The scent of leaded fuel saturates the air I am passing through at 150 miles per hour. Earplugs mute the outside world and draw attention the muffled vibration to the aerodynamic resistance pressure against my skull. Blue, white and red painted curbs dance in my peripheral vision until a shift light glows red. At the four hundred foot mark I sit up, stick my right leg out like a sail and squeeze my front brake. Shifting down two gears, I dip the bike into turn one and prepare for the next eight turns spanning another 1.5 miles. How will these skills learned on the track crossover into street riding?
Track riding forces rider to visualize the road ahead and adjust to the world coming at you at a high rate of speed. Keeping your eyes up and scanning the horizon, prevents accidents by spotting hazards before they have to be avoided. Watch as faster riders establish early lean angles; use one steering input per turn and accelerating through every corner. Modern motorcycles are sportier than ever, so try pushing your limits in a safe and controlled environment. Remember you’re not racing; instead, the track is a place to hone technique and work on fundamentals.
Buy a $1.00 notebook and writing down tire, suspension and jetting settings to you have a baseline to refer to on your next track day. Use the same notebook to draw pictures of the track from memory and if you’re having trouble remembering pieces of the track then you probably haven’t spent enough time on the track. After logging enough miles you’ll be able to draw where you start turning, apex and begin accelerating even if you lack artistic skills. Use the rest of the notebook to scribble notes on what you are doing right and where you can make improvements because help is only a question away.
The difference between one company’s track day and another’s is more than semantics. The price charged, generally from 100-200 dollars, often reflects how much hands on instructor training a rider will receive and cheaper prices often reflex less instruction. While some riders might prefer the “let ’em rip” approach to track days, most riders would benefit from a professional offering some critique of one’s riding and tips on improvements.
Comparing faster rider’s lines with your own can be an eye-opening experience for many beginning track riders. Watching seem-less transitions from brakes to gas and lefts to rights; the advice of a seasoned rider can be priceless. A one hundred and fifty dollar experience is pretty cheap when compared to the cost of a speeding ticket and the insurance cost of more points added to your license. Many states have enacted laws mandating the suspension of a driver’s license found guilty of “excessive speeding,” a subjective term often up to the officer’s discretion. If you think you’re fast, prove it, but do so on the track because it’s the best place to visit 150 miles per hour.