Stories

Have You Signed Up For a Track Day Yet?

Those of us who live in or around New England have recently seen a surprising and fantastic increase in track opportunities — when once upon a time our only real option was NHMS in Loudon, NH, we now have Palmer Motorsports Park in MA, Thompson Motor Speedway in CT and if we want to travel a little farther, New York Safety Track. There are rumors of some motorcycle track days opening up at Lime Rock Park, too, so keep an eye on that!

You may be thinking, I don’t have a sport bike, why would I pay any attention to track days?

Dear reader, you haven’t lived until you’ve whacked open the throttle on your daily rider on a track. As Tony’s Track Day stickers say, “No cops, no cars, no limits!”

It’s not just about going fast. It’s about learning to control your machine through a variety of twists and turns, where you know there won’t be any sand, or police patrols, or left-turning SUVs in your path.

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I rode one of Tony’s Non-Sportbike Track Days (on my Super Tenere) and I had a seriously fantastic time — not just from the thrill of going faster than I’d ever dare to on the street, but from the feeling after the track day of knowing my motorcycle so much better.

Track days will make you a better rider. You don’t need a sport bike to participate.

From Ed Conde, the guru who is behind the New England Riders group, are some clues that you will very much benefit from signing up for a track day. Can you identify with more than two of these?

1) I like sweepers much more than twisties
2) The Cherohala is much better than the Dragon. The Dragon is too much work!
3) I have bad days riding and can not figure out why.
4) I sometimes go wide in turns and the only way that I know how to fix it is to go slow.
5) I sometimes have a line of cars backed up behind me. They are always so impatient!
6) I have a hard time visualizing the best line through a curve.
7) I sit upright on my bike and do not know how to lean with my bike to conserve lean angle and make steering easier.
8) I take longer to brake than I should.
9) I have trouble forcefully and consciously countersteering my bike in tighter turns.
10) I do not really know how to trail brake.
11) I am afraid to downshift when slowing from road speeds. My upshifts are also not smooth.
12) I am not sure what I should be doing with the throttle in a turn.

It’s always easier to go with people you know, and a track day buddy is the best. Are you a New Englander? Want to know more about track days? Ask away!

6 Comments

  1. OK, you’ve convinced me. Once the next paycheck hits, I’m signing up for the non-sportbike track day at Palmer. I drove there two days last year, so despite the limited runoff I’m comfortable there, and can focus on improving my skills rather than where I’m supposed to be going.

    I wonder if I’ll be the first person crazy enough to take a PC800 on the track?

  2. I’m seriously considering it, too. Aug 22nd would be my first track day that didn’t consist of a bunch of cones in an old airfield.

    I’d love to bring either bike. The little bike is probably better suited for track days, but Bike Blue is the bike I probably need more seat time in.

  3. Signed up for this as day well! Really excited and looking forward to this, as it’ll be my first time on a track in any vehicle (not including ice-racing a couple decades ago). Just bought new gloves and tires. Hoping to get new pants in time but if not my armored jeans will have to do.

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