I guess the best way to start this blog is with a simple “Welcome to my latest adventure.” After what feels like a lifetime of riding on the streets, in 2016 I am heading to the racetrack in search of an outlet that can satisfy a desire for speed and the accompanying adrenaline rush. It promises to be an exciting season, but as I found out right away, challenges are waiting around every corner.
It seems that with every project I work on there are always certain milestones, including the one that can only be described as the “What in the world made me think this was a good idea” moment. Shortly after deciding to expand my riding to include track days and road racing, that point arrived with striking clarity.
In theory my plan was anchored on a sound decision that some may even call “mature” or “prudent.” However, it turns out that there is a lot more involved with avoiding the speeding tickets and potential danger that awaited me if I continued to push the limits of riding on the street, than simply going to the track. As I contacted a few of the subject matter experts I have been fortunate to meet during my tenure at Inside Motorcycles, the questions and options that they laid out for me were more involved than anticipated. Do you want to stick to track days, or do you want to try road racing? Do you want your track bike to also be street legal? Do you have the right gear? Which tracks do you intend to go to? How will you transport your bike? Not only was the list seemingly endless, but every decision also led to a whole new set of decisions that needed to be made. As much as it would be easy to defer some of them, the reality is that the track season in Canada is short and time spent wallowing in indecision will ultimately eat away at the opportunities to ride.
Ignoring decisions and failing to do your homework can have even worse repercussions. Unless you are fortunate enough to live beside a racetrack, heading out for a track day or a race is going to involve loading up your motorcycle, all of your gear and an assortment of tools. Once you finally get to the track, do you really want to find out that your gear doesn’t meet the safety standards or that your motorcycle isn’t allowed? For experienced racers and track day riders, all of this is second nature, but for a newbie, there is no substitute for research and preparation.
Over the next few months, this blog will document the highs and lows of my experience as I work towards the goal of participating in multiple track days, attending a race school and hopefully competing in a couple of races. Along the way I will try to share some of the issues as they come up and how they were handled. As someone who is more comfortable with a camera than a wrench, it is safe to assume that I won’t be offering advice on how to set up a motorcycle to compete in a CSBK race, but if you are interested in a first-hand experience of the racetrack from a unique perspective, stay tuned. It promises to be fun.
- Patrick Lambie