Finally doing your first trackday? Excited? I bet you are! Here are some of my personal tips on how to enjoy your first trackday more:
1. Prep Your Bike:
There are those lucky enough to have their own dedicated track bikes that have already been set up for trackday riding/racing & probably have never seen the light of day on actual streets & then there are the rest of us who aren’t so fortunate. Prepping your bike to track not only adds into the protection of your bike in case of a spill but it also gives you piece of mind at the end of the day to know you won’t destroy your street setup. There are many ways you can go about doing this & they follow:
- Track bodywork to replace OEM street fairings (saves, you guess it, your street fairings)
- Clip-ons replaces the OEM handle bars in case of a spill you need only replace the bar & not the whole setup
- Aftermarket adjustable rearsets have the same idea as the clip-ons, replacing broken pieces rather than the whole
- Engine covers help void damage to the stock cases & introducing foreign matters into your motor
- Safety wiring any bolts/filler caps/drain caps you might have. Crucial is the oil filter because no one wants that guy spilling oil all over the tarmac if they go down (most if not all demands this to be done either way
2. Protective gear
You can’t show up with just jeans, boots and your leather jacket to a trackday. Proper gear is required & usually this is what is acceptable (although check your trackday organizers as I have seen some relaxed rules on the matter):
- Leather suit. Why leather? It saves your ass from getting ripped apart if you go down. Two-piece, one piece whichever works for you and your budget
- Gloves. These are a given. Gauntlets are best, leather is even better.
- Boots. Not timberland please, leave those at home. Racing boots, touring boots, riding shoes. Those all work so find out which preference works with your gear.
3. Transportation To & From
Once you have bike & gear figured now its time to figure out your transportation needs. If you don’t have a truck/trailer combination then I suggest you hit the forums of your local trackday & see if the other riders have spots, you would be surprised at how accommodating these riders can be! But you can also buy trailers from Harbor Freight, Kendon, Forest & the likes and tow yourself there. I have seen small cars to big rigs and even a Goldwing towing track bikes. To help loading your bike there are plenty of options:
- Pitbull trailer restraints (by far THE best form of loading of any bike I have ever seen)
- Wheel chock/straps combination
- Canyon dancers (a must if not chock is avail)
- Trailer. You can buy one to invest in or simply rent from U-Haul or the likes
4. Go There Early!
If your trackday organization allows you to setup the day before I HIGHLY suggests that. Why? Because waking up before the sun does the day OF your trackday never sounded pleasant to me. We usually go up the day prior (Sunday night for Monday trackday) & set up all of our bikes, gears, food, and equipment for the day ahead. This also gives us a leeway of getting the bikes inspected through tech (where you have to go before you can begin your trackday.) This gives you a chance to fix anything on your bike that didn’t pass through tech. All said & done kick back & have a beer!
5. Get Ample Sleep!
Yes it’s your first day tomorrow & you’re excited – who wouldn’t be?! I know my first trackday I couldn’t sleep a WINK! But getting enough sleep, restful sleep, is even more important before a trackday than it is for a long ride. You will need all your energy & focus during the trackday. Early to bed early to rise!
6. Attend New Rider Classes & Seminars
There will be plenty of track time for you during your first trackday but there will also be equal amounts of classroom time. Yawn right? WRONG! Nothing is better than having the collective minds of instructors, control riders and simply people who have a tremendous amount of years under their belt trackday riding & racing to learn from. It’s a great place to ask ANY question you may have about the track, each corner, where to brake, where to gas it, where to tip in, your body position, it is quite endless the amount of knowledge you can learn during the whole day, take advantage of it.
7. Real Time Feedback
Our organizers, Tony’s Track Days, offer a lot of one-on-one instructing during the event, so if you feel like you need extra help there will always be someone there to help you on & off the track. Want another option? You can always set up your camera, record a session, come back into the pits and review it before your next one. This provides a great way to know what you are or aren’t doing correctly.
Those are my main tips on how to enjoy your first trackday. As I have just finished one up earlier this week I am already looking forward to the next one in a few weeks time. Hopefully this helps you on your first trackday experience! Go out there and enjoy!