I’ve never been a track junkie, never really saw the point either. Although I’ve always enjoyed MotoGP, I’ve been quite content with touring to far off places, rather than trying to see how fast I can go around a track.
Things changed in 2014, when I attended the KTM Track Day at Buddh International Circut, India’s only Formula 1 track. I rode all the way from Mumbai to have some fun on that blacktop, and it couldn’t have been a bigger disaster.
The trainer that I got looked like more of an off-roading guy than a track one. Add to that the fact that my group was full of Jaat dicks from all over North, and I was fucked before it started. I wanted to get the hell out of there after Session 1, but stayed on for the rest 2 sessions just to see how bad it could get.
I was proud that I scraped my footpegs.
Since mid-2015, my love for touring has drastically gone down, I no longer find that contentment in riding like an ass for 15 hours a day. Every time you plant that bum on your bike, you are taking a risk, and that risk has to have some reward, otherwise all you doing is suicide. That reward in long-distance touring no longer exists for me.
But there’s the problem, Hyderabad is a fucked up place to be a biker in, the worst in India. You have nothing around to ride to, no ghats, nothing exotic. All you have are anal boring highways in every possible direction, with royal asswads occupying them 24×7. Which is why Motovation Track Days has been such a life saver for me.
Yes, it’s a Go Kart track, but not the ordinary kind. In every place that I’ve karted at, the track is that slippery-concrete kind that’s no good for anything on 2 wheels. The Chicane Circuit at Leonia Resort is different in the sense that it’s asphalt, and the track is much bigger than any other Go Kart track that I’ve been to.
Just above a kilometer long, this tiny track will surprise you. You have every different kind of turn that you can imagine, with some really tricky sections. You rarely ever go straight, always hanging off to a side, waiting for the next transition. Even when you do go straight, it’s not too quick, I’ve maxed some 110 kmph I think.
And that’s why it’s a beginner’s paradise.
When I went to Buddh Circuit, I was so busy shitting my pants I had no time to think about lines or body positioning or throttle control or braking or lean angle or corner entry or exit or the location of my butt-crack. Here, everything slows down, it’s hard to be scared, and easy to be focused.
With a Duke 390, you are always in 2nd gear, apart from the home and back straights, which means one less thing to worry about. All that happens if you fall is that you get back after 15 minutes, to fall again. I’ve never used the rear brake in the 5 odd times I’ve done the track day, so there goes another annoying little bitch.
The trickery with track riding is that it’s not as easy as your brain imagines it to be. The first time I went to a track, I expected to be extremely comfortable, because there were no cows or dogs or jaywalkers or potholes or speedbreakers or dead bodies around. What happened in reality is that rather than riding around smiling inside my helmet, I pushed myself harder and harder, since there were no cows or dogs or jaywalkers or potholes or speedbreakers or dead bodies around.
It’s funny how quickly your mindset changes when there are a bunch of assholes speeding behind you.
The Motovation crew involves many different people taking care of many different things. My first trainer was Mihir, who made me understand that I’d never even used 10% of my 390’s capacity, which was perfect as far as touring went, but nothing much else. Nikhil and Anoop have been trying their best to get my knee down since the start, which finally did happen last time after some 350 odd laps.
I’ve taken tips from Jason and that dude I only know as Biker Jesus, have followed random strangers and learned from them. In my experience, training can only do so much as far as track riding goes, you have to sort the shit out for yourself, make mistakes and understand, find the limit and then stay there.
But here’s where Motovation is different, they teach by example. The trainers may follow you, or lead you, watching you, pushing you, but most of the time they’ll be just pushing themselves, and you learn by watching them. Theory is nearly useless in riding, but watching someone do it does the trick.
It’s not a riding school, it’s a bunch of friends having some fun.
Something new happens everytime, either slalom or figure-8 drills, or exclusive track days, or the upcoming dirt track day. I have missed only a few of the track days that have ever been organised by Motovation, but there’s still a lot to learn.
But the best part is, I don’t really care if I’m learning much or not, because I’m having so much fun. Track riding has been a completely new experience for me, not having to worry about the constant mind fuck that are our public roads have made me far more confident in my riding, which means that I’m better prepared for the constant mind fuck that are our public roads.
Fear is a useful thing, but too much of it is a huge problem. If you are constantly scared of shoving yourself down a truck’s behind, you are quite likely to do just that. Of course overconfidence is also a problem, but I would prefer to be slightly on the over-confident side than the other one, simply because of how relaxed you are.
Should you do it?
Fuck yeah! Not only is track tonnes of fun, it’s a completely different kind of riding. No matter how much you love motorcycles, sooner or later you’ll get bored, bored of doing the same shit again and again. It’s only when you try these different shades of one color do you truly appreciate the brilliance of two wheels.
There are some people who feel that tracks are for rich motherfuckers with H2s and R1s who blow their snot in 1000 rupee notes, and they couldn’t be more wrong. Track riding has nothing to do with what bike you have, and everything to do with how insane you want to go with it. Come to the next Motovation event, and see RX100s fighting with Pulsar 150s fighting with Continental GTs fighting with RC390s fighting with Daytonas.
But if there’s one reason I would suggest you do at least one track day, it would be so that you can actually understand how difficult it is, and appreciate what Rossi and Marquez and Lorenzo and Pedrosa do for a living, rather than troll them for one stupid incident.
I should warn you though, your first track day will most likely suck donkey balls. Circuit riding is not an immediately rewarding experience, it takes time and effort to build up the fun. So don’t give up after you eat dust that first time.
What can be improved?
Over the last few months I’ve given the Motovation people lots of feedback, and all of it has been implemented. What still could be improved is more rider feedback, especially through photos and videos. It’s surprising how difficult it is to see yourself on a bike, you imagine yourself doing 56.8 degree leans, when to the dude behind you, you look like an erect penis.
The track needs some work too, as it has developed some potholes over the months! The owners have filled them up with cement, which isn’t really a great idea. Sure it’s fun to put your rear tire on the cement patch, throttle and slide out, but it’s fucking scary the first few times, especially when you lose the front.
And that’s pretty much it! After practicing on this smaller track, I feel much more confident about taking Kari or MMSC or BIC, all of which should happen soon. Once I’m done with this shit, it’s straight to Moto3 and beyond.
Hold on Rossi, give me 3 years, 5 tops, and I’ll come and fuck with Marquez so you can wheelie straight to that championship.