Advanced Riding

How to get ready for a trackday | Part 2 – person prep

Taking the plunge and riding at a trackday can be a daunting experience. Here's how you can make the whole event much more enjoyable ...

SO, you’ve read part one of this guide, your bike is prepped and ready to hit the track. But are you ready? Do you fully understand what you’re about to do? Are you physically and mentally prepared?

Pre-event person prep

Write up a pre trackday checklist and note down all the things you need to take, right down to clean underwear and chocolate bars!

It may seem silly, but it’s actually the only way to ensure you don’t miss anything. Start off by listing any bike spares and tools that you’ll need to take. Spare brake pads, chain, lube… all the possible consumables that you could need at the track. There is nothing worse than having to leave halfway through a trackday because of the failure of a 50p part!

Next, list all your kit, for riding, travelling and relaxing between sessions in. If you have a couple of sets of leathers and have the room, take them along with your main set. Likewise, a spare lid isn’t a bad idea.

Then you need to think about how you’re going to sustain yourself at the track. Most have a café, but you will probably want to take a crate of bottled water, assorted granola bars, and some chocolate and sweets. The most important thing on this list is the water. Riding on track all day with a polystyrene hat on is a sure-fire way to getting dehydrated if you’re not careful, even on a cool day.

It’s also advisable to snack throughout the day and have a light bite at lunchtime. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than rolling out the pits after the brake with stinking heartburn. It won’t help your riding and could ruin your experience of the day.

The final, and one of the most important things to do, get some sleep the night before the trackday. Excitement is a weird thing and we’ve all lay in bed staring at the bedroom ceiling at 3:30 am when we should be asleep. It’s not good for your riding to have to partake in a highly stressful activity like riding a motorcycle on track with zero sleep. Go to be early, read a book, drink some camomile tea – whatever you need to do. Just get some proper sleep.

The morning of the trackday

After having one of the best nights' sleep ever, you should wake feeling fresh and ready to take on the track. Give the checklist a quick double-check and make sure there aren’t any glaringly obvious things you missed. Double-check the bike is loaded safely – if you are taking on a trailer or in a van – and get yourself down to the track!

Getting to the track early is always a good idea. The last thing you want to be on your first trackday is flustered, and rushing to get to the circuit on a morning is a perfect way to get your blood pressure up when you should be calm.

Getting there early is also a good way of ensuring you can get yourself in a garage if they have any and also call dibs on any electrical hook-ups you need.

Once you are in, get the bike out and get it on the paddock stands, hook up the tyre warmers if you have them and start checking the bike over. Yes, I know you did this last weekend, but a fresh(ish) set of eyes looking over the bike is never a bad idea. It’s tempting to start the bike now and get it warmed but most circuits don’t allow this before 8:30 am.

Signing on and morning briefing

Signing on will normally be open from 7:30 onwards and will involve you going and filling in some forms and showing your driving licence in most instances. There will be a few forms to sign, a trackday indemnity from the organisers and another for the circuit. They will more than likely assign you into a riding group now: Novice, intermediate or advanced/fast group are normally the options. If this is your first trackday go in novice, you can always ask to move up if you need to.

They may also give you a sticker to put on your bike, this sometimes has a number on it so stick it somewhere visible. It’ll help you pick out your pictures from the onsite photographers at the end of the day.

The briefing is a vital part of the day, for you and the organisers. Most trackday companies won’t let you ride in any sessions if you don’t attend the morning briefing, so don’t miss it!

It’ll tell you lots of things you already know, flags, group order and so on. But also, some other things you might not – whether or not you are using that little chicane on the back straight, what the weather is going to be like and what time the café opens for lunch!

Trackday noise testing

Noise testing can be the nemesis of a trackday rider. That super-loud and sexy looking carbon can you have fitted may draw admiring glances at the local bike meet but at the track, they only care about the number on the noise testing machine.

If you think your bike might be too loud, get it checked in plenty of time before the event and get it sorted. Changing the can to a stock item is the best way of quelling the Db, although if you ditch it can you easily get a replacement?

Most smartphones have apps you can download that will give you an idea of what the Db is, although the accuracy of such things is debatable!

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