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  • Why Should I even consider doing a track day?

    Why Should I even consider doing a track day?


    First off, if you are riding a sport bike, then these bikes are made to be ridden, and hard. The bikes are high performance bikes that the manufactures develop from data they get off of their race bikes. The technology trickles down from MotoGP, World Superbike and AMA race teams. As the bikes continue to develop due to new technologies, we the consumer have the ability to purchase these newer more advanced bikes. For example, traction control moved from MotoGP down to street bikes. Now some bikes offer some sort of engine management system, and some aftermarket companies offer computer management systems that offer some type of traction control. Another trickle down technology is in the form of slipper clutches. Several years ago, slipper clutches were only available as an aftermarket accessory, now most bikes have some type of slipper clutch as standard equipment.


    Ok back to the main point of this article, why should an everyday street rider consider doing a track day or two. The first thing is the track offers a Controlled Environment. On the street you can only push yourself and the bike so far, before something happens; the street has a lot of factors that you cannot control as a rider. For instance, road conditions, debris, animals, and oncoming traffic, on a race track all of these factors are controlled by the track and the corner workers. If there is something on the track, you are notified through the use of flags, or the corner workers can remove the debris so you don’t have to worry about it. Also if there are dangerous fluids on the track, the session will be stopped and the problem will be taken care of, so you have a nice clean and safe track to ride on. On the street, you never know what looms around the next corner. There could be sand, a fallen tree, oil, radiator fluid; an animal can run out, tire fragments, people, oncoming traffic, bicyclist, just about anything. Remember it is a public road, anything can happen. This is the single most important factor in the difference of street vs. track riding. And oncoming traffic is the biggest danger we all face. What if a car drifts over that yellow line? Or loses control in a turn and broad sides you. On the track everyone is going in one direction, there is no oncoming traffic, there is no road debris, there are no animals running out into the street. This is what we call a controlled environment. Even if you were on that road an hour ago, the conditions can change dramatically within that single hour. A car could have blown an engine, and leaked fresh oil all over the road, or that one driver who cuts the corner or drifts wide. Being on a track and not having to worry about any of those unknown factors can be more relaxing, it allows you to focus more on your riding and the pavement ahead of you, rather than wondering in the back of your mind, what is around that corner. Speaking of blind corners, at a track, you have corner workers who communicate information with the riders about what is going on up ahead, or around a blind corner, if someone went down, if there is debris, if there are wet pavement conditions… On the road there are no corner workers to communicate this info to you.


    Now that you are in a controlled safe environment, and able to focus on your riding, let’s talk about how that will improve your riding. Once you take away all distractions of the street, you are left with the following, you, your bike, and the pavement. On the track you can totally focus on your riding. Not having to worry about sudden distractions that you find on the street, you are a bit more relaxed. Also most tracks provide plenty of runoff space, just in case you get into a corner a little too hot and decide to bail, you can run off the track and slow down. You don’t have to worry about trees, signs, guard rails, fences or anything. But once on a track, you will find that you will ride faster, you will learn how to turn, brake, transition between turns, downshift and everything you do on a bike. Another great thing about the track, the turns never change, so once you get familiar with the track, you know that Turn-1 is the same turn turn every time, all day long. So what does that do for you, working on the same turns all day long, you can work on braking later, deeper, or work on faster entry speeds, mid corner speeds and work on rolling on the throttle earlier for a better drive out of the corner. All these things you hear announcers talk about if you watch any type of professional racing. Rossi is braking deeper into the turn, and getting a better drive out of the turn. All this helps you become a better rider. That is the whole point of going to the track. It doesn’t matter if you plan on racing, or becoming a track day addict. Once you get you and your bike in a controlled environment, and ride your bike the way it was designed to be ridden, you will gain a deeper appreciation for sport bikes, and your riding abilities. Being on the track gives you the opportunity to work on your skills, test out new techniques, stick your big toe in the water a bit deeper, and really work on becoming a better rider.


    A perfect example is when I first started riding, I was riding a twisty road with some friends, I entered a right handed corner, I panicked and thought I entered the turn too fast. I stood the bike up, rode across the yellow line on the opposite side of the road, and was lucky enough to have a driveway there that gave me more space for braking and stopping safely. What did I do wrong? EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!! Later that day, talking with the guy who was behind me when that happened, he said that I would have easily been able to make that corner, if I just leaned a little more, and trusted the bike. Since that day, I have often thought about that situation, and now after having a lot of track experience, I can honestly say that I could have easily made that turn. But at that time, without the experience I have now, I did the wrong things.


    The last point I want to make is this, with the growing popularity of this sport, more and more people are jumping on the latest and greatest sport bikes. These bike from the factory are putting out 160+ horsepower at the rear wheel, and can travel at 170+ MPH. Law enforcement is having problems chasing these people who choose not to stop, and some states have gone and created new stiffer penalties for speeding. With speeding bikes, and people running from law enforcement, local and state governments are becoming fed up with this behavior and are fighting back with new laws that seem to specifically target sport bikes. The point I am making is this, I have never gotten a speeding ticket at the track……
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Why Should I even consider doing a track day? started by griffinzx10 View original post