Congratulations! You’ve decided to do your first track day. Welcome to what will likely be your next addiction. Riding on the racetrack is a ton of fun and allows you to explore your limits in a much safer environment than the street. Your friends and riding buddies have probably told you this before, and we’re guessing it’s why you’ve decided to sign up for your first outing. You’re understandably excited, and probably nervous, too. Don’t worry, your friendly MO staff are here to help.
We’ve been there. We can all remember our first trackday, and we’ve been to enough subsequent trackdays to give you an idea of what’s important to remember and what’s better to forget. Here, we’ll give you our five do’s and don’ts when it comes to participating in your first trackday. It’s all simple, really.
Have health insurance
This one shouldn’t need any explanation.
Bring plenty of water and healthy foods.
Few things are worse than being hungry and dehydrated on the track. Also, your ability to concentrate will fade if you suffer from either of those.
Make sure your bike is in good working order.
No leaks, tires with life left in them, and no strange drips from your suspension. Also, some trackday organizations require you replace your (slippery) glycol-based coolant with distilled water or another coolant type without glycol. Even if yours doesn’t, this is still a good idea anyway.
Bring your key!
Your otherwise great day can all end very quickly if you leave your bike key at home.
Ride your ride.
It’s your first trackday. Plenty of other people will be faster than you. Don’t get sucked in. Ride to your comfort level and go home with your motorcycle in one piece. Nobody wins a trackday and there are no trophies to hand out at the end of the day. Focus on yourself and what you’re comfortable with.
Okay, so these are six things. Still, this should be the golden rule when it comes to motorcycles. If you aren’t having fun, then what are you doing? In addition to riding your ride, seek out the help and guidance of the instructors each trackday organization has. Don’t feel like you’re bothering them – their job is to guide you and coach you to be a better rider! Take advantage of their services. They want you to be a repeat customer.
Don’t forget your gear.
Your suit is obvious (one-piece is preferred, but two-piece suits are fine), but we’ve seen people forget their boots, gloves, even their helmets! Also, don’t forget your back protector or airbag (and don’t forget to charge it), and under garments if you wear something underneath your suit. We highly recommend bringing ear plugs, too.
Don’t forget gas!
Make sure your tank is full, and if you have a fuel jug (if you don’t, get one), fill that up, too. You go through gas pretty quickly at a trackday. Don’t be caught in the cold because your tank is dry.
Don’t go alone.
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. It’s best to go with a buddy, if you can, just in case you bang yourself up and can’t physically get yourself home. You’ll test your friend’s loyalty if they offer to pack up your stuff and take it back. This is also a reason NOT to ride your bike to a trackday. If you break your bike, you’re stuck. Even if you finish the day in one piece, you’re going to be tired. Splitting driving duties with a friend will be a lifesaver.
Don’t be hard-headed.
Leave the ego at the door. You might be brimming with confidence because nobody can touch you on your local twisty road, but we promise you’ll be quickly humbled at the track. Many times we’ve seen canyon carvers give up street riding entirely after riding on track – the thrill, combined with the safety factor of not having opposing traffic coming at you – simply couldn’t be matched on the street. We’re not saying this will happen to you, but keeping your ego in check and being open-minded will get you far in this sport.
Don’t become attached to your money.
Because once you get hooked, you’ll be searching through your couch cushions trying to find a way to do another one. You might even convince yourself to get a dedicated track bike. And if you really fall in the rabbit hole, you’ll have a go at racing. Then you can really kiss your wallet goodbye. Welcome to the club.