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Track Day Tips - For the Newly initiated

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    Track Day Tips - For the Newly initiated

    I recall my first Trackday, the nervousness, the unknown, the "what am I doing"... In my case I was doing my first day with friends that had Been There, Done That... which helped some. Knowing that is not always the case, here is my short list for things to be considered to help make your first trackday a fun one to remember.

    This is just a starter list, I wanted to keep the list short and say try to relax and keep things simple.

    1) If you are new/novice, a good track organization will do it without your asking, but ensure that you talk to a coach, tell them that you are new to track riding/it is your first day. Ask them to "show you the line". Have them show you as many times as necessary until the line comes pretty natural to you. I'm a slow learner, even now, riding advanced, if I'm at a new track I will typically ask for "a tow" from someone that knows the track for the first 2-3 sessions to help me get a good feel for the track.

    2) Just go out and ride your ride. Don't get caught up with all the other riders. -- Forget about everyone else and focus on yourself and what YOU are doing. This actually includes the instructor that I mentioned in point 1. If his/her pace is making you uncomfortable, drop back. A good instructor will see this and adjust his/her pace accordingly.

    3) Tires - I'm going to assume that you are not running tire warmers on your first day. Run what you feel is 80% of your ability the first 1.5-2 laps. If you run too easy, the tires still won't warm up. Somewhat backwards from what I'd recommend to a newbie (be smooth) is to say that aggressive throttle/braking will warm up the tires faster. That said, work on smooth, get your speed reduced to where you are comfortable while you are upright and before initiating turn-in while you are learning. Also, if there is a tire vendor at the event, ask him (or a few coaches) what tire pressures they would recommend for your bike and tires installed.

    4) Other riders - never forget that other riders on the racetrack can be unpredictable, no different from drivers on the street. I would suggest that Novice riders are likely the MOST unpredictable as most are new to track riding just like you. If you fall inline with a group, do not sit directly behind the bike in front of you. If they suddenly brake for whatever reason, you are more likely to hit them. I would suggest setting up so that you are outside (to the left side on an upcoming right hander) of the bike in front of you such that if they brake before you expect it you go around them instead of into them. If you are setup to the inside and they brake early, you may find yourself beside them as they are looking to initiate turn-in.

    5) Hot pitting - I wish that I had this advice before my first trackday, it might have saved me my first track "accident" (I chose to ride off the track and fell in the sand). Invariably, the skill level, and speed, within the Novice group will be a wide chasm. If you come up on a group of multiple bikes (3 or more) during the session, I'd submit that pushing yourself to pass them all is probably a bad idea. Realize that those ahead of you are likely becoming uneasy/restless, as well as those behind you. Instead of remaining frustrated the remainder of the session and put yourself/others at risk, PIT IN at your first opportunity. Roll down pit lane to pit out with the track marshall and tell him to "give me some space". He will radio to his corner workers to find a gap and signal for you to roll back out there. Typically you will lose less than a minute of riding and it will be much more enjoyable getting back out there to do YOUR thing without being part of a clusterf*ck waiting to happen.
    Matt
    Street: 2000 Honda VFR @ 39k :: 2002 BMW K1200RS @ 49k ... round 2 - Welcome Back to a Long Lost Friend
    Track: 2008 Suzuki GSX-R 750 :: 2008 Honda CBR1000RR
    Dirt: Honda CRF450X
    IBA #25520 - Iron Butting the Blue Ridge Parkway

    If loud pipes save lives, imagine what learning to ride that thing could do.

    #2
    I am seriously considering the VIR track day around DGR. But there is so much to think about before even starting. I want it to be easy to begin and ramp up from there.

    Comment


      #3
      Good advice Matt

      Comment


        #4
        Joe, consider this: For your first track outing, I submit that it’s better to ride what you’re familiar with than to get a dedicated sport/track bike that is new to you. Getting a bike that you’re learning to ride while learning the ways of track riding is not a good mix.

        Words of “wisdom” from a BTDT knucklehead...

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Loggiebone View Post
          Joe, consider this: For your first track outing, I submit that it’s better to ride what you’re familiar with than to get a dedicated sport/track bike that is new to you. Getting a bike that you’re learning to ride while learning the ways of track riding is not a good mix.

          Words of “wisdom” from a BTDT knucklehead...
          Should I take the GSA? It does have the MotoGP Pro plug. I could remove it to make it a normal GSA and give everyone else a chance.

          Comment


            #6
            Don’t know if you’re joking about the GSA but I’ve seen them often at track days so it would be fine. Nobody would pass you because it’s so wide!😏

            with your fleet, if you could get permission from Master William, I’d take the k/s.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Loggiebone View Post
              Don’t know if you’re joking about the GSA but I’ve seen them often at track days so it would be fine. Nobody would pass you because it’s so wide!😏

              with your fleet, if you could get permission from Master William, I’d take the k/s.
              Yes, an inside joke with MattB on the MotoGP version of the GSA. Taking the KS was the original plan. I don't want to have to do any work to it though. Pulling off mirrors, swapping coolant, etc.

              Comment


                #8
                Both of those are easy, even for a “chimp”...not implying anything.😏 And not all promoters require a coolant swap. Good rubber and pull the light plug and you’re all set.”

                Also...most are ok with Klim style gear but best to check it out.

                Thats all the prep prep wisdom for now. Thinking is giving me a headache. Now back to some manual freekin labor!🙁

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Loggiebone View Post
                  Both of those are easy, even for a “chimp”...not implying anything.😏 And not all promoters require a coolant swap. Good rubber and pull the light plug and you’re all set.”

                  Also...most are ok with Klim style gear but best to check it out.

                  Thats all the prep prep wisdom for now. Thinking is giving me a headache. Now back to some manual freekin labor!🙁
                  The promoter for this event requires removal of mirrors, no coolant, safety wires, and full zip leathers.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    For me it’d be “screw it”. Unless I’d be doing multiple TD’s a year or racing, I wouldn’t safety wire nothin’. That ain’t cheap. And you're talkin a lot of $ For leathers, proper boots, etc to do track days as a lark. If serious then a bike, tire warmers yadda yadda. “Must haves” are endless! Lol!
                    Last edited by Loggiebone; 04-26-2019, 07:24 PM.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Well, Matt has been whispering sweet nothings in my ear. I’m really close to pulling the trigger.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        You’ll figger it out. After all, it’s just the price of fun and shacking up with sweet cheeks! 😉

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by justjoe View Post

                          The promoter for this event requires removal of mirrors, no coolant, safety wires, and full zip leathers.
                          I'm late coming back to this party, but Joe, I think that you misinterpreted something regarding the safety wire. I'm going from memory of what I posted, which is always dangerous, but it's only the oil filter and fill cap, correct? The oil filter you simply put a hose clamp around and "wire" the hose clamp to something... not difficult. The oil fill cap, same deal. Was there more that I'm forgetting? Has to be, my GSXR isn't full safety wired.
                          Matt
                          Street: 2000 Honda VFR @ 39k :: 2002 BMW K1200RS @ 49k ... round 2 - Welcome Back to a Long Lost Friend
                          Track: 2008 Suzuki GSX-R 750 :: 2008 Honda CBR1000RR
                          Dirt: Honda CRF450X
                          IBA #25520 - Iron Butting the Blue Ridge Parkway

                          If loud pipes save lives, imagine what learning to ride that thing could do.

                          Comment


                            #14
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                            Take the GSA Joe, it's a great bike!

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