want to skip the last session, many have been exhausted and tried to squeeze in one more session and crashed on that last session, listen to your body and mind, if you are tired, and don’t push it. You should have had a good long day of riding, don’t make that one last session cost you a few thousand in repairs, because you wanted to get ALL YOUR MONEY'S WORTH…..