I have done about 10 track days now, so it’s the perfect time to proclaim myself to be THE expert on motorcycle track riding in the whole fucking universe.
Keith Code got nothing on me.
Well actually he has, like an insane amount. After roughly 500 kms of track riding, I have just about understood the basics, why things are done the way they are done, and why so many people seem addicted to track days. Riding on a race track is probably the most fun I’ve ever had on two wheels, and the reason for that is rather obvious.
More Risk, More Fun.
Sure India is a completely fucked up country to be a biker in, and every single inch that you ride is beset with danger, but it’s not the same kind of danger that comes with track riding. On the road, the dangers are unpredictable, it could be a mad buffalo tickling its nipples in the middle of a dark tunnel, it could be a flying tree monster in the middle of an expressway, it could be a fluffy cute dog committing murder suicide by trying to lick your fuel tank at 80 kmph.
On the track, you understand all the dangers, and you don’t give a shit. If you fall on a track, you get up, kick the bike, fix what’s broken, and go again.
Being in love with track riding is like being in love with filthy diseased whores. You know they can both kill you, but all you end up doing is putting on your protection, and doing them long and hard every single chance you get.
Or as Mr. David Kretz says, No Risk, No Fun.
I don’t need to tell you that track riding is great not only for the track, but it gives you a shitload of confidence for the road too, so don’t tell me that you haven’t done a track day till date because you will never race.
Track days have nothing to do with racing.
Over the years I’ve tried different methods of trying to improve my riding. I’d read a few books, watched a few movies, and asked a few people, but nothing seemed to work. I’m not saying I was a bad rider then, what I’m saying is that I never felt in 100% control of my motorcycle at all times.
The problem with books and movies and people is that they all suck. In life, nobody can teach you anything, all they can tell you are their own personal experiences and how they sorted their own shit, your shit sorting is completely your own business, and nobody can help you with that.
So below are 2 free resources that I think are pretty brilliant to improve both your track and road riding skills, but if you just read and watch, nothing will improve. In fact, if you don’t practice what you read, things can actually go pretty wrong.
I remember one time I spent the entire night reading Keith Code, and in the morning I had forgotten how to ride a motorcycle. I was thinking so much about every little thing I was doing, that I was no longer in sync with the machine.
There are many many riding schools in India nowadays that can be broadly divided into 2 categories:
- Riding schools: Like Motovation track days based out of Hyderabad, California Superbike School and T.W.O. (Throttle Wide Open) based out of Coimbatore, riding schools are more about making you comfortable with your bike, rather than shaving off those two-tenths of a second off your laptimes. The basic aim here is to remove the everyday distractions of our roads, and provide a safe and fun environment to really see what you and your bike are capable of.
- Racing schools: Like Apex Racing and R.A.C.R. (Rajini Academy of Competitive Racing), these schools are focused more on the competitive side of things rather than just good ol’ fun. Generally, racing schools are meant more for the already advanced-level riders who want to go from 95% to 99%.
The distinction between riding school and racing school is rather fuzzy, so pick whatever is cheap to begin with. It doesn’t matter if you want or don’t want to go racing, either school should be fun. The basic principles involved are always the same, it’s just the level of madness that varies.
So here are some tips to improve your on and off track riding, but don’t forget to combine them with a school of your choice.
1. Keith Code: Twist of the Wrist
If you haven’t heard of it, wow, just wow. Get a pen and paper, get some popcorn, and watch.
Impressive, isn’t it? I quite like the way Keith Code looks and talks, he should probably start calling himself Sensei Code, because no one else can pull off that porno-style handlebar beard.
If you are more of a reader, you can read the whole fucking book here. It’s pretty long, and can get technical in sections, but it’s the real deal, unadulterated.
2. Bike Track Days Hub
If you are ready to forgive the giant name (damn you SEO), BikeTrackDaysHub.com is a fantastic website to help you understand each and every aspect of track riding. The dude behind the site is called Daniel Netting, and he’s like the complete opposite of Keith Code, simple, unassuming, and clean shaved. It might be fun to watch Keith give definitive answers about each and every question you can throw at him, but Dan is the kind of guy you can relate far more to.
Dan gives you options, Keith gives you orders.
I have spent many a nights post-hopping on the site, and it’s pretty fun. He recently went bat shit about suspension setups, and although I tried my best to understand why I would want to care so much about every tiny detail, I guess it’ll take me a long time to get to that level where I get that.
He also has a free ebook about actionable items to improve your track riding, but that’s useful only if you are too lazy to go through the entire site. He also has a paid ebook set, but me being the cheap cunt that I am haven’t bought that, yet.
I would like to mention again that track riding becomes fun only after you’ve gone a few times. My first 3-4 track days were about as fun as sticking your penis inside a rusty keyhole, there’s just so much old to unlearn and so much new to learn that it’s a frustrating experience at best.
Don’t give up, it gets worse before it gets better.