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Old 01-05-2021, 11:28 AM   #1
The Morganator
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Red face Lets discuss your 1st trackday experience.

Dave Wonders with RideSmart and i were talking on the phone last night and started talking about our thoughts on our 1st trackday. We both agreed that it was a nervous time for both of us.

We thought it would be an interesting topic to open a discussion to help others before there 1st day.

What were your feeling in anticipation of your 1st time at the track?

As for me i was extremely nervous of the unknown. Am i going to crash? Will i be too slow and laughed at? Is it safe to be out there with riders i’ve never ridden with? Will i learn anything from the instructors?

Please share your 1st time experience. What you liked or disliked. Dave would like to see all these comments to help make the experience as good as it can be.

He’s considering making a video so any feedback here will be very helpfull.
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Old 01-05-2021, 11:59 AM   #2
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I'll start. It was on a 1997 GSXR600 in 1998 TWS (Texas World Speedway). Jason Pridmore school. I struggled all day until I listened to the Instructor lol. Weighted the inside footpeg made all the difference and I was actually able to complete a turn without drifting wide. Towards the end of the day there was a $20 donation to ride on the back with Jason on his Katana. Dude shifts so smooth you cannot even feel it. But I didn't want to hold his waist so I opted to put my hands on the tank. Nearly fell off. At the end of the day I still sucked
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Old 01-05-2021, 12:28 PM   #3
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Since my first track day is only coming, I can only expose some of my fears… all the above Keith already said plus – what to wear, where to go, will I be a nuisance to more experience riders, always in someone’s way and therefore put others in danger? What to bring along? Will the weather be good? My OCD is on it
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Old 01-05-2021, 12:57 PM   #4
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First track day was at COTA last year with the MotoHouston group, 6 months after getting back on a sports bike.

Was fortunate enough to hit the track with a group of people I was familiar riding with so I didnít get nervous.

As a new rider, or first time track rider, riding with a group of people you know who are familiar with the track goes a long way for settling nerves.

I wasnít concerned about others perception of me being slow - Iím slow and know it.

My biggest concern leading up to the day was not knowing the turns and going way off my line and causing someone else to crash.

Turns 12 and 15 were the two that I was most apprehensive about each lap around the track.

12 because youíre coming into it off the back straight and entry speed plays a small factor and 15 always felt like I was leaned over breaking the entire time.
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Old 01-05-2021, 01:18 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by TexasZH2 View Post
First track day was at COTA last year with the MotoHouston group, 6 months after getting back on a sports bike.

Was fortunate enough to hit the track with a group of people I was familiar riding with so I didn’t get nervous.

As a new rider, or first time track rider, riding with a group of people you know who are familiar with the track goes a long way for settling nerves.

I wasn’t concerned about others perception of me being slow - I’m slow and know it.

My biggest concern leading up to the day was not knowing the turns and going way off my line and causing someone else to crash.

Turns 12 and 15 were the two that I was most apprehensive about each lap around the track.

12 because you’re coming into it off the back straight and entry speed plays a small factor and 15 always felt like I was leaned over breaking the entire time.
Our weekend group ride but at the track...i think most of our riders feal the same way.
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Old 01-05-2021, 01:19 PM   #6
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my first trackday was so scary for me. so this is my advice to you first timers. i had a 09 r6 a my very first bike with 1 year street riding experience. but i always knew i wanted to do trackdays that was one of my riding goals and i had a lot of buddies that were track riders. i did my first trackday at MSRH.

i remember even the round robins were to fast of a pace than i would have liked. so don't be scared to ride your own ride no matter if the corner works tell black flag you. the most important thing is your safety so ride your own ride whatever comfort level that is. plus it cost money to fix a crashed bike. dont focus to much concepts in your first trackdays but i would focus in these 3 main parts:

1. learn the track layout
this would be the very first thing you should focus on. know the turns, straights, and lines that people take. if you know these things you will be much more predictable to others. after you are comfortable in the specific track, go on to point 2 or 3.

2. body position
leaning and shifting your weight will make you better and safer riding inside the track and street. learn to ride the bike with your legs and not with your arms, know that your weight is on one foot when cornering, try not to sit on your except for the straights. learn to always look up and far ahead.

