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Trackdays, a dream come true

Updated: Dec 15, 2023


Leaning it in!


Imagine being able to ride your bike, as fast as you can. There’s no muck or debris on the road. There’s no oncoming traffic. No kerbs, potholes, lamp posts or trees. Just you, your motorbike and the open road for as long as you can stay out. It sounds like a dream come true, but it could also be a reality.

 

That’s exactly what you get when you go and do a trackday. Luckily for us, Mondello Park isn’t a million miles away. When you mention a track, people get scared away. A fear of the unknown. They think a track is only for sports bikes going as fast as their owners can manage, and crashing at the blink of an eye. That misconception couldn’t be further from the truth.

 

A trackday is for everybody. It’s simply a slot of time allocated for you to improve your riding skills in a safe environment. The racers will do their own thing in the advanced group, and if you’ve never been on track before, you’ll spend your time in the novice group. This doesn’t mean that they’re insulting you, or that you can’t ride your bike. It means you lack the track experience, and it’s a starting point.

 

The novice group is where the magic happens in trackdays. It’s full of people who just want to get better, fine tune their skills, find out how best to get around a corner, or even get used to how to react on your bike when things go a little bit wrong. There are also marshals available to show you around, and to give you feedback on your riding.

 

Whether you’re scraping the pegs of your Harley-Davidson Sportster, or tucking behind the screen of your Africa Twin, there is no restriction as far as bikes go on track. You also probably won’t crash. If you don’t hit the deck regularly on the road, you won’t fall over on wide open tarmac that’s much more forgiving in the event of a mistake. Unless you’re acting the hero and clearly riding beyond your own capabilities.

 

The beauty in riding on track, is what you can learn. If you know you can get around turn three at Mondello even though you went in a little faster than you anticipated, then you know when you inevitably get to a corner on the road that you took a little wrong, you’ll know how to handle the machine you’re on. You won’t panic and grab the brakes, or target fixate, and it greatly increases your chances of staying on your bike.

 

It’s something I’ve learned over the years, and it has served me excellently. Riding around Mondello has allowed me to understand completely how my bike behaves. I know what it does if I have to suddenly grab the brakes. I know how fast it can accelerate, and I know what to do if the rear of the bike steps out a bit.

 

I also know how to read the road and find the apex of corners. I can get my knee down, but I also understand the importance of contact patches of tyres on the ground. These are all very important skills, that have taken years of practice. They’re also not things I want to be finding out as I’m heading down a road with a car coming towards me. By practicing on track, muscle memory takes care of me on the road. I’m a safer rider because of it.

 

Apart from anything else, it lets off steam. I don’t head down the M50 at 180 kilometres an hour, because I’ve gone faster than that on track, with none of the risk or fines to go with it. I get to keep my licence, and go as fast as I can often. It’s really a win win situation.

 

As for kit for a trackday, leathers are a must. Either a one piece suit or a two piece that zip together. Trust me, in the off chance you do come off, you’ll be thankful for it. A good helmet, a pair of boots that protect your ankles, some good leather gloves and you’re good to go. I also obviously always recommend back and chest protectors. People always preach that you only have one head, so get the best helmet possible, but I say the same thing about my spine.

 

With your kit sorted and trackday booked, you’re all set. On most road bikes heading to do trackdays, we recommend taking off your reg plate once you get to the track. We also encourage people to either take off their mirrors completely, or else tape over them and the lights on your bike.

 

Make sure you’ve got plenty of fuel. There’s a handy petrol station only five minutes from the track so you can also refuel at lunch time if you’re doing the full day. There’s also usually photographers and suspension experts around. Not only will you be improving your road riding skills while having an unreal amount of fun, you’ll even be able to get cool photos of you doing so.

 

When you arrive on the day, you go to a short safety briefing where you’ll be told the basic rules. You’ll get a stamp on your wristband to say you’ve been a good member of society and listened. Then you get to go and play. You’ll be able to ride as fast as you can. No muck or debris, no oncoming traffic. No kerbs, potholes, lamp posts or trees.

 

Just you, your motorbike and the open track. It sounds like a dream come true, but it’s reality. 

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