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Thread: Doing a trackday for the first time? Read this.

  1. #1
    Badger
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    Doing a trackday for the first time? Read this.

    This was compiled for the increasing number of members wanting to do their first trackday in the UK, it is a fairly comprehensive write up on what you will need and the way that trackday organisers run their day.



    What do I need on the day?

    The absolute basics are licence, bike, helmet (to ACU/British standard), gloves, boots, and one or two-piece (zipped) leathers. I also consider a back protector as an essential.
    If you have sparky sliders (knee/toe) replace them with standard ones as you will be told sparkies are not allowed during your briefing. Take your mobile phone and some cash. The mobile to phone someone if necessary (if only to share the excitement!) and the cash to buy drinks, food, fuel and spares if necessary.

    If riding to the track – then take a small rucksack or bag on the bike if you can. Ideally you want to take basic tools Eg. allen keys/ spanners to take mirrors off, zip ties and gaffa tape, water, a couple of butties, fruit, crisps and a chocolate bar or two. To keep energy and concentration levels up it’s a good idea to eat and drink regularly throughout the day rather than waiting until lunch and then eating a lot. If you cant take tools or are unsure what to take don’t worry as there will be plenty of people at the track prepared to let you use their tools if you ask nicely.

    If you are taking your bike on a trailer or in a van then prepare a check list of everything you need as there is nothing worse than getting there and finding you have left something you need.


    Do you need a licence on a trackday?

    Best principle is YES. Take your driving licence with you. (Both parts for the newer versions). If you do turn up without it the TDO (Track Day Organisor) will phone the DVLA on your behalf usually for a small charge of around £5. This can only be done on a weekday and you will lose any tracktime until this has been done.


    Do I need to do anything to my bike for the track?

    Yes and no. Whilst you are not obligated to do anything it makes sense to look at a few areas:

    1) Your bike will be working MUCH harder than on the road. Check tyres. Make sure they are up to the job (enough tread and good overall condition). If your bike hasn’t been serviced for a while its worth considering a service or at least an oil and filter change. Check brake pads and make sure they have plenty of meat on them. Have a general check over and make sure bolts are tight, chain is lubed and nothing is ‘hanging off’. Also make sure your exhaust is legal if your chosen day is a ‘quiet 98db’ day. If it’s a normal day (104db) this is not usually an issue.

    2) If riding to the circuit – Before going out on track remove or tape up your mirrors as you don't need them and they will be a distraction. Its also a good idea to put tape over the speedo (not rev counter) as again you don’t want to be looking at your speed. Its also worth taping up indicators and lights ‘just in case’ (if you are unfortunate and have an off it stops glass on track).
    Some people remove or tape up their number plates. Its personal but it has been reported in the past that insurance companies have had representatives there (or looking at photos afterwards) making a note of registration numbers should a claim be made on or near a trackday.

    3) Reduce your tyre pressures from road settings to about 30 front and 30 rear. If unsure ask the tyre man or one of the instructors. Tyres will be running much hotter on track so this drop in pressure will allow them to work more efficiently. *REMEMBER to put them back to road pressure if you have to ride home*. (If you don’t have a pump – just ask as there will be plenty of folk that will let you use one).

    You can buy track bodywork and crash bungs for your bike. Fitting these is a very good idea if you intend doing a few days (or buying older panels which can be swapped over). The bungs can be useful for road riding as well but if fitting track bodywork bear in mind that it will not have cut outs for the lights.


    How is the day organised?

    You can usually sign on from around 7.30am. You just need to fill in disclaimers and liability forms (or present them if you have done that in advance) and collect your wrist band (which gets checked before heading onto the track). Briefing is usually around 8.30ish. This is compulsory and you will get a card, sticker or second wristband (depending on TDO) to show you have attended. If you miss this you cannot go on track until you have attended a later briefing.

    The briefing will cover what is expected of you on track, the order the groups are out, warm up laps and last lap passing policy, flags/ marshals, ordering photographs and use of instructors amongst other things. (Each TDO has their own briefing format). The briefing usually takes 20 to 30 mins and Novice group are sometimes asked to stay back for a few additional pointers.

    There will be three groups - novice, intermediate and fast. If its your first trackday its best to start in Novice. The organisor will be happy to move you up if you are finding the pace too sedate. Likewise if you book straight in the Fast group and aren’t up to the pace they will move you down. The key is to be honest with yourself when you book – accepting that if you are not experienced with trackdays you have a whole new learning curve to go through. Not only do you have to learn the circuit but your riding style in relation to the road will develop very differently as well.
    The groups will be announced over the circuit PA system. Some TDOs also use flags – a different colour for each group.

    Sessions are normally 20 minutes per group which means that you'll get 40 minutes break in between. Lunch is usually around 12.30 to 1.00pm for one hour. Sessions then continue until around 5pm dependent on light. It is fairly normal to get six sessions and sometimes seven sessions in a day. The number can depend on stoppages though so nothing is guaranteed.


    What else is available to me on the day?

    Instructors. You will be told where to ask for some time with an instructor in the morning briefing. Its free and very worthwhile. The instructor will follow you round, watch your lines. He will then pass you and let you follow his lines. (This is why some instructors leave their mirrors on – so they can see ‘pupils’ behind them). Once the session is over you can find the instructor and get his advice on your riding and lines.

    There will usually be a tyre man at the circuit (although this isn’t guaranteed so worth checking beforehand if you are likely to need their services). They will supply tyres, swap your tyres over if you have spares or wets and will (if you ask nicely) alter your pressures if you do not have a pump.

