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.
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!