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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For those of you who may not know or whose local track doesn't offer this sort of thing this was a meeting for all interested first time track day enthusiasts. Just gave us a heads up on what to expect once we get out to a track day. What kind of maintenance we should have done as well as modifications to the bike.

I took the msf course about 2 weeks ago (rode on temps all last summer got in the first available class this year) and my instructor is an avid track rider and I've been thinking of taking my honda CBR 600 F3 to the track since last year. Now that I have my buell as well I am thinking I may dedicate the cbr to the track. My msf instructor gave me several pointers for how to get involved and into a track day as well as offering himself up for coaching once I get put there. Needless to say I'm really looking forward to it. I've got my vacation set at work and will be at blackhawk farms raceway labor day weekend.

Any advanced track day riders have any pointers for a newbie?
 

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Drink lots of water.

Your first trackday shouldn't be about going fast. You need to learn how to ride on the track, first.


I got more, but I'm heading out shortly.
 

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the joke is in your hand
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do a thorough inspection of your bike. look at everything. also check with the track day org and see what they require you to do to the bike.
remove mirrors, tape up lights, (good idea to remove fuses for them also) safety wire oil filter/drain plug/filler caps.
you might need to drain the anti-freeze for water wetter. unfortunately water wetter is the only acceptable option for most tracks still. check all the cables and throttle for return etc. they will check this stuff and if it doesn't work properly they wont let you ride.
also chain slack. some track orgs are real sticklers for too tight of a chain. if the chain can touch the swingarm below the footpeg that's about what you want. I've even seen some track orgs checking the suspension movements now. just make sure it's working 1/2 way right. they're looking for bound up suspensions. my buddy had his really tight on rebound, they told him to adjust it and come back.

some are also inspecting riding gear too. so make sure that's good. I know they'll require over the wrist gloves and riding boots. they'll check the date of the helmet too. again, I would be asking them about this stuff asap. it would suck to find out if they do all this and your helmet is too old or something.

as for food, yeah bring some. and plenty of water etc. shade (canopy) chairs etc.
don't forget the bike key!

make sure your tires are in good shape. this is another thing they will deny you for.
 

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A friend is always good to have along.

read up on good riding techniques and make sure you think safety first and foremost, speed comes with perfecting the skills. The skills can only be perfected with practice and lots of it.

Trackdays are not a competition or a race, no trophies, no awards, no prize money. The prize is whatever you can leave with for knowledge and experience.

Remember you can't learn it all in one day, or even 100 days. Motorcycle riding and learning to be better and more prepared is a life long affair.

Look at Kieth Code, been teaching/racing/rading for many decades and he is still learning and applying new techniques all the time. And you, me or joe ricky racer at the track are not kieth code, so we have tons more to learn.

If your goal is street riding, concentrate on what will make you have better vision and ride safer on the street and mentally take note of how fast the bike can manuever and stop. Not all trackday orgs are very effective and some are even a hinderence to street riding techniques- so beware of the difference
If your goal is racing, well then some trackday orgs are better than others to steer you that way and help you progress towards that means.
 

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Get Kieth Codes book or watch the video. Twist of the wrist is the name I think. It will help get basic ideas. Listen to your instructors.

Dont try to go fast that will come. Just try to have good lines and be smooth. Have fun! Go home with a bike that is still in one piece and a body that is not to banged up. Drink lots and lots of water the day before to make sure your good. The session right after lunch is usually the one that has the most accidents. People feel the track is warm and think they learned everything they need to go fast in the morning so they hit it hard with tires that have been getting cold longer and without the skill they think they have.... anyway I still ride that session but am more careful of others. In slow out fast is always best for corners.... no need to work on hard braking on your first track day. Dont gun it down the straight and try to brake last second is what I am saying. Have fun at the start of the straight but shut it down early and go into the corner slow. Going into the corner to hot is what gets most people.

O yea Have FUN! Dont worry you will have a blast and as long as your not trying to race anyone or be extreamly fast you will be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the responses. I am not going out there to prove anything. I'm just trying to further myself as a rider. As far as modifications the class yesterday covered everything I'll need to do for the group I'll be in (novice or intermediate depending on lap time) which is minor things. Like mirrors blinkers head and tail lights all removed and/or taped over. Suspension tires gear. All of the basic requirements to get myself on the track were covered. I'm gonna try my best to not show up with the average 20 something male ego and really work to learn Not hot rod.
 

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Ok, here goes...

Look way ahead. You should be looking at the apex of the turn when you hit your braking markers. When you hit the apex, you should be looking at the next turn. Really helps to "slow things down" when it comes to information input.

Focus on getting correct lines first. You should be within a foot or two of the outside edge of the track on turn in, should be leaning over the kerbing at the apex, and within a few feet of the outside edge of the track on exit.

Once you start to get comfortable with that, focus on body position. Edge of the seat should be in your asscrack. Lean forward and inside so that you are trying to kiss the mirror (where it would be since you have to remove it). Tits on the tank.

Relax your grip. Pretend like the throttle is a screwdriver. Grip it similarly. You should be able to completely take your hands off the bars and not fall off.

People will be slower than you. People will be faster than you. People may very well be quite a bit faster than you. They shouldn't be buzzing you, but be prepared for them to. You shouldn't have to worry about them passing in a corner, as all track orgs have a restriction for no passing in beginner group when in the turns. If you find yourself being held up by someone and you can't pass them, pull off down pit lane, and then go back on.

