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Tim in Belgium 22-03-08 09:36 AM

Trackday idle banter thread.
Thought I'd start this to see how it goes for general TD chat after seeing how the Silverstone thread has gone.

So my TD experiences in order so far (all on my SV):

Croix en Ternois
Cadwell Park
Nurburgring (16 ish laps to date)

The most crazy one was Croix en Ternois with the french, someone forgot to tell them that it's not a race, even in the novice group.

The longest day was Lydden, I rode from Belgium to France, got the euro tunnel, did a track day at Lydden then rode all the way back, I was whacked by the end of it.

All were done on Pirelli Diablo Stradas, front pressure between 31-33 psi, rear 33-36 psi. I rode to all of them bar 2 when I took the bike in a sheep trailer.

Got Croft and Spa booked for this year, and a couple of trips to the 'Ring planned. I'll try and get to Cadwell again too. So far i've always been in the novice group, but will now go in inters when returning to tracks I've been on before. After modding the suspension a little last year I'm loking forward to the improvement in the bike when returning to tracks, it was very much evident at Croft last year. I've also got some stickier rubber in the form of Rennsport roads to fit.

So what have your track days been like?

Any rambling stories?


lukemillar 24-03-08 10:12 PM

Re: Trackday idle banter thread.
How about favourite trackday pic as well!? Saw this on another forum and it was quite cool :)

cuffy 25-03-08 09:21 AM

Re: Trackday idle banter thread.
This is just a guide for those thinking of doing a trackday and what preparation you need to take etc

Do you need a full licence or is 33bhp okay?
This varies from trackday company to trackday company. Some specify yes and others not. I've been on trackdays where people haven't even been asked to produce any licence at all. Others have checked it very thoroughly. I would take my licence to be sure as you don't get a refund for not taking it and they want it!

What do I need on the day?
A bike, a helmet (ACU gold standard stickered), gloves, boots, and one or two-piece (full zipped) leathers.

If you're riding to the track and you know someone taking a car then a tool kit is also a good idea, and spares like levers and such if you have them. A whole day has been ruined by a broken lever - spares can be bought for about £10-15 on eBay

What can I expect on the day?
Expect sign-on to take place from around 7:30am. This will involve you showing that you're there, signing disclaimers and liability forms and collecting your wrist band (which gets checked before heading onto the track). Generally speaking there will then be a briefing at around 8:30ish. The organiser will talk about the track, about track etiquette, the timetable for the day etc. They will also run through the different flags and what they mean.

Normally you have three groups; novice, intermediate and fast. If you're making notes on this then it'll be your first trackday and you should really have booked into novice. Generally speaking you'll be last out on track. They will also assess you through the day and if they feel you’re in the wrong group they will move you. The groups are announced normally over a PA system and will go out for 15-20 minute sessions. This means that you'll get 30-40 minutes break in between your sessions out on track. You will normally get about 5 sessions in a day and you will know it at the end as you will be tired.

Normally there will be instructors on hand for free advice. Companies like 'No Limits' will also do free track assessments where they'll follow you round, watch your lines and offer advice where you can improve. You can then follow him and learn the lines. There will normally be a tyre guy on site, offering a tyre fitting service and sometimes a suspension bloke offering customised adjustments for you. Finally there will be a photographer so that when you get your knee down you have photographic evidence.

My biggest advice on the day? Relax and enjoy yourself. You won't break any lap records and you won't be the fastest person there, so don't try. You'll either end up frustrated or in A&E. If someone passes you, let them go, they're faster. If you give chase you run the severe risk of outstretching your ability and crashing.

Will there be fuel available onsite?
As a rule I say no! As some have petrol pumps but not always open so I always recommend taking gerry cans, plus fuel is cheaper off the site.

Will there be refreshments?
There will normally be at least a burger van on site to full restaurant facilities - typical racetrack prices though! I normally take food of my own like bananas, pasta - high energy food that won't sit too heavy. Don't pig out at lunch as it will make you tired for the afternoon session. I eat little and often throughout the day.

Do I need to "track-prep" my bike?
You don't need to do anything. However, I would advise that firstly you remove or tape up your mirrors; you don't need them. There is absolutely no need for you to be looking behind you. If someone wants to overtake it is their responsibility to do so safely and without impeding, or unsettling you - this is not racing. Looking behind you will only draw your attention from what is in front of you, which cannot be a good thing. Removing the mirrors (rather than taping them) means one less thing to replace should you stack it!

The other favourite it to tape up lights and indicators. This stops glass/plastic showering the track should you come off. I also remove my number plate, some people tape it up.

Check, and drop the tyre pressures. If your not sure what they should be etc, ASK there are many people there who are always willing to help. Speak to the tyre guy, instructors or even the riders.

It goes without saying that you should have checked your oil levels, tyre wear, chain etc before the day.

What happens if it rains?
You'll get wet!! It's rare for a trackday to be cancelled due to rain! Always best to keep an eye on the weather so you take the right kit! Nothing like turning up and it's raining and you have no waterproofs!

Will I get laughed at for being slow?

There will always be someone slower than you. (with my riding at the moment that'll be me!) In all honesty people don't laugh at people going slow, there will be people quicker and people slower than you. As it's a race track there is always opportunities to overtake, or be passed as long as your not weaving all over the track, you'll be fine.

Sighting Laps
The first session in the novice group usually has several sighting laps (quite often the whole session behind the instructor, depending on the company). If you're new to the track, the best thing to do is to line up right at the front of the queue so you're right behind the instructor - that way you can watch their lines and learn a bit about the track. I find if you hang to the back of the group you tend to spend more time trying to keep up with the pack as it gets elongated round corners and straights and you won't really get the same benefit.

