There’s been much talk in the last year or two about new tracks popping up in the north east which ultimately meant that we can now have more than one option of a ‘local track’ to choose from. From last year’s opening of New York Safety Track, the knock was that it wasn’t so safe,’ to the very first year of the new Thompson Motor Speedway opening up to us motorcyclist!
That’s right now in addition to Loudon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway there is now another track opened just a mere one hour away from my front step. This is big for me because in order to ride a decent and good track I had to travel 4 hours to upstate New York or 6 hours down through New Jersey. From the traveling perspective it was a win/win situation for me, two tracks within an hour of me.
After riding the new layout for the first time yesterday here is my takeaway from my first experience there:
Location 10 of 10
As mentioned before I was thrilled with the track only being an hour away from me. Not only was it close it also didn’t have any told roads, or mountainous up hills and down hills that you need to traverse to get too. You wouldn’t assume the track to be where it is, out in the open, because I actually drove passed it and had to circle around or missed it completely if it wasn’t for the trucks of other track day riders still in the entrance waving me down.
Paddock Layout 5 of 10
Although a new paddock layout with new garage bays it was insanely difficult to navigate. For starters the area in which you would park is pretty much tiny compared to other tracks. Everyone was pretty much on top of each other trying to cram all the trucks, trailers, cars and spectators into the small area.
Not to mention that the garage paddock is $25 per bike as I soon found out. Kind of insane considering even NJMS charges $60 for the entire day and not to mention that NHMS has garages for all whom is there on time at no charge! I also found the pit in/out to be atrocious.
Normally you’d line up on the actual pits but because it’s a new layout they had all the riders line up in the paddock area before you went out. Pit in was on the same lane as pit out, which caused for a crashed from the previous day’s track day, a layout for safety much be implemented soon or major confusion like this will keep happening.
Amenities 5 of 10
Not many things are offered, like a shower for one and only having two stalls and two toilets for the men are another. There is a cafeteria from what I was informed but I never bothered to check it out.
Track 7 of 10
Now onto the track! It ran a clockwise layout with predominantly right turns and only three lefts. I was originally in the blue group and found that pace to be quicker than I would have liked, it was not allowing me to concentrate on the corners and sequence of turns so I opted to bump down to yellow, which was much better!
The front straight is pretty long and has a kink to it in which you must line up before you start attempting your braking for the first two turn sequences. That didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would be because you are traveling fast and making a quick input to the left for the line.
As with the right-handers I would like to mention that they are mostly, if not all, late braking/trail braking turns with late apexes/double apexes. I hate right turns already and having to learn how to brake late, trusting my front tires to hold grip and not give out on me, was tough for one day of track riding, but it helped! If you are not used to braking past the tip in point then this track will surely address that issue for you. Its notorious for its off cambered turn, which left me trying over and over to find the apex. New tracks I would like to hold a tight line but for Thompson its best to clip the apex and then it run wide in the turns to line yourself up for the next one – remember they are sequences of turns.
The left hand turns weren’t so bad in themselves. There is a double apex left, 5/6, that are quite fun when you line them up right, it will see you on the left side edge for longer than the rest of the turns there. Turn 8 is also a great fast left, so fast that the organizers decided to put up cones to add in chicane to slow the riders down. This was done predominately for safety and after riding the track I can see why they did what they did. It also connects to turn 9, with the added chicane; it made for a fun left-right flick of the bike.
The last corner before the front straight is TRICKY! It is sort up uphill, with reminisce of wheelie hill in NJ, as you go at speed you can almost catch air and get serious headshake. The trick I found is to stay tight to the right and let it drift out wide so that only the front wheel comes up, if you’re lucky. If it all goes well you’ll be grabbing globs of throttle down the straight.
Overall I hated the track in the morning mainly because of the pace of the group that I was in as well as the amount of right hand turns that I wasn’t used too. Towards the end of the day however, after finding a good rhythm, I started to like the track more. It is very tough on your body, a lot of movement and inputs everywhere but the front straight on this track. Adding a back straight would’ve been perfect to alleviate all the turns that I felt like were crammed into the backside of the track. By the end of the day I was feeling it in my arms and wrist, total torture for the body.
Would I recommend this track? Of course since it’s only so far away, but are there any other reasons? Yes! Riding this track will help you with your braking and clipping of double apex corners, not to mention on late entry as well. It’s tight and technical so your line work will have to be on par here. If it’s not than this track can surely help in that!
Not too sure when I will be back next at this track, hopefully soon but not too soon!