This day had been a long time coming. I’m sure that a lot of you riders out there can relate.
Taking a sportbike to the track sounds like such an easy and obvious thing to do if you own such a machine. When I bought my first sportbike over eight years ago, a 2004 Suzuki GSX-R 600, I figured I’d be at the track within the year. Then life happens, years pass, and you realize that you still haven’t yet realized such a seemingly simple dream.
However, getting out to the track can seem like a daunting undertaking when you start breaking down the prep-work that is required.
The first thing you need to do is find a track. Depending on where you live, this might be in your backyard. Or, if you live in a desert of motorsports that go both left and right such as Kansas City, you might find the closest track is at least 3 hours away.
Getting your bike to the track is also another hurdle to be overcome. Some people will simply ride their bike there, but this can prove to be a bad choice should you end having mechanical troubles - or worse – going down on the track. So, realistically, you’ll need to transport it up there. A truck, or a car with a hitch and a trailer, are your best bets here. Renting a truck or trailer is always an option but it does require some planning.
Next, you must secure all of the riding gear you’ll need. Typically, tracks require a leather racing suit, boots, gauntlet gloves, and a newer SNELL approved helmet. Obviously, these items can cost many dollars. Over the course of my 8 years of not going to the track, I picked these items up and was able to spread out the cost. If you’re lucky, you can rent some of the bigger-ticket items from the track day organizer. This will you save some money on that first time out.
Preparing your bike for the track can also prove to me more involved than it appears on the surface. Typically you’ll need fresh fluids throughout and have newer track-rated tires. You’ll need to tape, remove, and disconnect various items on the bike.
These are just some of the logistical concerns when attempting a track day. This is why it took me so long to finally get out there. When you are on a budget, both financially and time-wise, it is no easy undertaking.
What I can tell you is that it was worth it, and that I will be doing it again soon. Riding sportbikes on the street can be fun, but it pales in comparison to the experience you can have with them out on the track.