3. throttle control
put your bike on 3 or 4th gear all day and practice and focus throttle control. you will be surprised what kind of ON and OFF jerks you can get away with mid corner. but dont do that, learn smooth throttle control from instructors. but it did surprise me what kind of riding mistakes i can make during leaned over conditions. but they are mistakes and your rolling the dice. but what i am really saying is to be more relaxed and don't ride scared and stiff because you think you might highside if you shut off the throttle mid corner or any slight/small mistakes.
another good reason to put your bike in 3 gear all day long is to focus on the corners only. you are able to relax, breath and compose yourself during the straights and ready yourself for the corner sections of the track. let the fast level 1 guys past you and follow their lines during corners.
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Old 01-05-2021, 01:27 PM   #7
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I did my 1st track day with LSTD in 2002 at TWS (Texas World Speedway). This was few months after I learned to ride and got my bike. I went to CMRA race earlier that year and found out about track days. It was on 2000 SV 650. I was not really that nervous. I was in their beginner group with classroom instructions and had really good experience. I really don't remember what I learned at the time, but I know I had a blast and have been hooked on track days since then. What I remember is watching the fast group guys go around and into Turn 1 at full speed. It was incredible. I even raced with CMRA and TMGP for few seasons in the 2000s.
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Old 01-05-2021, 02:16 PM   #8
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i think and this is what i think (from what i experienced) that there are more egos flying around amongst street riders than track riders. in the track, you are there to learn, who cares and no one cares if you are the slowest one. in the track there are always people faster than you, you are there for yourself your own self development. no one is going to pay for your bike if you crash but yourself so ride your own ride, ride where you are comfortable. learn in your own pace, don't compare yourself to others, and don't worry about what other people think of you. what track people worry about the most inside the track are people safety and their property. so be humble and learn from the instructors. you will be a better rider after a few trackdays. i firmly believe that trackdays saves lives. but i also think that trackdays also make people cocky and they transfer that attitude in the streets. you should be riding the street in a fast pace manner. it should be a nice sunday easy ride in the streets. when i'm riding the streets i am trying to survive, i have nothing to prove out there. but anyway thats just my opinion. the goals should aways be you and you having fun.
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Old 01-05-2021, 02:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
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so ride your own ride, ride where you are comfortable. learn in your own pace, don't compare yourself to others, and don't worry about what other people think of you.
You know, this phrase when applied track days made me realize something:

At a track day, if you're slower than your friends, you don't need to worry about being dropped by the group and miss a turn up ahead on the route. You'll catch everybody in the paddock w/in 20 minutes regardless, every session. I wonder if that helps anyone disregard 'keeping up' and stick to the 'ride your own ride' mantra as compared to an SMR?
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Old 01-05-2021, 03:33 PM   #10
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My first track day was alone, and an 8 hour drive. I was thrilled, and stoked with nervous excitement! I asked a million questions to the guys on either side of me in the pit area where I had setup, and even shared my snacks and gatorades.

I might have been annoying at first with all the questions but even to this day (that was about 3 years ago) I still keep in touch with those guys. Compared to the street where it seems like alot of random sportbike guys can be douchey, the opposite is true on the track. Most people are really cool and supportive, even when it comes to emergency borrowing of tools, sharing an ez-up, or swapping little stories about how each corner on the track made you feel or what you did to hit that corner better.

Overall for me I think track days were probably the most fun activity I had ever done in my life. I miss it for sure, and I cant wait until I own another bike that can be put on the track.

As for takeaways most people are saying the same thing, riding on the track makes you a better, faster, safer rider. But using those skills on the street WILL eventually put you in danger. But the safest, and best street riding technique I learned from my first trackday was the concept of midcorner braking. I never had any idea of how much you could actually brake while at lean. Being on the track allowed me to practice what I think is the most important and best skill to add to a street rider's quiver. Trail braking can and will save your if you ever need it.

