I've had number of contacts through the FAQ asking for our opinion of trackdays. What follows is essentially the results of asking that question on the list. There's no real structure just a few opinions on the pros and cons. If you want more info on trackdays, Russell Brown looks after a trackdays FAQ where you'll find lots more stuff on the ins and outs of trackdays.
David Hall wrote:
I found Ixion@cadwell98, excellent. Very enjoyable. I was able to explore my motorbikes (GPZ500S) performance in a environment that is as safe as it practically possible. What did surprise me was how it slowed my road riding down. After going round a track the poor condition of public roads, on-coming traffic, and roadside furniture, are much more worrying than they were before. Now I'm much more likely to wait for trackdays to give my bike a good thrashing than doing it on public roads. I'm looking forward to doing it again.
Ben Lovejoy reckons:
Think of your favourite biking road. Make it one-way, so you don't have to concern yourself with oncoming traffic. Get rid of all the junctions, so nothing can pull out in front of you. Clear up all the loose crud on the road surface. Fill in all the pot-holes. Zap all those nasty hard objects you could hit if you failed to make a bend. Remove all four-wheeled vehicles. Add a bunch of fellow riders to keep you company. Have a system of alerting you to any hazards beyond your vision. Oh, and abolish all speed limits.
What do you have? You have a track-day!
Track-days are when race-tracks let ordinary riders come and play on them for a day on their own bikes. The cost is around £60-90. To this, you'll need to add the cost of a day off work (track-days take place in the week, the circuits being used for racing at the weekends) and allow for substantial tyre and brake-pad usage! My new rear tyre and front brake-pads were both about half-used by the end of my two days on the track. What do you get in return? The most fun you have EVER had on your bike! There's no describing the feeling you get when most of the hazards you're used to dealing with simply don't exist: it's just you, your bike, the track and some fellow riders. All of which is a long-winded way of saying: do it! :-)
Patrick Kelly wrote:
I've seen Ben's reply to this & it sums it up pretty concisely. The only other thing I'd mention is that sports bikes have now advanced to the point that it is now virtually impossible to really explore their capabilities on the road without ending up banned or dead. In my experience, it also serves to 'get it out of my system', and consequently I don't feel the need to go for it so much on the open road.
My opinion was making itself clear when I posted:
What about the downsides? There must be some or are they all a product of my fevered imagination? (it's not racing but.., bent bikes, power mad marshalls etc etc..)
JayGee (Jonathon Green) responded with:
Bent bikes are always a possibility, but I reckon that the chances myself and my bike surviving half a dozen 20 minute Ixion@cadwell sessions are rather better than if I did the same number of miles on some bits of road I can think of. You hear the odd tale of carnage, but I reckon that the trick is to pick your track day carefully, my preference being to go for owners club, or social group run days like ixion@cadwell, or the ILOC days I've done rather than free for all days. People do seem to show a little more respect for each other when they're going to have to meet each other over a pint, or at a christmas dinner, or whatever on a regular basis and may be called to account to their peers for their actions. Marshalls are OK, although they _do_ get paid for being there, they usually get into marshalling because they're into cars, bikes, and motorsports. Some of the more "senior" officials however....
However the worse that Ben could come up with (when pushed) was:
Long queues for lunch ...
The tea served at Cadwell was pretty awful
And Sol came up with:
Initially everything is positive .. eventually it all starts to go 'orribly wrong!
1. Costs ...
2. Wear on the bike
3. The realization that eventually you will drop your bike!
4. The desire for more corner speed!