Top trackday tips

It’s not a race, so take it easy

Motorcycle News (UK) - - THIS WEEK IN MCN - Michael Neeves MCN Se­nior Road Tester and Elite in­struc­tor at the Honda Ron Haslam Race School

Ride faster – and safer

Trackday sea­son is upon us. Now’s the time to blow out those cob­webs on your favourite cir­cuit, but for the next few months at least, un­til it’s prop­erly sum­mer, you’re go­ing to be rid­ing on cold tar­mac.

Keep your hands work­ing

A cold rider is a dis­tracted one and your hands take the big­gest cold weather beat­ing. There are lots of racing-style gloves avail­able now that will keep you warm and give you ex­cel­lent feel and pro­tec­tion on track. Wear ther­mal un­der­suits with a thin vest un­der­neath, a neck warmer and even a bal­a­clava to keep cold wind­blast at bay. And if you’ve got an S1000RR, crank the heated grips to the max.

Get heat into your bike

Your bike feels the cold even more than you. En­gines will cool be­tween ses­sions, so warm the motor be­fore head­ing out on the cir­cuit. Brakes, tyres, the oil in the sus­pen­sion and your body, will all need an ex­tra lap or so to get up to tem­per­a­ture.

Cold tar­mac is your en­emy

Dur­ing the spring and early sum­mer in the UK and even in Spain, tracks will have cooled overnight and won’t be at a sen­si­ble tem­per­a­ture un­til well into the morn­ing. Chilly tracks give less grip and can ‘cold tear’ and de­stroy your tyres.

Watch the lefts

Most UK cir­cuits run clock­wise, so there are more right-han­ders than lefts. The right side of your tyre will warm up rel­a­tively quickly and you think you’re locked-in and ready to go af­ter a cou­ple of laps, but it’s easy to for­get about the next left-han­der. Be pa­tient on the lefts for the first few laps and don’t carry too much lean, drag the front brake into the cor­ner or get too hard on the throt­tle com­ing out. Cad­well’s Goose­neck, Craner Curves at Don­ing­ton and Graham Hill at Brands Hatch are all clas­sic cold­tyre crash sites.

Go the sports tour­ing route

In cool con­di­tions the lat­est sports and sports tour­ing tyres will be eas­ier to get along with than a race tyre. If you’re using race tyres go for a hard, not soft, com­pound to avoid cold tear. A ded­i­cated trackday tyre will work in a wider tem­per­a­ture win­dow, won’t need tyre warm­ers and will per­form on the road.

‘Chilly tracks of­fer less grip and can wreck your tyres’

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