Motorcycle track days are a great way to enjoy your bike and improve your skills in relative safety. You can concentrate on getting closer to the limit on a circuit without cars, traffic coming the other way, road furniture or speed limits. Whether you’re male or female, experienced or heading out for the first time, there’s a motorcycle track day tailored for you.
But to get the most out of a track day, it pays to do a little bit of preparation. So relax and have a quick read of our Ultimate Guide to Motorcycle Track Days to help make sure your day is a great one.
Track Day Preparation for Riders:
Riding on a circuit for the first time can be a bit disconcerting. There’s a lot more space than you’d have on the road, you’re on track with plenty of other motorcycles taking a variety of approaches to the racing line, and each session is likely to take more out of you than you might expect.
So before you sign up for your first track day, it’s worth being honest about what you want to get from the day. You might believe you’re the next undiscovered Marc Marquez, but most people want to have fun, enjoy their bikes and get home safely.
If you’ve never been on a circuit before, it’s worth looking at a a race school or track day training school as an introduction. They’re more tightly regulated than an open track day, teaming small groups with instructors to get you up to speed. In the UK, there’s the Ron Haslam Race School at Donington, the California Superbike School at Silverstone, the British Superbikes School at Blyton Park Raceway, and Jamie Whitham Track Training at various circuits.
That doesn’t mean you won’t be pushed. At the Ron Haslam school I thought I was up to speed and pushing hard. Then I got overtaken on the outside of the Melbourne Loop by Ron himself – carrying a pillion on the back. But having never ridden Donington Park before, it made a huge difference to be shown the right lines. Especially when most circuits have at least one blind corner that can easily trip people up.
You’ll benefit from instructors who generally train alongside existing or former careers in road and circuit racing. And you’ll be brought up to speed gradually, with instruction.
How To Book The Right Track Day:
If you do fancy jumping in at the deep end, then you can still take a few steps to get the best track day. There are various companies offering circuit sessions in the UK (No Limits, Focused Events, circuit owners MSV etc), and there is the Association of Track Day Organisers.
Be honest about your ability to start with. There’s no point trying to run with the Fast group if you’ve never been on a circuit or got your knee down. At best it’ll be humiliating. At worst, it’s dangerous. And it’s hard to concentrate on what you’re doing when you’ve got faster riders queueing up impatiently to pass you – meaning you don’t learn as much as you could.
Most good track day organisers will be able to move people around during the day if you produce Shane Byrne speed in the Beginners Group, so it’s better to start slowly and improve. And also find out in advance if you can book some 1:1 time with an instructor for the first few laps.
What Do I Need for Motorcycle Track Day?
First up, you’ll need all the required documentation:
- Full UK Driving Licence
- Completed Track Day Organiser Indemnity Form
- Completed Circuit Indemnity Form (If required)
You’ll also need full riding kit:
- Full face ECE2205/ACU Gold approved motorcycle helmet
- 1 or 2 piece zip-together leathers
- Decent motorcycle gloves (They don’t have to be race replica spec, but a pair of rubber gloves won’t work)
- Decent motorcycle boots (Again, a pair of dedicated bike boots, not DMs)
- Back Protector (A worthwhile investment for road and track)
- Spare Visors (Worth it in case the weather changes, to enjoy legally using a dark visor, and in case one gets broken/flies off etc – nothing worse than missing out on a day of riding for a broken visor).
That’s everything required. If you’re hiring a motorcycle for the day, then you’re pretty much good to go. If you’re running your own bike, as most people do, then there are a few optional extras which make a big difference
- Kit bag to keep everything organised. If you’re arriving in a car or van, you’ll have somewhere to lock everything up. If not, generally you’ll be in a pit garage, and while motorcyclists are generally a trustworthy lot, you don’t want to be spreading your stuff all over the place, losing things when it’s time for your session to start and being a pain.
- Food and water. Circuit catering is generally edible. But it’s often burger and chips or other typical stodge which isn’t great for your energy and reactions after lunch. Best take along some salad, fruit, cereal bars and lots of water/soft drinks. You’re likely to sweat a lot, so keeping hydrated will stop you making silly mistakes on track.
Getting Your Motorcycle Track Day Ready: