The thrill of the track
If you have a friend who has attended a track day, then you definitely have heard about how great it is. It’s safer than riding on the street, it’s more thrilling than even the most twisty of roads, and your riding skills improve exponentially. It can also get expensive very quickly.
Getting around the high initial cost
Buying a racing suit, gauntlet-style gloves, and a good set of full height boots can cost $800 and up (way up). A track day ticket ranges from $150 to $275 depending on the track and the day. Then there are additional costs such as fuel, food, and various supplies for comfort such as a chair, a cooler, and a fan. There are also a lot of misconceptions about expensive equipment your bike needs in order to be track-worthy. However, there are several ways to get to the track for cheap.
While you’re waiting for a suit in your size to come up on craigslist or your local racing organization classifieds (links at the end), just rent one. Feel Like a Pro rents suits, boots, and gloves at the track for less than a tenth of what you’d pay for new.
At a minimum, you’ll want some snacks, water, masking tape, and basic tools. If you have the room, I’d add a folding chair. If you’re trailering your bike or have a support car, add a cooler, fan, canopy, more tools, extension cords, and at least two towels (keep one in the cooler if it’s hot out).
Your bike doesn’t need any special equipment to hit the track. You can drive your bike to the track, get it prepped, enjoy your track day, get it back to street-legal, and drive home. You can find a list of steps for prepping your bike on the track day provider’s website. Your bike needs to be in good mechanical condition with all fluids topped off. Most importantly, make sure there are no lose parts or leaks. When you get to the track, pull the headlight fuse, disconnect all tail lights, and tape over all lights, signals, and mirrors. Tech inspection then double-checks you and you’re good to go
It’s unlikely that you’ll crash, but sometimes it can be out of your control. If you have an especially expensive bike, or absolutely can’t risk it, then Feel Like a Pro also rents fully-prepped motorcycles.
Some track day providers have special discounts and promotions. Check each provider’s website and Facebook page often to see the current offers and schedule (more links at the end). Check forums for anyone selling their ticket last-minute for cheap.
Fun Track Dayz has a special program for first-time track attendees. For $45, you get two twenty-minute sessions. For the first session, you’ll follow an instructor in a small group. You’ll get one-on-one instruction for the second session, with follow-up meetings after both sessions. If you want to keep riding, just pay for the rest of the ticket! It’s a great way to check it out before committing to a full day.
Between the ticket and suit rental a track day can be tried out for around $100, or about $200 for a full day, though I’d set aside an extra $50 for unexpected costs. And I promise you it is worth every penny. Even if you’re not interested in seeing how fast your bike can go and dragging your knee around corners, the amount of skill you’ll develop from a track day is massive.
Pick a group that suits your riding skill, and don’t let your ego cloud your judgement. It’s best to start off in a slower group and bump up when you get fast enough.
Be sure to have fun! Think of it as a group ride with your buddies, and focus on skill development. Utilize the free instruction offered if there’s something you want to work on. If it’s an event that I’m attending, come see me for free morning Yoga that will get you properly warmed up, stretched, and ready for the track. See my events section for a schedule and details.
Race organization’s classifieds (not a comprehensive list)
CCS (login required)