Other than that, trackdays are like a drug, they are addicting, thrilling, educational, and in my opinion some of the best comradery in the moto world.
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Old 01-05-2021, 05:43 PM   #11
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I met Myla in a group ride where I was the only one suit up head to toe, and when she looked at my knee pucks she asked, what track do you go to? and when I said that I have never been to a track she almost passed out
So Myla, paid for my very first track day because I could not believe her saying how easy was to go to the track.
IMO is was meant for the pros only
I never thought was that simple...
Started LV1 and even though I probably had plenty experience riding to be bumped, I stayed in LV1 and did many TD's in LV1 just to be with her.
The thing is that ever since I kind lost interest to ride streets for 2 reasons.
I could never get that fulfilled feeling that I was hoping to get and to learn something more about riding skills at the streets, and the 2nd was the amount of friends I lost during those years of street riding.
Needless to say, I caught the track bug and I met the most nicest people ever!
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Old 01-05-2021, 05:57 PM   #12
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Thank you Keith for this post. Since my first track day is just a few months away I have been asking myself the same questions. Reading what others went through the first day and what advise they can give us it really help. One of the first things I thought about, like Seawall mentioned on his reply, was about learning the track. I did reached out to some instructors a couple of months back and was able to get a map of MSRH.
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Old 01-05-2021, 06:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Thank you Keith for this post. Since my first track day is just a few months away I have been asking myself the same questions. Reading what others went through the first day and what advise they can give us it really help. One of the first things I thought about, like Seawall mentioned on his reply, was about learning the track. I did reached out to some instructors a couple of months back and was able to get a map of MSRH.
Your welcome to follow me when you go. We treat it like a street group ride.
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Old 01-05-2021, 07:42 PM   #14
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Hey Keith!

I'm guessing Dave isn't telling people about all the videos I've made for the Beyond the Track that talk about a lot of that stuff...

Here's one where I documented everything I've researched for my first track day, what I did wrong, etc.

There are over 41 hours of videos available here: https://www.beyondthetrack.net/meeting_videos

There's a ton of content there, from preparation for the first track day to ramping up to intermediate and advanced levels, using action cameras, making the most of working with instructors, you name it.

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Old 01-05-2021, 07:44 PM   #15
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Thank you Keith for this post. Since my first track day is just a few months away I have been asking myself the same questions. Reading what others went through the first day and what advise they can give us it really help. One of the first things I thought about, like Seawall mentioned on his reply, was about learning the track. I did reached out to some instructors a couple of months back and was able to get a map of MSRH.
My number 1 mistake on my 1st track day was not to study the track prior to the event. I've made a video a while ago to help out other riders with that:

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Old 01-05-2021, 08:11 PM   #16
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Yeah! I love this videos. Thank you Claudio! Following you.
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Old 01-05-2021, 09:44 PM   #17
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Yeah! I love this videos. Thank you Claudio! Following you.
You're welcome! Feel free to ask whatever questions you may have. And welcome to the addiction.
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Old 01-06-2021, 08:12 AM   #18
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Hey Keith!

I'm guessing Dave isn't telling people about all the videos I've made for the Beyond the Track that talk about a lot of that stuff...


Claudio
Dave is doing this to promote his organization, which is totally understandable. It's a business so he needs to keep it relevant and fill the spots at his track days. You got a good thing going there too, maybe you could work with him on some content for mutual benefit.
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Old 01-06-2021, 09:37 AM   #19
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I was a wacky blend of excited and nervous. I was riding a liter bike that I was still financing. I had watched a bunch of videos of the track, which helped get the layout sorted in my head, but also led to seeing lots of crash videos on the same track I would be whipping around. Im not saying it was a deterrent, but it made me a little more nervous. I think nervous was good for me, though, so I wouldnt go out there thinking I was Nicky Hayden. Kept me humble, kept me ready and open to listening to the instructors and taking instruction.
I was not fast, and despite my best intentions, I just couldnt get to the point of really trusting my tires. Still an issue I have today. I lean and lean then chicken out because Im convinced Im about to wash out.
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Old 01-06-2021, 10:07 AM   #20
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If anyone wants to see what "Thrown into the fire" looks like, here are a few laps from my very first trackday.

I'm the guy in black being filmed. Most on track were either what we would call level 2 all the way up to a few FAST CMRA racers.

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