So, we've covered off the basics on how to prep your bike for a track day in our previous blog - HERE - now, with the bike ready and set for the day, we are going to give you a few pointers on how to get yourself in the zone. This blog is designed for those who are thinking about taking their bike on track for the very first time to get a flavour for circuit riding. We'll be adding further blogs in the future for the more seasoned track day rider.
Don’t forget it! Whilst we know that all organisers run their events differently, we suspect that all of them are going to want to check that you can ride a bike before you head off down the start straight at 200kph. Make sure it's a card licence and not paper otherwise you might get a swift “C’YA!”
Get on YouTube and watch some racing from the track you are going to, as well as some on board footage. This will give you a good understanding of which direction the track goes and, very importantly, where you need to be on track. This not only gets you smoother quicker which will allow you to make more of the day, but also gets you in a safe position.
We have seen riders in all sorts of places on the track at some of the days that we've headed to and quite frankly it’s dangerous; don’t be that rider, you’ll have a better day for it!
Basic, right? Yes. “Many a simple thing overlooked”. Get yourself bottles of water and keep hydrated. You will be more alert, less tired and have a better day for it if you get water onboard.
Don’t forget to eat, too. I recommend snacking throughout the day on little bits to keep your energy up, with a bigger snack at the lunch break.(not massive otherwise you’ll feel lethargic). We always take a bunch of bananas which are a cracking way to keep you going.
Relax and trust your machine. Whilst it can sometimes be easier said than done, don’t overthink stuff otherwise you won’t maximise your machine and what it can do. Go out there and ease into the day in session one and as the day progresses really twist that throttle, build your speed and enjoy!
If it unsettles you revving the bike out then 'short shift' - this is where you change up slightly earlier than hitting the red line or rev limiter. Make sure you use your gears, both up and down, the Boxer engine has fantastic engine-braking characteristics, so use them.
Look where you want to go, not where you are. If you walked around looking at the floor you’d walk into doors all day, same principle on the bike, look through the corner to the next point on track approaching. When you are at the apex you are looking at the exit, when you're at the exit you’re looking for the apex of the coming corner. Yes, there is a bit more to it than that once you're more up to speed but that’s it in its most basic form.
Many track days have instructors on-hand ready to use, they are always nice guys and a session with them is super valuable to help you get the most from the days. They often have cones on the tip-ins (when you enter the corner) and apexes of the corners, use this valuable information to be used to your advantage. Additionally, chat to other riders whilst you're there. You might find the odd wally here and there, but for the most part everyone is happy to either lend a little bit of track specific advice or tell you a story or two about what not to do!
Unlike your licence, leave your ego at home. It won’t do you any favours if you let it ride the bike. Don't try to be a late-braking hero on your first day out and give other slower riders plenty of space to learn, too. If you have a near miss then take some deep breaths and consider popping back to the pit to take some deep breaths, you've got plenty of track time on a full track day so don't worry over a few minutes here and there. Make sure you smile and enjoy it.
I hope all the above has been helpful and we have given you the information and confidence you have been searching for to give your first track day a go, regardless of your biking experience.
You won’t regret it, you’ll have a mega time! Enjoy! Full Gas!