Read our guide and be prepared for your first on-track adventure
Trackdays are fantastic fun; you can enjoy more of what your bike is capable of without worrying about the risks of the road. Not only will you have an adrenaline packed day but you'll leave with improved skills - and confidence in what your bike can do. However if you're going on your first one, it can be a daunting experience, especially if you're going on your own.
Here at Visordown we've got hundreds of trackdays under our collective belts but we all had to start somewhere - my first time on track was at the Honda Ron Haslam Race School, where you get to use their bikes.
This feature is designed to guide you through a trackday and give you some tips that will help you feel at home and get the most out of your first time on track.
You can read our ultimate motorcycle trackday checklist and guide to make sure you've packed the essentials you'll need. You can also read our motorcycle track guides by none other than former GP rider, Niall Mackenzie, so you can familiarize yourself with the corners of the circuit you're going to be riding on.
It's easily the most frustrating way to ruin your trackday; turn up without both parts of your driving licence. So make sure you bring them with you. That way you'll get all the paperwork out of the way nice and quickly and get more time to prepare before you're out on track.
I've been guilty of running around like a headless chicken when I've noticed I'm out of fuel just before my session starts. If you fill up with fuel at a petrol station near the circuit, you'll guarantee you won't head out on track only to look down and see your reserve light blinking at you. Most circuits sell fuel however it's often expensive, so fill up before you get to the track.
We're all guilty of not checking our tyre pressures as much as we should but when you get to a trackday it's vital to check them. Wrong tyre pressures can affect the way your bike handles or in the worst case scenario, cause you to crash. Most trackday companies will have a tyre-fitter on site, so if you're unsure, ask them what the correct pressures are for your tyres.
I've seen people run into the gravel because they've looked in their mirrors halfway around a corner. Ideally you'd remove your mirrors before you go on track but this isn't always possible, what with them holding the top fairing in place on a lot of bikes. If you can, fold them in and if you can't, then tape them up. When you're out on track, you want to focus on everything that's going on infront of you. Even if you're confident you won't use your mirrors, another bike's headlights flashing into them and catching your attention will only distract you from what you need to be concentrating on. Which leads me onto another small but important point: put some tape over your speedo - you don't need to know how fast you're going, it won't help you, might scare you but will definitely distract you.
From my experience, a lot of pressure people feel on a trackday is down to them thinking they need to be fast. You don't. If you're on your first trackday, you should be in the novice group. In this group you'll be in with people who are of a similar experience to you. You wouldn't be nervous before a Sunday blast on country roads, so why be nervous about riding on track. Treat it like a Sunday ride, relax and enjoy the thrill of riding without having to look out for cars pulling out of T-junctions and caravans doing U-turns on blind crests.
Most trackday organisers will have instructors on hand to give you advice. Don't be shy, go and ask them for some pointers. If you come in from your first session tense, shaking or feeling like you're lucky to be alive then you're trying too hard. Relax and let the track come to you.
With adrenaline rushing through your veins, you'll work up an appetite pretty quickly and the temptation to fill your face at lunch will be huge. Afterall, you've worked hard you deserve it, don't you? Well, yes and no. Instead of a massive greasy lunch, keep yourself topped up through the morning with fruit (try a couple of bananas) and plenty of fluids. If you scoff down a greasy burger at lunch your levels of concentration will rapidly diminish in the afternoon. Not only will you feel sluggish out on track but you're more likely to make a mistake too.
We've got some great articles for you, no matter what your level of riding.
Check out Mackenzie's guide to mastering overtaking on track. Mackenzie's top tips for trackday confidence. Raining? Don't let it dampen your fun with our trackday wet weather riding tips. Want to get better and faster on track? Check out Mackenzie's guide to circuit riding techniques and the best way to learn circuit lines.
Have fun and let us know how you get on.
Posted: 29/09/2011 at 20:51
Posted: 04/10/2011 at 07:18
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