After my last blog post, you may be asking yourself, “how can the average motorcycle rider get into the sport of road racing?” The answer is simple: Track days! Track days have really allowed me to take my riding to the next level. If you want to learn about the easiest (and safest) way to get into my favorite sport, please keep reading.
If you’re currently riding on the street, you know there are a lot of stresses and dangers to deal with, including other cars, road hazards, traffic rules and wildlife. Now, imagine if you could take all those worries away and just have fun riding. How great would that be? Track days provide motorcycle riders all over the world with a safe environment on a closed circuit to work on improving their skills, pushing their limits and riding as fast as their hearts desire.
If that sounds like something you’d like to pursue, there are track day providers throughout the United States and all around the world. In order to find the best one for you, start by looking for your closest circuit and checking out their schedule to see which providers are offering days that meet your timeline and budget.
In some places, such as Northern California, there are several different tracks with many different providers offering track days at these locations. Depending on the time of week, location, etc. the price can range from $150 for a weekday at Thunderhill in Willows, CA, to $500 for weekend time at a more prestigious track, such as Laguna Seca in Monterey.
Most providers have three separate sessions: novice, intermediate and advanced, so whether you’re a seasoned professional or a first-timer, there’s a group you’ll fit into. Typically each session runs for 20 minutes each hour, from approximately 9AM to 5PM with an hour break for lunch. You’re welcome to choose whichever session you feel is most appropriate for your speed. The track day staff may move you either up or down if they feel it’s unsafe for you to be in the session you initially chose.
In my experience, I’ve seen bikes of all shapes and sizes at track days, from the most incredible race-prepped sportbikes and street bikes that have just rolled off the showroom floor, all the way down to vintage bikes and even a few cruisers. You can have a blast on any bike over here. As long as your motorcycle is mechanically working properly, not leaking any fluids, and has good tread left on the tires, you will more than likely have no troubles taking it on the track. You will need to tape up the headlights, a practice that helps prevent shattered glass in case of accidents.
Although motorcycle safety is very important, rider safety is even more so. Proper riding gear including a full leather suit, leather gloves, body armor, riding boots and a DOT-certified helmet or better are a crucial part in staying protected on the track.
Now I know all of this might sound a bit intimidating, but believe me when I say that there’s no other group quite like the motorcycle track day and racing community. Everyone looks out for each other, helps you when you’re in need and makes you really feel like you’re a part of a family. Also, at some track days there are free experienced instructors who can help you familiarize yourself with the track, learn riding techniques and understand more about how to become a better overall rider. Everyone is there to help you, so take advantage of it and absorb as much as you can.
As all riders know, motorcycle riding can be dangerous, and although getting everything together to do a track day may be expensive, it will be worth the fun and you will grow as a rider. If you’re looking to be a racer, track days are an absolute must, but if you’re looking to just get into the sport, this is the best way to do it! Either way, I’ve never left a track day without a smile on my face!