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Addicted to two wheels
2,615 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Are you doing a track day?

Going to a Track Day? 12 Common Rookie mistakes and how to avoid them.- Whether you're doing a Mission Wcss track day or one of Nancy's Pitt Meadows track days this will help you out.

1. LACK OF PREPARATION: Be familiar with the rules and procedures of a specific track day, school or organization. Most have a website or even a handout sheet as you come in the gates but you should have a pretty good understanding about the day before you get there. You can also read posts on forums (BCSPORTBIKES or WMRC.ca) and if you have any questions don’t be afraid to ask or even call.

2. FORGETTING SOMETHING: Make a list and check it. Have you ever noticed that people in high risk jobs are big on Check lists. Check lists help overlooking things and make sure you do the same thing every time no matter what else is going on. When I took my pilot license I had a pre-flight, taxi/ pre take off and landing list. In a moment of emergency or some sort of excitement things would always be done the same way. I use lists for track days now as well. Ask how many racers have got to the track without gloves, fuel or even a bike key. You’ll find you’ll be adding things to your list until you get it just right for you.

3. SCRAMBLING AROUND TO PREPARE YOUR MOTORCYCLE THE MORNING BEFORE THE EVENT: Prepare you bike in advance unless you are riding to the track. Make sure you know what the tech requirements are and follow them. If you skip ANYTHING, don’t expect to pass tech inspection. Doing this in advance will allow you to focus on the event and other tasks. Always remember- Tech says no….you don’t go.

4. PRE TRACK DAY PARTYING: Get a good meal and a good nights’ sleep. Your track day experience will be physically and mentally demanding. Avoid alcohol the night before as it will not only affect your sleep but rob you of water (hydration) you’ll need for the next day.

5. LATE ARRIVAL: Simple…..get there early. Not only will you get a better pit spot but you’ll feel more relaxed knowing you have extra time. When a day starts off hectic and rushed, odds are it will never recover. You will be faced with many new experiences upon arrival and you will not know the routine, so it will take you longer for each procedure than a rider who’s done this many times. DO NOT BE EMARRASSED to actually say “This is my first time doing this, can you help me?” We all had a first time and 99% of track day riders and staff will actually go out of their way to help you. However, they won’t know to do so if you don’t tell them or ask for help.

6. FAILURE TO PAY ATTENTION DURING THE RIDERS’ MEETING: Arrive at the riders’ meeting early. You will want to see and hear everything the event organizer or track marshal does. This is important to your safety and the safety of others. Many of us know what to do when we see a red flag or a waving yellow flag …..do you? Pay particular attention to the entry and exit track procedures. If you have a question, put up your hand and ask. Chances are someone has the exact same question and is also afraid to ask. Second guessing a procedure at 220km/hr can get you in trouble fast.

7. I DON’T NEED ANY INSTRUCTION: Never ever pass up an opportunity to learn. If the opportunity arises to take a course, school or a one on one with an instructor or racer…..Take it and invest in yourself. Ask plenty of questions and leave your ego at home. If you’re not asking questions, you’re not taking full advantage of your learning experience.

8. TALKING TRASH: Trash talkers are usually the riders who jump in over their heads and crash. Again, leave the ego at home. No matter how fast you think you are there is always going to be a rider out there that will blow your doors off. Resist the temptation to boast and get competition from your friends. Nothing good can come of it and it only distracts you from your primary goal.

9. TRYING TO GO TOO FAST TOO SOON: Read this- NO ONE HAS EVER FINISHED A TRACK DAY ON THE PODIUM. The only way to win at a track day is to leave at the end of the day, tired as hell, with your bike and gear in good shape and a ton of good memories. Don’t feel pressure to go fast. PERIOD! Take it easy and ease into the on-track sessions. You have all day and it is more physically demanding than you will anticipate. Learn the lines, pay attention to where you should be braking and increase your speed incrementally. No one is going to be impressed if you try to go fast, ride poor and crash your brains out. No one will criticize you for riding within your limits, learn something and have a great track experience. Most will tell you that the riders who learn to do things slowly and correctly enjoy this sport the most- and save money on damaging equipment.

10. OBSESSION WITH DRAGGING A KNEE: Dragging a knee is something that in and of itself is NOT a goal. If you obsess over it, you’ll probably end up doing many things incorrectly just to get the knee down. It is the result of doing several parts of the cornering process right. Some very fast riders barely drag a knee at all and some do it more frequently and almost drag elbows. Dragging a knee will just happen- along with the stupid grin on your face- when you nail your corner entry, apex and body position. Don’t force it.

11. WORRYING HOW YOU MEASURE UP: Don’t worry about anyone other than yourself. This is not a race! The goal of a track day is to improve your skills and enjoy the experience.

12. FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE: Share your experience with instructors during the day. If you don’t understand something in a session ask question before your next session so you can work on them while things are fresh in your mind. Also, let them know at the end of the day how things were and how they are doing. This feedback is important. In the long run both you and the organizations will get better. Now, get out there and ENJOY!
Race Day/ Track Day list

Here's the list I use for a Typical race day. Ask ANY racer and they can easily pick off 5 things they've forgot to bring to the track. Adapt it to your needs. Some will add to it others will take items off. Feel free to add anything I may have forgotten or bring.

