A Rider at a Fishtail Riding School in turn 10 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway
This is a special guest post from Dan Netting of Bike Track Days Hub
Track Days: NOT Just for Lap Time Chasers
Utter the words ‘Track’ and ‘Day’ to a large majority of riders who aren’t straddling the latest crouch rocket and their thoughts will likely conjure up images of over excited, one-piece donning race rep riders that are merely out to rip through the next corner as fast as they can.
I’m not going to lie, some of the track day crowd do indeed fall into this ego fuelled, Grand Prix wannabe stereotype (who can be easily spotted), but to think that they’re the only type of rider welcome in the track day paddock is just plain wrong.
It is my firm belief that there is an awful lot to be gained from heading out onto a race circuit, regardless of the bike you ride.
Throughout my now substantial experience doing track days around Britain’s best racing circuits, I’ve seen a very wide array of motorcycles out there.
From small 125 learner bikes, to sit up and beg nakeds, long distance adventurers, and idolised motorcycle classics. Heck, I’ve even seen Harley riders venture onto the track once or twice, and they were going well too!
Here are a few reasons why I feel every rider should venture out to the track at least once in their motorcycling lives.
It’s all about the curve
Cruising along freeways or across vast instates for hundreds of miles is all well and good, but I’d hazard a guess that the vast majority of riders are in it for the curves.
Get yourself down to your local race track, put yourself in the novice group, treat it like a Sunday afternoon ride out and just enjoy being able to ride the curves and undulations in complete safety.
With no oil spills, speed cameras, pot holes or wild animals to surprise you around the next bend.
A chance to open up the taps
Today’s motorcycles are capable of so much.
Even humble commuter or courier bikes have enough performance and poke to trouble the odd high-priced sports car out on the open road. Performance that can often have you breaking the law with little input.
Getting the bike on the track gives you the chance to open the taps a little more and allow it to stretch its legs.
Again, we’re not talking about burning rubber and chasing lap times. Just using a healthier portion of a bikes potential will bring a smile to many a weekend corner carver.
Benefits on the road
This is my favourite.
You may feel that the techniques learned on the track are of no use on the road, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
High speed braking, greater lean angles, good throttle control and visual skills are just some of the things that translate straight back onto the road.
Not for faster riding, but increased safety.
Practicing these more ‘performance’ based skills ultimately means you’ll gain confidence in what your bike can do, and when you next need to emergency stop to miss a car, lean more to get around a hazard, or look in the right place to get yourself out of danger, having a higher level of skill is going to ensure you stay out of that dreaded panic zone that often makes mishaps or unexpected hazards develop into greater problems than they need to.
Track days are not reserved for the wannabe racer, and can be the perfect vehicle to increased rider enjoyment, confidence and safety.
If those three things are something you strive for, I’d recommend you check them out.
About Dan Netting
Dan Netting of Bike Track Days Hub has been riding the track for the last 6 years after the bug well and truly bit after his first time out. He has spent the vast majority of that time learning exactly what it takes to ride fast, but more importantly, safe.
To help give back to the community, Dan created his site to help others reach a higher level on the track, or simply to enrich the rider’s experience in some way, shape or form.
To learn more about track days and the various facets that come with it, head over to BikeTrackDaysHub.com