Beginner guide to track days

Track day

Have you ever thought about doing a track day but were a little bit concerned about not being good enough or having an appropriately fast bike?

Or maybe you thought it was a waste of time and money and of no benefit to your road riding skills!

We invited British blogger Dan who writes the popular Bike Track Days Hub for his advice on whether you should take the track-day plunge … and this is what he wrote:

Track day
Blogger Dan shows his style

Utter the words ‘Track’ and ‘Day’ to a majority of riders who aren’t straddling the latest crotch rocket and their thoughts will likely conjure up images of over excited, one-piece-donning race-rep riders that are merely out to rip through the next corner as fast as they can.

Assuming of course they don’t end up in the kitty litter first.

While I will agree that some of the track day crowd will fall into this ego-fuelled, GP-wannabe stereotype (they’re easy to spot), it is far from the only type of rider who is welcome in the paddock.

It is my firm belief that there is an awful lot to be gained from heading out on to a race circuit, regardless of the bike you ride.

In the now many years I’ve been riding some of Britain’s best race tracks, I’ve seen a very wide array of motorcycles out there.

From small 125 learner bikes, to sit-up-and-beg nakeds, long-distance adventurers, and idolised motorcycle classics; heck, I’ve even seen Harley riders venture on to the track once or twice, and they were going well too!

Here are a few reasons why I feel every rider should venture out to the track at least once in the motorcycling lives.

Track day
Any type of bike is fine

It’s all about the curve:

Cruising along vast freeways or down long outback roads is all well and good, but I’d hazard a guess that the vast majority riders are in it for the curves.

Get yourself down to your local race track, put yourself in the novice group, treat it like a Sunday afternoon ride out and just enjoy being able to ride the curves and undulations in complete safety; with no oil spills, speed cameras, pot holes or wild animals to surprise you around the next bend.

A chance to open up your bike a little more.

Today’s motorcycles are capable of so much.

You don’t have to look far up the performance pecking order before you come across a machine that would trouble almost any high performance sports car on the open road.

Getting the bike on the track gives you the chance to open the taps a little more and allow it to stretch its legs.

Again, we’re not talking about burning rubber and chasing lap times. Just using a healthier portion of a bike’s potential will bring a smile to many a weekend corner carver.

Track day
Beginners welcome

Benefits on the road:

This is my favourite.

You may feel that the techniques learned on the track are of no use on the road, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

High-speed braking, greater lean angles, good throttle control and visual skills are just some of the things that translate straight back on to the road.

Not for faster riding, but increased safety.

Practising these more performance-based skills ultimately means you’ll gain confidence in what your bike can do.

When you next need to emergency stop to miss a car, lean more to get around a hazard, or look in the right place to get yourself out of danger, having a higher level of skill is going to ensure you stay out of that dreaded panic zone that often makes mishaps or unexpected hazards develop into greater problems than they need to.

Track days are not reserved for the wannabe racer, and can be the perfect vehicle to increased rider enjoyment, confidence and safety.

If those three things are something you strive for, I’d recommend you check them out.

  • Stay tuned for more guest blogs from Dan on track days.

4 Comments

  1. A great piece there. Opportunities to test your bikes capabilities, learn your own boundaries and much more in a controlled environment. I’ve seen all sorts of bikes on trackdays, even Harleys!

  2. Hi.
    I’m a seasoned rider, in my mid 30’s & been riding for more than half of my years on earth.

    I’m looking for a track day (have never done one).
    It seems Broadford track is about the only option for non-pro riders.

    I live in Geelong (1 hour SSW of Melbourne) so I was wondering if anyone can give me some advice on finding a track day in 2016 & hopefully a little closer than Broadford.

    Cheers.

  3. Great advice. A track day is the ideal place to experiment, improve your skills, and gain experience where all of the traffic is moving in the same direction and there are large run-off areas if you make a mistake. Just be aware that normal insurance policies don’t cover your bike for track use.

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