Track Day List

• Bike
• Fuel (For bikes and for generator)
• Belly Pan
• Stand (front and Back)
• Tire Warmers
• Tire gauge
• Air Pig
• Key (For Bike)
• Duct Tape
• Tools
• Fire Extinguisher
• Spare parts bin (Rearsets-clipons-windscreens-pegs-sliders-levers-etc)
• Tires and/or wheels
• Riding Gear (Suit-Back Protector-helmet-gloves-boots-ear plugs- spare shields-clean dry socks-t-shirts-rain Gear)
• Water (to drink)
• Bike fluids (Oil, Water Wetter, Water)
• Latex or Rubber Gloves
• Generator + Extension cords
• Flash light or LED flash light or Pen light
• Safety wire
• Safety wire pliers
• Carpet for pit area
• Number for the front of your Pit (New for this year- every pit must show their race number so the crash truck and race officials to easily find you)
• Folding Table
• Db Comm (With a fresh battery)
• Lap Timer (With a fresh battery)
• Brake Pads
• Spare hardware (nuts, bolts, dzus clips, washers)
• Folding chairs
• Chain lube/ cable lube
• Camera or video camera
• Medical sheet and Emergency contacts
• FOOD (Snacks, lunch, veggies, stuff to nibble on)
• Fan (To cool rider and dry gear)
• Cooler with ice
• Stop watch
• Notebook and pen

Twin A
8,019 Posts
Nice work Bernie. For those that don't know Bernie is an long time rider, racer and an instructor at the WMRC school this Important advice for all.. For me.. One lesson I learned the hard way Is the remembering the bike key part, You only have to forget that once and it will forever be on your mind trust me :) and I'm still trying to learn the don't party the night before lesson.

3,410 Posts
Thanks. Great list. Yeah, #2 on Track Day list, really important. Sucks running out of fuel in the middle of the session. Pushing the bike back to the pits, even worse. Ask me how I know :(

Would it be ok if I share this in few places, as it would be beneficial for sure.

1,610 Posts
Couple of points I'd like to add and I don't think Bernie or the boys will mind, always drag your front brake on the out lap to build some heat up, and be considerate to others on the track. In each group regardless of what it is there will always be slower riders and nothing bothers me more than faster riders dive bombing these riders. There is no reason in the world to stuff a track day rider in any corner, for any reason or to pass them within inches on any part of the track. It's the passing riders duty to make a clean pass so don't ruin someone's day by pretending you're in a BSB battle with Shakey Byrnes on the last lap, nothing worse than waiting for bike pickup or having an instructor or a fellow rider point out a bonehead move. And stay away from sugary drinks, leave the Red Bull/Monster Energy crap at home with the Vodka, drink water or Gatorade. And If you think that's a silly point to raise watch Spero at the track to see what he drinks. Lastly, when you're prepping your bike look at it like a tech inspector, if you see something dodgy then a real tech inspector will find it. Seen it happen more than once where a rider has gear that shouldn't be in a Cosplay convention and they're trying to take it on track then they get upset when they're told it's not really acceptable. Or another one I see each time is chains that are so loose you wonder how they still have teeth on the sprockets. Not one member of WMRC or any other track day provider is there to not let you on the track, but make their jobs easier by being prepared the second you get to the venue, like your gear is better than good, bike is ready to roll and the rider has left his/her ego at home. Ride safe, and always remember to breathe. On every straight make it a point to breathe and this one move will improve your riding like you won't believe.

Team Modern Racing
1,032 Posts
That's awesome Bernie & Ted!!
I can't wait to get on my GSX-R 600!!

Here's some advice on motorcycle prep:

- Clean motorcycle.

- Proper fluid levels with no leaks.

- Good brakes that have been bled recently with adequate brake pad thickness.

- Good tires with adequate tread life and air pressures set to tire manufacturer suggested pressures for racetrack use (check with track tire vendor if needed).

- Proper amount of chain slack (check owner’s manual - a little loose is better than a little tight). Master link secure. A touch of paint on master link so that the Tech Inspector can find it quickly.

- Smooth operating throttle that snaps back in all handlebar positions – all aftermarket throttle devices must be removed.

- Smooth operating suspension (having sag set and damping tuned is highly recommended). Talk to Aaron at Modern Motorcycling if you would like to book me to set up your suspension.

- Clutch cable not frayed and has proper amount of slack.

- All nuts, bolts and fasteners tightened to manufacturer specifications.

- No sharp edges (bar ends, levers, sliders, fasteners, etc).

- Taped up headlights, brake lights, turn signals, mirrors (or removed), speedometer (only speedometer) & passenger pegs. License plate removed. (All done at the track in the morning if the motorcycle is being ridden to the event).

- 88dB sound limit at Mission Raceway Park, Pitt Meadows & Greg Moore Raceway.

- Proof of ownership / registration.

416 Posts
Yup, awesome thread! #10 is a really common one... Poor lines and slow speeds, but getting that knee down! It's all about the photo that you show your buddies the next day....

H2O Turbo Fitness
91 Posts
Amazing thread, Bernie!:+1:

1,041 Posts
Great list, Bernie. I especially liked #8. While waiting for my turn at tech, the only other girl at the event told me she was going to kick my butt. She then proceeded to tear into me for unknown reasons. I hope her broken collar bone is better now.
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