By Tim Scarrott
Motorcycle Superstore is proud to announce weekly Tech, Tips and Products provided by Pacific Track Time. These informative articles are designed to provide motorcycle enthusiasts with information on how to prepare for track days, what gear we feel are worth a cut above the rest and offering up a few tips to help your on track experience go smooth.
Our first “Tip” will answer a very common question: What is a track day and why should I participate? Thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts participate in track day events across the United States each year and their reasons are as varied as the motorcycles they ride. Track day participants range from new motorcycle riders all the way on to accomplished local or national level racers. Some participants ride street motorcycles, adventure bikes or they might have dedicated track bikes. You may even find full blown professional racing motorcycles testing at a track day. Given the variety of skill levels and motorcycles at an event and the fact that riders are assigned to groups based on their skill level and experience, most riders feel right at home starting on their very first track event.
So, what is a track day? A track day event is a safe, controlled environment where a motorcycle rider can learn and practice their performance riding techniques. At a track day, riders are surrounded by like-minded motorcycle enthusiasts plus they have instructors on hand to give advice and help them out. Also, the track itself is free from debris, oncoming traffic, ditches, deer, light posts and guardrails, plus there is always medical assistance on hand at every event. Riders are divided into groups based on skill level or lap times and groups are assigned to be on track at a specific time-period every hour. This means that you will ride on the track with riders of similar skill or interest. A reputable track day event provides a knowledgeable staff, corner workers and support services to make sure the rider’s day at the track is the safest and most enjoyable it can possibly be.
At a Pacific Track Time event, riders are assigned into A Group, B Group or C Group based on their riding skill, experience or lap times. Each group will have a 20-minute on track session followed by a 40-minute break. In between riding sessions it is an opportunity to rest, rehydrate, make adjustments to your bike or just relax and take in the scene. New track day riders will start off in the C Group since it is designed to cater to the new track rider or riders who prefer a slower pace. B Group riders are intermediate and experienced track riders who are learning performance riding techniques at a medium to fast pace with a few track days under their belt. A Group is the domain of the road racers and very experienced track day riders who prefer to ride at a faster pace.
Every track day starts off with a rider’s meeting. Safety expectations, rules and riding etiquette are clearly defined and discussed during the rider’s meeting and is an opportunity for you to ask questions prior to getting on track. Instructors are introduced to the riders, the track entrance and exit are identified using a track map followed by the lead instructor going over the rules on how to deal with incidents. All of the flags that will be used to help riders stay informed of what is happening on track will be presented and the expectations the track day provider has for the participants will be detailed at that time. Rider safety is paramount at Pacific Track Day so they put extra effort into explaining each flag and potential track condition and how every rider is expected to respond to those signals as well as where they will see them on the track.
Now let’s talk about why a motorcycle enthusiast would want to participate in a track day event. Motorcycle enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels are welcome at track days and riders are guaranteed a safe, controlled environment to learn and practice their motorcycle riding techniques. A race track has a smooth, prepared surface free of gravel, liquid, road hazards and oncoming traffic. Racetracks are also designed for maximum safety in the rare event a rider crashes. There is plenty of run-off area with no obstacles and an ambulance staffed with medical personnel at all times, just in case someone gets hurt.
Participants often report feeling that a track day event is generally an atmosphere that fosters camaraderie with like-minded motorcycle enthusiasts which allows riders to share experiences and learn from each other both on the track and in the paddock. A track day is also intended to be a family oriented event where you will always find a professional, family-friendly atmosphere.
About Pacific Track Time: For over 10 years, Pacific Track Time has hosted hundreds of motorcycle track day events, schools and riding courses for thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts all over the world. Pacific Track Time conducts its track day events at premium facilities such as Buttonwillow Raceway, Laguna Seca, Sonoma Raceway and Thunderhill Raceway Park. In addition to quality track time, Pacific Track Time is also heavily involved in the community providing riding schools, race-licensing courses, organized street rides and training seminars at local dealerships. Pacific Track Time has a fully qualified staff that in AFM/AMA for 2013 took 35 top three finishes in overall championship points and racked up a total of 193 podium finishes. These same staff and instructors are available for on and off track help at every PTT event.
Our first “tech” piece is going to talk about how to conduct a general inspection and preparation of your motorcycle as part of your periodic maintenance.
For our first Riding Tip we are going to discuss the most important factor while riding a motorcycle and that is Riding Safety.
Track days continue to be one of the most popular activities for sport bike riding enthusiasts across the United States so if you haven’t been to one, please come join us.