Get Your Mojo Back

Find yourself backing off on corners you used to take at full throttle? Noticeably slower today than you used to be and feeling left out of the pack? We’ll show you how to get your edge back

I’ve got a big problem: I’m scared of riding fast round racetracks. It’s not something I’ve had an issue with in the past and there hasn’t been an obvious trigger event to make me like this, but it’s there. A fluttering voice of doubt in the side of my head that equates to a massive reduction in my speed around a circuit. I can’t feel what the bike is doing anymore, have no idea where the limit is, as a result I’m not sure how far away from a crash I am and I’m riding like a bloody novice. And it’s really starting to irritate me.

The truth is, whatever I used to have around a circuit I’ve lost. Tracks (and crashing) are both things that should hold no horrors for me. As a road-tester for this and other magazines in the late ‘90s I rode circuits all year round and generally crashed more times in a year than most road-riders do in a lifetime. I was a bit of a hot-head, fairly fast, never panicked and had a good feel for where the limit was. Sometimes I overstepped that limit, but before I returned to TWO it had been at least three years since my last proper laps. I’m rusty and out of practice – sound like you at all?

Determined to do something about this in the name of anyone who ‘used to be fast’, I grabbed a GSX-R750 and headed to Silverstone to meet Niall Mackenzie at a Focused Events trackday ( Niall knows everything about going fast but also has the patience of a saint with a quiet demeanour who is very good at explaining things. I tell him my plight.

“Okay,” says Niall. “Get out there all morning and ride the track. You’ve never been here before?” I shake my head. “Then just ride the track and learn where it goes. Then in the afternoon, we’ll see where you’re at.” If you’ve never ridden here before, Silverstone is intimidating. This 3.2 mile circuit is vast, fast and arse-puckeringly quick through the corners. I’m about to set off in the intermediate group when Niall collars me and throws me into the fast group. “Stop sandbagging and get out there,” he swears.