On-Track to awe­some­ness

The es­sen­tial first track rid­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, where you learn loads of skillz and pick-up a huge dol­lop of con­fi­dence while you’re at it…

Fast Bikes - - FEATURE -

To whet my ap­petite (and my leathers) the day started with the On-Track ex­pe­ri­ence, which is al­ways the first group for sign­ing on and head­ing out. As I snuck into the brief­ing room it was a treat to see the con­trast in riders; there were a few guys old enough to be my grandad, a cou­ple of girls scat­tered in, and even a kid wear­ing Richard Cooper’s old leathers and crashed-in hel­met. The brief­ing wasn’t too long-winded but in­cred­i­bly in­for­ma­tive; a solid blend of se­ri­ous­ness and jokes pre­vents the chance of any­one falling asleep, yet there’s a lot of sup­port given and re­as­sur­ance is at an all-time high. We all knew what we had in store for us, and I for one was gag­ging to get go­ing.

Star­ing off

Af­ter miss­ing a few min­utes due to a wardrobe mal­func­tion, it was im­mense to get out on the lat­est CB500R for what re­mained of the ini­tial 30 minute track ses­sion along­side the lit­tle 125s and 300s. Hav­ing spo­ken to a bunch of riders in pit lane, the ma­jor­ity of the ‘On Track’ guys and gals were ac­tu­ally about to lose their race­track vir­gin­ity, which ob­vi­ously meant at first the pace was in­cred­i­bly steady – even slower than your typ­i­cal novice group on a track­day. But hey, I was still hav­ing a right laugh on my CB which pro­vided a fun-to-speed ra­tio that few other bikes could of­fer. As the ses­sion went on the in­struc­tors started pair up riders of a sim­i­lar abil­ity. This smoothed out the whole ex­pe­ri­ence and, even though things were then run­ning at a higher pace, it was in­cred­i­bly safe with the in­struc­tors mov­ing the slower chaps out of the way. As the che­quered flag came out it was im­pres­sive to see the de­vel­op­ment in eti­quette; from Moto3-style ut­ter car­nage in the first few min­utes to an im­pec­ca­bly formed ses­sion. The smiles in pit lane said it all, but things were only just get­ting started, as we’d only had a taster of the On-Track ex­pe­ri­ence and the real fun came in the shape of some cones, a few in­struc­tors and an empty car park…

Stunt­ing course

Jump­ing on a lit­tle CBR125 this sec­ond part of the course, I couldn’t help but get a lit­tle bit ex­cited; tak­ing a trip down mem­ory lane to back when I learnt to ride many moons ago. First up was the ob­sta­cle course where you were to weave in and out of cones. It was in­cred­i­ble how le­nient the in­struc­tors

were, ac­tively en­cour­ag­ing me to break­out of my bound­aries .“Weaved in and out all right? We ll stand up and try it like that. Then you can sit on the tank and try it. Come and tell me once you’ve done all that and we’ll maybe try you at side sad­dle”, Iwas be­ing told. It wasall about push­ing lim­its, which was­made eas­ier with the knowl­edge that it didn’t mat­ter if I drop the bike; that was ex­pected. It was a great laugh, bu­talso a great op­por­tu­nity to get a feel for steer­ing, turn­ing, bra king and gen­er­ally con­trol­ling our bikes.And it didn’t stop there as the fun fac­tor hit anew height when the chal­lenge was in­tro­duced to see who­could do the long­est skid or at­tempt a stop­pie. It was mad to think that not that many hours ear­lier some of these guys had never even sat on a bike, and now they were per­fect­ing minia­ture stunt dis­plays. Fo rrea­sons such as these, the ‘On-Track’ course blew me away. It was where I learnt tor ideas a nip­per but I’ d al­most for­got­ten how great it was, and how­much I could learn from it, de­spite the fact I’ve raced at Na­tional level for ahand­ful of years. It was an awe­some ex­pe­ri­ence and I’d rec­om­mend it to any­one who wants to build their con­fi­dence and have a laugh in a con­trolled en­vi­ron­ment… and to get re­ally good at pulling skids.


‘Both hands on the ’bars, Pretty Boy.’ ‘It’s go­ing to be a long day.’

Noth­ing to see here, folks.

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