    Suspension services are now becoming more available where you can get your bike set to base settings and then to your specific weight and riding style with adjustments throughout the day. This is usually around £45.

    There will be a photographer. Some require payment up front in the morning and others will take payment on the day or afterward (off a website). Prices are usually around £7 for a single photo and up to £35 for a disc with a dozen or more pictures.


    Will food/ drink be available?

    Yes. Larger circuits have canteens and smaller have burger vans. If you haven’t been able to bring plenty of water and food for the day then you will be able to buy at the circuit but as ever be prepared to pay over the odds. Remember to drink plenty of water preferably to keep hydrated and eat small and often to keep concentration levels up, do not underestimate dehydration as it sneaks up on you, did i mention drink plenty of water!!


    Will there be fuel available on site?

    Some circuits have fuel on site which opens at lunch time. Be warned its usually expensive but not often available. Best policy (if you cannot take spare fuel) is to fill the tank near the circuit on the way there and then pop out at lunch time and re-fill if you need to. There is usually a petrol station within a few miles form the circuit and the TDO will be able to give you clear directions. If you do go out for fuel remember to re-attach number plate or take tape off if taped up (and mirrors if you need them).


    Will the day get stopped if the weather is bad?

    No. Not unless the circuit stops the day (not the TDO) which will only happen very rarely. If its raining just take it very easy and concentrate on smooth throttle control and smooth lines – Or sit in a dry garage until it stops!!
    Even if you take the cancellation insurance some companies offer this is null an void if they get you on the circuit for even part of a session so is not really worth it. (Just my opinion there).
    If a days is cut short because of weather then generally that’s it. No refunds.



    The main thing about doing trackdays is to go there and enjoy it. If you can go with mates - or meet up with folk at the track I find that does add a bit of fun to the day with the craic and banter. You can also borrow and lend stuff that way!
    From a riding perspective just go and take it easy whilst you get a feel for the circuit and prepare to be amazed at how good your bike is! You will be told during the briefing that its not a race and thats exactly right. Whether you are the fastest or slowest out there - ride within YOUR limits and enjoy it. You will find as you settle down you will feel you are improving and going faster each session and with confidence can start to extend your personal limits.


    Now get it booked and get hooked

    And if ya get some pics let's see them on here, here are a couple of mine to get you in the mood:-











    Most importantly make sure you have fun out there and stay safe
    Last edited by Badger; August 5th, 2009 at 12:32 PM.

  2. #2
    AMA Pit Boss
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    Spot on Badger me old mate, spot on :-)

  3. #3
    Dolenc
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    I would just like to add, do drink a lot, but not only water. Your body is also loosing salt, so something like ice tea or something is better.

  4. #4
    Evil Twin Olllie's Avatar
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    How come the number patch on the front in the first picture is differet to the rest?...

  5. #5
    Badger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olllie View Post
    How come the number patch on the front in the first picture is differet to the rest?...
    She needed some new clothes after i lost the front on a 115mph corner at Croft


  6. #6
    lees rsv
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    I am doing first trackday at local track dont know if anyone has been to lansdown race track only 60 sqid for the day next friday hope bike stays in one pice

  7. #7
    Superbike Twin dan.46's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lees rsv View Post
    I am doing first trackday at local track dont know if anyone has been to lansdown race track only 60 sqid for the day next friday hope bike stays in one pice
    where's that then? i did my first track day in june at oulton park after years of promising myself to do one. i did my second there this week and i'm totally hooked. the mrs ain't happy either. oh well, doing another in a fortnight at donington. can't wait !

  8. #8
    A303
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    Quote Originally Posted by lees rsv View Post
    I am doing first trackday at local track dont know if anyone has been to lansdown race track only 60 sqid for the day next friday hope bike stays in one pice
    Eh? Where's that to then? Are you sure that's not a horse racing track?

  9. #9
    lees rsv
    Guest
    Its in cowbrige in cardiff hope its not horse track will have to fit off road tyers

  10. #10
    Gasboy
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    Quote Originally Posted by lees rsv View Post
    Its in cowbrige in cardiff hope its not horse track will have to fit off road tyers
    LOLOL

  11. #11
    A303
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by lees rsv View Post
    I am doing first trackday at local track dont know if anyone has been to lansdown race track only 60 sqid for the day next friday hope bike stays in one pice
    Ah - Llandow? - just found it.

  12. #12
    Baby Twin DeanRSV's Avatar
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    Has anybody been to Rockingham? Any good?

  13. #13
    GP Champ caterpillar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeanRSV View Post
    Has anybody been to Rockingham? Any good?
    International is fantastically good fun Dean lots to learn, fast, open in places, not so much in others. Definately a different experience all round compared to our traditional circuits.

    All our circuits are great having said that

    I've not been on the National layout, but i'd imagine it could become repetitive quite quickly. Enjoy it if you go for it, you won't regret it.

  14. #14
    Baby Twin Rtomo's Avatar
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    badger.
    off topic question ... ish ... where do you source your bodywork from ?? i cant find anything other than that sharkskinz stuff from the states =(

    Rob

  15. #15
    Baby Twin Spiderô's Avatar
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    quick question for you guys who live in "colder" countries in central europe is getting cold, but I still want to go to the track it will be around 10įC, is that too low for tires to stick to the ground? At the moment I'm running pirelli superbike tires and I know I will have to rise my pressure in tire to get enough heat, by I still don't want to crash my mille at the end of the season
    if anyone can help here, I'll be very grateful

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