Trackdays - What are the risks and are they worth it?

If you fancy a trackday but are terrified at the prospect of crashing your motorcycle or encountering scores of savage racers, don't worry about that.

What mental image do you see whenever the work 'trackday' is mentioned? That of a formerly pristine sport motorcycle laying upside-down in agony nearby, while another rider on a ratty ex-race motorcycle, beats his way off toward his next scalp? Is a trackday actually the ultimate way to transform your brand new Kawasaki, Honda, Suzuki, Ducati or other superbike into a piece of strap-metal.

The risk is the first and biggest concern for anyone contemplating a trackday or the first time. The crash scenario is probably the most common reason people don't go, that and the fact that there's no such thing as insurance when it comes to circuit riding. Whatever you break, it's for you to repair and pay for.

Understandable for most riders this scenario was playing out big time in there imagination at the race-track. We spoke to several new riders after there first or second ride, on their first first-ever trackday. Most riders had ridden to the circuit and would ride home again on the motorcycle they where racing. So they where worried about crashing? Most said “absolutely”.
Looking around the paddock it's clear at least 30% of all the motorcycle here are the guys' road motorcycles first and track machine second. After-all, not everyone can afford one motorcycle for the road and one for the circuit. Some have crash bungs, indicators and number plates removed and some have fibreglass replacement fairings – but these are still road motorcycles, if not the owners' primary means of transport.

Of course there is a risk that you'll maybe crash your brand new motorcycle, but there is certainly no greater a risk than you take every day riding on the road. On the evidence of what we saw at the circuit., trackdays are much tamer than you may think. The novice group was very sedate with everyone allowing plenty of space on overtakes. You'll see far more aggression and potential for crashing every time you ride on the public road. And at least on the circuit, everyone is headed in the same direction.
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Friday, 27 August 2010 @ 03:40 AM ICT
One crucial componant that can keep the shiny side up at the track is knowledge. It's important to get some good instruction and expand ones comfort zone a step at a time. As technique improves, the speed safely goes up. Too many new track riders go out and wing it. That can lead to a problem. At track speeds, an understanding of body position, lines, gear selection, reference points, being smooth, etc. are essential. An objection I often hear to taking a class is "it's expensive". Well, it's not as expensive as tossing your bike. Riding at the track can enhance your street skills immeasurably. And the fun factor, you can't put a price on that. Ride smart.