Have you ever attended a sporting event and wondered what it would feel like to be in the professional’s shoes?
Have you ever turned to a friend or fellow fan and said something like, “I wish I could do that?” I know I have, maybe more than once.
If you are motorcycle owner or operator then a track day is a chance for you to build your skills and take part in an exciting experience.
So what is a track day and how do you take part in one?
Track days give motorcycle enthusiasts the opportunity to take their own personal motorcycles off public roadways and onto safe racing tracks. Enthusiasts have the chance to test not only the performance of their machines, but also their own operational skills. A track day is not a race. There is no competition, and no “winner.” However, there is a prize and it is highly valuable. We’ll talk about the prize a little later.
There are over 1,000 track days scheduled to take place (weather permitting) in the United States and Canada in 2011 alone. There could be one closer to you than you think, so be prepared. Here’s a searchable map of the United States, posted by TrackDayMag.com showing the variety of locations track days may be taking place in 2011.
How does a track day work?
To take part in a track day, you’ll need your own motorcycle, safety apparel, and a valid motorcycle operator’s license. There is also a registration fee that varies depending on location and event. Many tack days follow a general outline of events, with some deviation. A safety meeting, track overview and rider check are commonly completed prior to anyone gaining access to the track. In addition, riders are often placed in groups of up to three corresponding to their level of experience i.e. novice, intermediate or advanced.
Next, one group at a time will take to the track for their riding session with all sessions alternating throughout the day. Participants will have the chance to review their experiences with event staff and fellow riders in between their group sessions.
So, what’s in it for me?
Let’s loop back to the prize I mentioned earlier. As I noted, a track day is not a race. Racing activities, such as passing and lapping other riders may not be allowed during your riding session. The goal of a track day is not to outwardly compete against participants, but rather to improve your own skills. Also, to gain a better understanding of how you, as well as your machine, will perform in situations where increased handling, braking or speed may be needed to ensure your safety as well as those sharing the roadways with you.
Whether it’s a squirrel darting in front of you, loose gravel around a turn or a sudden summer downpour, there are many situations where you will have to make split second decisions of braking, handling and/or acceleration. Knowing how you and your motorcycle will react under pressure will lead to more confident riding, a higher skill level and hopefully an increased level of satisfaction with your ride. That is the ultimate prize.
Motorcycles are steadily evolving. Stronger acceleration, better handling, quicker braking and lighter curb weights continually challenge even the most experienced operators and taking part in a track day may help keep you in prime operating form.
What if I crash during a track day? Am I covered?
Whether or not a policy provides coverage for you and your motorcycle while operating your motorcycle off public roadways, such as at a track day, varies by insurance carrier. BEFORE taking part in a track day event I strongly encourage you to ask your insurer what coverage your policy provides. For peace of mind during track day, contact a Foremost agency to talk about a motorcycle insurance policy and track day coverage.
Heading to a track day or race soon? Keep an eye out for Foremost Insurance! We attend a variety of racing events throughout the year and I look forward to meeting you! Our next stop will be July 22nd at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix in Monterey, California. Look for us in the Yamaha Marketplace, just outside of Turn 3.