Better riding: Track etiquette
Rishaad and I have just returned from the latest edition of the TWO Track School that's run by Indimotard and OVERDRIVE. As usual, a score or more of students left happy, brimming with confidence and likely to be both faster and safer in the real world. The school also offers non-instructed track time that faster riders can use to hone their skills.
The thing is, track days outnumber schools in India and if you're serious about riding, you really should sign up for one. Here are a few things that you should do and a few things you absolutely mustn't.
Go for track days!
Yes you must. No matter which track they are at, track days are enormously rewarding and life-changing fun. This is irrespective of what bike you have. Our school has seen everything from a Harley-Davidson Street 750 to an Enfield or an Impulse and no one's ever looked crestfallen at the end of the two days. Track days need not be expensive either. BIC is famous for charging ridiculous sums of money for time, but the MMRT, Chennai and the Kari Speedway, Coimbatore are vastly more reasonable. For reference, track time at Kari with us is about `8,500 at present, which includes sessions through the day on both Saturday and Sunday.
It isn't a race
A racetrack is a road with all the stuff you'd crash into, removed. The traffic all goes in the same direction and usually, traffic around you is going roughly as fast as you and extremely conscious of you. Also usually, an ambulance is literally minutes away. You cannot be in a safer environment. But all riding at the track isn't racing. You must understand that and be aware of it. Everyone faster than you should be allowed past without friction and they should repay you the same courtesy when you're faster than them.
Go with a plan
If it isn't a race, what are you doing? You should have a plan. Motorcycling consists of a number of physical skills, mental skills and more. What you should be doing is have a plan of action of the areas you would like to attack and then work on those during your riding. Whether it is braking into the turn entry or just using your eyes better, random fast laps produce less benefits than riding with a plan
Pitlane isn't a fast place
This is where people are getting ready to head out to the track. The pitlane is a place where you earn no points for wheelies, stoppies, riding fast or riding without gear. Be respectful and extremely careful. A crash in pitlane is, without a doubt, the most embarrassing thing you can do to yourself. Worse, you'll always be the prat who did something silly in the pits.
Bring water and food
While the TWO School offers plenty of water and food, we understand that this isn't always guaranteed. But both are critical to keeping energy levels high through the day and the dangers of dehydration and the losses of concentration it brings are very real. Drink lots of water, a lot more than usual and keep some fruits and energy snacks around in case the organisers don't have options for you.
Prepare to consume lots...
...of tyres and brakes. The track is a place where even average riders run much harder than normal and that consumes both tyres and brakes. You will also see the fuel disappear very rapidly. This is par for the course. It is why you don't want to show up with either worn tyres or weak brakes.
Without exception, most people who turn up for track days belong with the hardest core end of motorcycling. They're usually extremely happy to help and you should be too. Do this right and you'll make fast friends.
|PLAN AHEAD Track days are about working out how fast riding works. List out the areas or skills you want to work on and stick to the list AMBULANCES Should be standard equipment. If they aren't, don't ride. The ambulance is your safety net for first aid as well as to get to the hospital should it be needed RUN-OFF AREA Allows you to push the limits, have an incident and still continue riding. You couldn't possibly find a safer place to ride the bike in|
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