You should ride for yourself, but also remember that you are partly responsible for the safety of everyone else who's out there with you. If you're on a big bike, try not to be a straightline warrior - it won't kill you to go easy on the power now and then and let the folk who've been up your **** through the corners get by.

Eeeek !!!
If you think you've gone into a corner too fast and you're not gonna make it round, try anyway. Chances are that you actually will get round it and even if you don't, an elegant lowside is far better than standing it up on the brakes halfway through the corner and falling off in a more random fashion. Remember to look at where you want to be, not at what you want to hit (so through the corner to the empty tarmac, not at the kerb you feel you're heading for).

Remember, you've got all day to get faster. You've got five - seven sessions on an average trackday so you don't have to go hell for leather first thing. Work on gradually getting quicker through the day, push your braking points back gradually, get on the power a little bit sooner. The folk who try and go fast straight out are the ones who bin at the first corner of the first green flag lap of their first trackday.

Pay attention to how you feel. It might not seem like a lot of time on track but you will be absolutely knackered cos you're probably riding your bike harder than you ever thought possible. Drink plenty through the day and if you feel tired, don't be afraid to miss a session - the last one of the day is often pretty quiet. If you're out on track and feel you're making stupid mistakes, come in - it's better than binning it cos your brain's not working right.

Not essential that you know these as they should go through them on the day (although not all people go through all the flags, so it can't hurt to know them beforehand).

GREEN: Everything is okay - carry on.

YELLOW: There has been an incident; slow down, observe and no overtaking. Maybe someone has fallen off around the next corner and is lying in the middle of the track. Do not assume that if you pass one crash that it is all clear - there could be another. Wait for a green flag before proceeding as normal.

RED: The session has been stopped prematurely. This means that an incident has occurred that is serious enough for the circuit control to end the session. Slow right down and head straight back into the pits. Strictly no overtaking. The longer that bikes are out on track, the longer it could be taking to get an ambulance out to a downed rider.

Yellow/Red Stripes: Slippery surface. Only normally used in certain areas where the hazard occurs. Maybe somebody went down earlier and left a trail of oil, or maybe it's rained at one part of the track. Check the track for the hazard when you see the flag and continue cautiously.

BLACK: This will be waved at one particular rider. That rider must come into the pits. It could be that you're riding dangerously and the circuit control want a word about your behaviour. It could be that there's something wrong with your bike (e.g. rear brake dragging up the road behind you!). If you think it might be you they're pointing to, come in, they'll soon send you back out if not. Repeated black flags for dangerous riding will get you kicked off for good.

Chequered: End of the session, waved at the finish line. Finish that lap and then come back into the pits.

But most important rule is ENJOY IT

Binky 23-12-08 09:44 PM

Re: Trackday idle banter thread.

Originally Posted by cuffy (Post 1455568)
This is just a guide for those thinking of doing a trackday and what preparation you need to take etc

Do you need a full licence or is 33bhp okay?
This varies from trackday company to trackday company. Some specify yes and others not. I've been on trackdays where people haven't even been asked to produce any licence at all. Others have checked it very thoroughly. I would take my licence to be sure as you don't get a refund for not taking it and they want it!

Can it vary on the track aswell? For example a TD organiser offering restricted track days on some tracks but not on others or is it purely down to the organisers not the actual track??? :confused:

Stu 15-02-09 02:10 PM

Re: Trackday idle banter thread.


TazDaz 22-03-09 03:38 PM

Re: Trackday idle banter thread.
I've noticed some track days let you on even if you have a restricted licence, but are you allowed to de-restrict it whilst on the track? I'm interested in doing one of the days in the summer but won't bother if I have to remain restricted.


Binky 22-03-09 07:05 PM

Re: Trackday idle banter thread.
Nope. I'm pretty sure you can just whip the restriction out as i'm sure i've heard of restricted folks renting track prepped 600's and the like...

chris8886 23-03-09 01:05 AM

Re: Trackday idle banter thread.

Originally Posted by TazDaz (Post 1831426)
I've noticed some track days let you on even if you have a restricted licence, but are you allowed to de-restrict it whilst on the track? I'm interested in doing one of the days in the summer but won't bother if I have to remain restricted.


i am with binky on this one. however i did my first 3 track days on a restricted licence and a restricted bike and still learnt a heck of a lot and still had a great time (despite being rather slow donw the long straights of silverstone gp circuit). you would be better suited to doing a track with no particulalry long straights and with a bit of guile you'll duff plenty a quicker bike up on the corners!

Red Herring 23-03-09 07:55 AM

Re: Trackday idle banter thread.
A general tip to getting faster safely is to work on your lines and corner speed, rather than hard braking and acceleration. If you start the first session off with very little braking and just concentrate on learning your lines so that you have a smooth entry, a nice apex point, and a smooth accelerating exit then by the end of the session you will actually be taking the apex fairly quickly and the circuit will not have any surprises for you. After that just gradually build up your acceleration out of corners, and your braking efforts going in, however your lines and apex speed should remain as before. As soon as you find you cannot hold those lines slow down, get back on line and either brake harder or earlier next lap. If you always take the same lines you won't run off the track and if you leave the demon late braking until you are a master of all else you will always be able to stop. It will also make it much easier for faster riders to pass you if you have a nice smooth predictable line.

Demonz 06-08-09 07:19 PM

Re: Trackday idle banter thread.
So experienced trackday enthusiasts - Help me plan my next track days. What are the best tracks, or is there an overall best track that stands out for you or from the rest and why?

I have only done Brands, Silverstone and Rockingham. Brands I like the best because it is simple but has the hills in it so was also interesting. I was thinking of widening the options a little and not sure where to go next. Any recommendations...?

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