Originally Posted by Hunter84
I'm a newbie and I'd love to do a track day to improve my skills and make myself a safer rider but a few things are holding me back:
1) I don't know what my % chance is of crashing (do most riders go down or only a few that push it too far?)
2) Though I have sliders on my bike I really don't want to damage it or have to deal with replacing plastics.
3) I have mix-matched ***** for tyres (Maxxis and Dunlop) which sux in general but going to a track on those is out of the question.
Firstly, congrats on wanting to do track days, You'll love them!
Most People don't crash! If they did, there's no way the companies that run track days could keep running. Keep in mind that most people who do crash , do so in the first or last session. The first, because tyres are still cold, the track is still cold, there still may be some dust/dirt around, etc. The last because they're tired. Riding on the track does take effort and concentration, both of which will tire you out. By the same token, If you don't feel 100%, dont ride, or back off a bit! If you make 2 mistakes in a session, Have a break, take some deep breaths, think about what you're doing, before you go and do it again.
Ride within your limits. and right now you don't know what they are! I'd been riding for a long time before I did my first track day, and I knew I was a good rider, but I didn't know how fast I'd be on the track. Start in the slow group! If you're too quick for that, you can move up next session. Don't worry about lap times for the first few days, get used to riding smoothly with others some faster and some slower than yourself.
Ride within your limits, and the limits of the bike. I did a track day on a GSX750F with a ****ty sports-tourer tyre on the front. I rode all day no probs, but I wasn't going that fast. Last session, I dropped 3 seconds off my best time, and was sliding the front through most corners. Scared the crap outta me! and I was lucky not to have dropped the bike, which would've just taken the fun right out of the day!
Be considerate! If you want to race, buy a race bike and join a race club. The guys I race with do lots of ride days for practice. We usually go in the slow group for 2 reasons. 1. our bikes are smaller and slower than most peoples road bikes! 2. For us the aim is to get corners right, so that's easier to do when the other riders are predictable. But we have to keep in mind that we're sharing the track with people who have paid thier money to get out and ride, not to be carved up by a pack of racers!
I'm constantly amazed at comments by road riders who think they won't have any fun on a track unless they can do somewhere under Valentino's laptimes. You don't have to push 100% to enjoy yourself! (Can I get an AMEN!, people??)
You WILL have fun (say it with me... YOU WILL HAVE FUN!!), just getting out there. If you don't believe me, Go to a track day, not to ride, but to watch. Hang around the pits, talk to people, listen to the breifings. You don't have to be there all day, just watch a few first timers, and talk to them when they come in after their first session! A. You'll know a bit more about what goes on, whats required, etc, and B. you'll see that most track day riders are not practice racers, just out to get better!
I'd be interested to hear your feedback after you do your fist track day. If I'm wrong about any or all of the above, I'll be suprised!