Bring camp chairs to sit on. Very helpful.

A canopy is a great investment if you are doing this more than once. Harbor Freight has them as little as $60.

Stop by the grocery store and buy a gallon of water. Drink the whole thing during the day. If you didn't finish it, you didn't drink enough.

Some tracks have food there, some don't. NJMP did not, unless you went all the way to the clubhouse. The Ridge out here in WA does have a food truck. Regardless, bring food. Some fruit (especially a banana) to eat before the day starts.

Get your suspension set up. There is typically someone there, and it'll cost $20-40, but it's money well spent.

Talk to the tire vendor about recommended pressures, if they happen to sell your tire. Ask on here and someone should be able to give you ballpark figures for cold or hot pressures. They will vary. For reference, on my Diablo Rosso Corsas that I ran, 28/28 cold was a good starting point.

Bring basic tools. A set of sockets, ratchet, and hex keys. You should be able to do basic maintenance/repair there. If you have spares of levers/clipons/rearsets, bring them. It's not necessary, but can get you back on the track if you wreck instead of you being done for the day for something stupid like a lever.

There's typically a track photographer there. If you see any shots you like after the day that you like, pay the man. Don't just steal the photos from their website. If enough people do that, they will stop going. Most offer decent deals. $10-15 per photo, or a higher fee for a batch.

Try and get a coach to follow you and instruct you. You can also ask them to drag you around, showing you the proper lines. They are a huge resource of FREE information. Use them all you can.

Regarding cold tires like DemonDuck was talking about. Typically, cold tires won't be an issue in Beginner group. You won't be riding fast enough to outride tires. Street tires heat up in under a lap. Where people run into trouble is being abrupt with their inputs. Grabbing a handful of throttle instead of rolling on, stabbing the brakes, etc. Additionally, the biggest thing that causes wrecks in beginner groups is TARGET FIXATION. Hence why you are looking at the next turn before you leave the current turn. Even if it's not in your line of sight, you look to where you expect the next cone to be.


EDIT: Don't try and get a bump your first day out. You shouldn't be aiming for fast lap times. Don't even consider going into Intermediate. Focus on beginner group and learning the track.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
EDIT: Don't try and get a bump your first day out. You shouldn't be aiming for fast lap times. Don't even consider going into Intermediate. Focus on beginner group and learning the track.
I'm not worried about what group im in. Its something they said during the class yesterday. I just want to have fun. I love riding and the track gives me the "perfect conditions" I've always wanted. Haha. And since this will be my first time out there I'll be in the novice group regardless and with the restrictions on the novice group I highly doubt anyone will be bumped up that day.
 

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I was just mentioning it because I was gunning for Intermediate my first day. I was actually not too happy when I didn't get it (I had the times, too).

Afterwords, I realized how dumb it was to want to move up my first day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Funny thing about this class. Seemed like only me and a buddy that came along had actually taken a msf course. The teacher was the msf lead for the area but when they asked the simple question "how do you turn the bike?" I was the only one who spoke up with the term "counter steering" everyone else had some convoluted explanation of how they turn.
 

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I was just mentioning it because I was gunning for Intermediate my first day. I was actually not too happy when I didn't get it (I had the times, too).

Afterwords, I realized how dumb it was to want to move up my first day.

I know a ton of people like this. Funny thing is, a lot of people I know who use this as a goal never really make it out of intermediate level because they didn't really learn how to ride.

OP, a lot of good covered here. Go have fun, and view it as a learning experience. You will come out knowing so much more than before you went in.
 

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Just listening to arctic makes me realize how pathetic and simple my only track day was. We had no photograhper, no food, no food truck, no suspension guy, no tire man, nothing. It was me, the other riders and the coaches. The safety inspection was a gear check, taped up headlight, removed mirrors and a number. No oil filter, oil cap, water wetter, chain slack, suspension check, anal probe, immortal soul. That's it. I hope you get more luxuries, but I guess for the small tracks/less popular tracks you get no frills. NESBA was who I ran with, who sponsors your track day, OP?
 

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Mine were somewhere in between. Photographer, food, often concession stand up and running, susp guy, tire guy, but inspection was similar to what you described.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Just listening to arctic makes me realize how pathetic and simple my only track day was. We had no photograhper, no food, no food truck, no suspension guy, no tire man, nothing. It was me, the other riders and the coaches. The safety inspection was a gear check, taped up headlight, removed mirrors and a number. No oil filter, oil cap, water wetter, chain slack, suspension check, anal probe, immortal soul. That's it. I hope you get more luxuries, but I guess for the small tracks/less popular tracks you get no frills. NESBA was who I ran with, who sponsors your track day, OP?
the sponsor for my track day will be a company called motovid.com (MotoVid.com | All Levels Motorcycle Track Days and Rider Clinics) this year is their 10 year anniversary. from what I understand they have everything minus concessions. they said theres a food truck but we should still bring our own food.
 

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Good stuff, man. I started doing track days 3 months after I got my first ride and I've been at it ever since. I started racing two years later & began instructing very shortly after that. Now I'm an assistant chief instructor that works with customers and fellow staff members alike to improve their skills.

It's a slippery slope :p


My advice:
Baby steps... very... very gradually push the envelope. Don't shove it completely off the table.
Actively seek instruction from the best your local orgs have to offer.
Never stop learning. Never stop improving. There's ALWAYS someone faster and there is ALWAYS someone who's more knowledgeable. Sometimes that person is one, sometimes they're the other, often times they're both.
 
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