I thought I do a write up aimed for riders looking to take to the track. There are a few things that I might have left out so happy for everyone to chip in to compile a definitive guide for the NEW track day rider.
The day before, check over your bike. Go over basic consumables and wear and tear. Nothing more than what you normally would cover if you are going for a big ride out. This includes:
· Brake pads.
· Oil level.
· Nuts and bolts.
· Chain and sprockets.
· Throttle and cable.
If you are not confident in your bike lasting the distance, don't risk it.
Tyres, the middle doesn't need to be new but the outsides should be quite meaty which is normally the case for most road riders.
· Have a good nap the night before
· Look over the circuit guide to try familiarise yourself with the track.
· Pack your license and relevant paperwork before hand.
· Check the noise levels for the track and source a baffle if you think you might need one.
· Take a spare set of keys, in case.
· Check if you there is fuel on the circuit otherwise fill up before you get there.
· Take some tools and spares if available, if the worse happens.
· Cable ties, essential!
· Gaffer tape.
· Take a packed lunch that includes a bottle of water. Avoid canteens 'eat all you want' dinner of dead cow pie and tons of chips, it'll make you really sleepy in the afternoon.
· Take enough chocolate bars or banana's to eat one between every session.
If you are getting there via a van or trailer
· Take jerry cans to save you refuelling. Fuel is usually more expensive on track.
· Extra set of tools.
· Chairs, you have to rest somewhere.
· Your leathers, ensure they are in good condition.
· Helmet, good nick. Pack a clear/dark visor.
· Tyre gauge and foot pump.
For the keen rider:
· Source a set of aftermarket fairings.
· If riding with road fairings, invest in sliders and engine casings.
· Tyres warmers and paddock stands.
· Wet weather tyres.
· Have a late night thinking you will be OK the next day. Track riding is very demanding and there is a good chance you will cover more miles in a trackday than most riders will do in a race.
On the day, after signing up and registering, start preparing the bike:
· Adjust tyre pressures. No good taking readings from the day before. Road pressures are no good for track pace. Normally, 32psi front, 30psi rear. Rear always lower. If not sure, ask a technician on the day, not a racer. Racers will have their pressures adjusted to their settings and their pace, not appropriate for new riders.
· Take off your mirrors, will only act as a distraction. You only concentrate on your line and the person ahead of you.
· Take off your number plate.
· Tape up your headlights, indicators and brake light. If the worse happens, that would be more debri for marshals to clear up and may contribute to another accident.
· Tape up your speedo. Another distraction, don’t be tempted.
On the track:
· Start slow. First 2 sessions of the day should be dedicated to learning the track, even longer depending on the size.
· When you gain confidence, allow 3 laps for the tyres to warm up before going benzai.
· Speak to the instructors. They are there to help you so make use of them. Even if you just follow one for 5 laps you will probably improve your times.
· Look around the corner. You will automatically try and stare at the tarmac 15 feet in front of you and you would not know you are doing it. Try and look around the corners. You'll be amazed how much easier it is to go faster when you do this.
· Get all your braking finished before you turn in so that the front wheel is only doing one job. Get the throttle on slightly so that the engine is neither braking nor accelerating, your corner will be nice and smooth and then you can lightly feed in the power to get out again.
· Tuck in on the straights. You might feel daft but you will go faster and you will get less tired. Fighting the wind is tiring for your muscles so give them a break. Also, on a smaller bike it's more important, especially if you want to carry the corner speed down the straights and shock the hell out of bigger bike riders.
· Do not try slip stream the rider in front.
· Know where your bike is making peak bhp. If it's at 11000rpm then there is no point revving it to 13000 in every gear, just change at 11500 because the acceleration will probably be tailing off by then.
Go with a friend or make friends with someone who's there on their own. All of the people in the Novice/New group will probably have not done this before either and will be happy to chat. I personally made more friends in the race circuits in the first few months of track riding than I did at the later stages.
Ask anyone anything. People at trackdays are always happy to help those who know less than them so take advantage. We have all been there at one point in our lives.
Today seems like a good day to burn a bridge or two.