So, you have signed up to a motorcycle track day. It’s going to be awesome. But it won’t be if you forget the essentials, or the extras that can make the day go as smoothly as possible.
Here’s our motorcycle track day checklist:
- Driving licence – very few track managers will let you take to the track without a valid bike licence these days due to insurance liabilities. It also seems like a pretty logical rule.
- Completed paperwork – make sure you’ve read, completed and signed any necessary paperwork distributed to you from the track day organisers prior to turning up. And, if you’re riding to the track, make sure you put your paperwork in a waterproof folder.
- Tools and lubricants – Do you have your tools for adjusting or replacing all you might want to on your track day? Ratchets, spanners, screwdrivers and allen (hex) keys? Or what about adjusting your chain? A Chain Monkey will set your chain to the correct tension, first time, every time, helping you to get optimum power delivery and a safe, smooth ride. Make sure you’ve got some high-performance lubricant that can deal with the intense riding your bike will experience on a track day.
- Sound – have you checked to see if the track has a noise limit? Most will allow you to attend the track prior to the day to have a sound check done on your bike, but you’ll usually still have to take the test again on the morning of the day. Aftermarket cans without the baffle in are bound to fail, to prepare for this and think about fitting a stock pipe to be safe.
- Leathers –nearly all track days require you to wear a one-piece leather suit or a two piece that is connected by a secure zip. Make sure you check the requirement. A waterproof onesie could be a good addition if it looks to be a rainy day.
- Helmet – it seems obvious, but if you’re travelling to the track in a van and you left your helmet inside to dry off from a ride a few days back, you can see how easily you could leave it at home while you’re thinking of the small details.
- Boots – have you got appropriate boots for riding on a track? Touring boots may not be suitable.
- Gloves – again, are these suitable? Thick winter gloves might keep you nice and warm, but do they have a decent amount of protection? There bulk can be restrictive and potentially reduce how much control you feel between the brake and the throttle. If you haven’t worn a pair of race gloves before, try it. They are quite refreshing.
- Petrol – top up your tank before starting the day and check whether more fuel will be available at the track. If not, take some extra fuel in a safe container, but don’t take it on your bike.
- Track research – how well do you know the track? It’s worth looking at the map and finding out if you will be riding a specific variation of it. Watching videos on YouTube or playing the track on a realistic PlayStation or Xbox game might help you to learn the track.
- Food and drink – track days are exhausting. Your mind is working a million miles per hour and your body’s fitness levels will certainly be tested. Ensure you have cash to buy food and drink at the track, if its available, or take plenty or energy-filled consumables with you.
- Clothing – consider bringing a change of clothes, especially if the weather looks like it could rain. Chances are, you’ll be hot and sweaty anyway, so it’s worth bringing some spare clothes along.
- Insurance – track day insurance is something to think about. Many people do not realise that their general motorcycle insurance will not cover them for track days. Yes, insurance is expensive. This is probably why many people opt to buy a cheaper bike to thrash around a track, rather than use their pride and joy.Most of the track day’s I’ve been to are filled with people riding their own bike without track day insurance, and they ride accordingly, particularly in the novice groups. You’ll rarely find anyone in the advanced riders groups riding the latest super sports bike.
- Camera – depending on the track, some will let you film your laps with a GoPro or similar.
Finally, enjoy it! You’ll have a great time, you’ll be hooked and you’ll have spent all your money before summer is out.