Over the weekend was my first encounter with the notorious New York Safety Track. Why would I say the track is notorious? Well since its opening late last/earlier this year there has been mixed feedback from everyone whom has experienced and/or commented on the track’s layout. The majority of the comments were on how contradictory the name of the track is relative to its actual safety. I was just honestly ecstatic that there was a new track somewhat closer to me (4 hours) than Thunderbolt in New Jersey (6-7 hours).
With all the comments in mind I set off to make my own opinion of this track, its facilities and its layout. Here is my review of the track in all its glory.
Getting here was straight forward as can be (coming from Lowell, MA) but as soon as you got anywhere near the track the road soon narrowed and became incredibly challenging to traverse if you were towing an enclosed 4-bike trailer with a full bed as we were. It becomes apparent that sanctioning any form of major racing here (i.e. AMA or even rumored WSBK) was redundant as soon as we got to this point. It was part paved roads and part dirt roads so it was tricky but we managed without any major incidents.
The track really is in the middle of nowhere aside from a few houses around. It was pretty much picturesque as you can get.
Most of the online gripe about NYST was that it had NO PADDOCK, NO ELECTRICITY and the bay area’s were pretty much on a hill filled with a mix of paved roads and rocks, lots of rocks. This was pretty much true. They had workers directing trailers and rigs into spots to make the paddock area somewhat easy to navigate. We had a hiccup with trying to park two trucks and a sedan next to each other all the while running off a generator. It wasn’t bad but it certainly could be improved upon as the owners have heard endless cries for an actual paddock so I digress here.
The facility was great. There is ample room so you never really feel like it’s a small paddock and room for campsites as well. They have onsite bathrooms with showers – I rejoiced when I found out they had showers. Also a food truck was on deck to serve hot meals if you happened to be jonesen for something other than bbq food.
Track Downtown 9/10:
Now for the nitty gritty of why we are here. We ran the track in the downtown configuration.
Since it’s a new track the pavement was as smooth as can be. A lot of riders commented on how their tires looked like they had taken a sand grinder to them. This translated into ample grip all around, and if you managed to lose some well hats off to you. A thing I loved, coming from NHMS, was how it was laid out in one piece, what I mean is comparing it to the pavement transition at Loudon where you have to hit the right lines pretty much. Curbing is another issue as there isn’t MUCH curbing put in so far. An improvement would be to add in some curbing and rumble strips in some sections of the track i.e. front straight. I am not sure if the cones for the downtown configuration were in the right place but I found myself to be pretty much lost when I tried hitting the brake markers, turn in, apexes on the track.
The track is wide enough to allow for passes inside and outside lines. I liked this fact as it can make for some higher entry speeds and in case you miss your line you won’t to worry about tighten it drastically back up.
One of the features I hated but pretty much enjoyed after a few sessions were the elevation changes the track offers. Videos, pictures and word of mouth have no comparison to the actual elevation change you feel while on course. It really is a mix of Caldwell Park (wheelie hill @ Turn 7) and IOTT with its uphill and downhill sweepers and turns. I have only ridden NJMP/NHMS and it really is also a cross between these two tracks. It’s technical with its linked turns and Esses (turn 10-8 in downtown config) reminisce of Loudon as well as flowing with its sweepers (turns 13, 12, 6 & 3 in downtown config) reminisce of Thunderbolt.
I found the runoff to be ample in certain places (I ran on at turn 18 after the straight (shift lever came undone)) and it wasn’t as bad as the internet made them out to be. Although some areas could use that extra space just to be cautious and safe. After turn 17 there is a little pond, so if you don’t fancy a swim I don’t suggest going off line there.
I liked and very much enjoyed this track. There are some hindrances but as they have only opened it recently it is to be expected. I went with all feedback in mind and after my first trackday there I left with my own opinions. I will recommend this track to everyone who wants to try it out. It’s great and it can teach you a lot about what track riding all entails. With blind corners, elevation changes, sweepers, technical switchbacks, it can only make you a better and more confident rider after you leave it.
I am sure to make a return next season for a full two days and hopefully get to try the Uptown configuration!
A few of the stock images from On The Track Media:
For the rest of the gallery .
Of course pictures of the track and images of myself wont do it justice, here’s a short video of the track: