I was on the waitlist for months and they called last Friday and said there was an opening for this Tuesday on their S1000 @ VIR. How could I say no?
I've never done a trackday and I've heard so many good things about them. I won't re-regurgitate all the reviews that are already out there on the web, but just say that everything that is said is true. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I came in scared, and left confident and still cant stop smiling.
The thing I didn't read and was blown away was the format. Its 5 structured lessons in the classroom that build on each other. Each lesson you have a 20 minute track session and a coach that follows you, then leads you and then debriefs after the session. That format led to immediate improvement. The lessons were:
1. Throttle Control (No brakes, only 4th gear, and my sudden realization on how much I over-relied on the brakes)
2. Entry Point (they placed X's on the entry point, so there was no guess work with 3rd/4th gear)
3. Quick Turn (now that you know the place to turn, practicing flicking it over as quickly as possible)
4. Relax (Letting the bike do its thing once its pointed in the direction you want it to go)
5. Two Point Turn (where to point your eyes to get to the apex you want)
Obviously, I have taken other "advanced" courses thru the years such as total control and slow speed courses, but this one was amazingly organized. What an operation.
The bike itself, what is there to say? Its a beast but still easy to ride. Point, shoot. I loved it. But only on the track.
The track experience is a different world. I get it now. Everything seems slower once you've done that. I am a commuter, so ive never in my life pinned the throttle, and thats like all you do on the straights. I think I topped out in 4th gear at like 130 and there were higher level guys flying past me! It was insane and addictive. (Im sure this sounds silly to anyone who has done several trackdays before!) I wasn't comfortable leaning off yet but I'll get there.
I think overall for what Im getting (coaching, food,gear, a race bike) it beats trying to figure out how to trailer my XR1200, buy new tires, and go it alone. One guy brought his Fatbob to the track, i gave him credit. His tires were toast by the end of the day though! Many of the coaches and students were between 50 and 70. Guys that loved racing and stay in shape to continue racing late into life. This is not what I had assumed coming in!
I wish I could say this was a once in a lifetime experience..but I am planning to go back. It just makes you such a better rider. I may one day still bring the XR, just to see....