Prepare mind and bike for a trackday
A little bit of prep will make your first trackday safer, more enjoyable and better value
Do some homework 1
If you’ve booked onto a circuit you’ve never ridden before, study the layout. British circuits are notoriously tricky and many have lumps, bumps and crests that can catch out the unwary. It can take a few sessions to learn a track from scratch, so time spent at home learning the layout from online video footage and maps is time well spent.
Keep the noise down 2
Most tracks have noise restrictions to save upsetting the neighbours and you can expect your bike to be tested before it is allowed out. Most trackdays operate at 98db, with special ‘noisy’ (105db) days occasionally available at a premium price. To avoid failing the noise test, make sure you have a baffle fitted to your silencer and bring along the stock silencer if possible.
Don’t be fuellish 3
According to No Limits, only 10% of people ride to trackdays, the other 90% van/trailer their bikes to the track. Either way, make sure you know where to get fuel. If you’re using a van or trailer you can take your own in a jerry can. If you are riding, find out if the circuit has petrol (expect to pay a premium), or know the location of the nearest filling station.
Don’t look back 4
If you are new to track riding it is very easy to get distracted by everything that’s going on around you, so take some of those distractions away by taping up or removing your mirrors – when you are on a race circuit all your focus and attention should be on what’s ahead and not what’s behind.
Under pressure 6
Because of the extra heat generated when riding on track, tyre pressures generally need to be lower than those you use for road riding. Trackdays often have a dedicated tyre specialist in attendance on the day, so ask their advice about the exact pressures you should be running. Check regularly during the day.
Sort your bike 8
Give your bike a mechanical checkover beforehand, as track riding accelerates wear and attrition to engine parts and consumables. Check and top up the oil level if necessary. Other vital things to check would be brake pads; they come in for a proper workout on circuits and will start to wear rapidly so check and replace if necessary. Also check and adjust chain tension.
Choose suitable rubber 5
There are dedicated race/trackday tyres available, but these will require stands, tyre warmers and precise tyre pressure monitoring. At the other end of the scale, don’t be tempted to use budget road tyres as they have poor grip. Ask an experienced tyre supplier what your best options are for your bike and riding.
Sort your kit 7
Full leathers are best, although two-piece zip-together suits are still allowed as long as they have a fullcircumference connecting zip. Only full-face lids are allowed, or flipfront lids that have been tested as a full-face. Off-road-style lids are not permitted, neither are metal-based knee and toe sliders.
Pack some essentials 9
Take a selection of basic tools, things like a screwdriver or Allen key to change or adjust suspension, and the right size spanners to adjust the chain. A tyre pressure gauge, gaffer tape, footpump, and cable ties are other useful extras, but you’ll most likely be able to borrow these from a fellow trackday goer. Take bottled water and light snacks to keep yourself fully fuelled.