On the other hand, once on an open road motorbikes are capable of breath-taking speeds and cornering, which is why tracks days are becoming more and more popular with biking enthusiasts every year.
Furthermore, with a wide variety of destinations around the world which offer great experiences for bikers, there is no need to limit your passion to the UK.
Whether you’re combining a track day with your holiday, or travelling specifically for the experience, you need to make sure you have properly planned the trip to avoid any mishaps or disasters. Below we have listed some top tips for anyone planning to partake in just such a trip;
Choosing a destination
Our top five destinations include;
- Aragon – Spain
- Le Mans – France
- Cartegena – Spain
- Portimao – Portugal
- Jerez – Spain
Before you pay any money, fully research the company you are booking the experience through; to make sure they are licensed and reputable.
Check your bike
A couple of weeks before the planned event or holiday, make sure your bike is in good working order by giving it a thorough check over – especially if it is not your day-to-day ride.
• Be sure to check your brake pads have enough wear in them, and that your callipers move cleanly.
• Double check your brake fluid and ensure it hasn’t become thin (remember that brake fluid absorbs moisture over time and should be changed every two years ideally.) If topping up yourself, be careful not to spill any as it is very corrosive to paintwork!
• Check your oil levels (and coolant, if applicable), and top these up before you go. If your chosen steed has the tendency to burn oil, pack a small amount with you for the journey just in case.
• Make sure your suspension is set up correctly and that your seals are not weeping. Soft or saggy suspension is bearable on the open road but can quickly bottom out under the loads that accelerating and braking can create on a race track. At best this will make you slower; at worst it could cause you to have an accident.
• Check your chain for wear and ensure it has correct tension. A slack or worn chain will skip and cause you problems during fast gear changes on a track, and could mean disaster if a worn chain snaps.
• Lastly, check your tyres. It may seem obvious, but make sure you do not have any splits or objects in your tyres like nails. Check your tread depth and ensure your tyre has enough wear left in it for the entire trip – if it is low now, will it have enough tread to get you home?
• The extreme temperature build up from time spent on track can cause a tyre designed for the roads to deteriorate quickly. If you plan on spending a lot of time racing you may do well to factor in the expense of purchasing a new set for the return journey. On the other hand, you could invest in a set of sports tyres for the track day, which could make the experience more enjoyable. The route you go down depends on how much time and money you want to spend on your holiday and equipment.
• Make sure you know what your bike’s tyre pressure should be. Tyre pressure is very important when it comes to grip, and you should be aware that your tyre pressure will increase as it gets warmer, and especially from the temperatures generated at high speed. You can usually find tyre pressure tables for each model of tyre on the respective brand’s website, or from your local dealership.
If in any doubt on how to complete any of these checks, hire a professional to check for you.
If you’re renting a bike, make sure you have separate insurance in place to protect you against damage and personal liability costs.
When you arrive at the circuit, you will need to register your attendance and officially sign up. To do this you will most likely need both the card and paper parts of your driving licence, and the completed application form (usually an indemnity document). Before you book check that your licence does not need renewing, and that you have the paper part to hand.
The other vital bit of paper work you will need is travel insurance. Many bikers take great lengths to ensure that their bike is protected whilst driving abroad and on a track, however it is just as important to protect yourself and your trip against holiday disaster. Specialist motorcycle travel insurance should provide cover for all of your motorcycle apparel, plus any fees occurred from cancellation, delays, rental delays, and medical emergencies.
Holidaysafe.co.uk offers a motorcycle policy which has been created by bikers especially for motorcycle enthusiasts, which means that everything listed above is included, plus track days abroad as standard for no extra cost.
Keep yourself fuelled
On the day it will be extremely important that you keep yourself energised and hydrated. Riding at speed all day can be physically demanding, so to make sure your energy levels don’t drop, you could think about bringing some food and drink along with you. Some energy drinks and snacks will help to prevent tiredness, which can be extremely dangerous.
The night before the big day you should make sure that you get a decent amount of sleep. Try to arrive at your accommodation at a decent time, to allow you to have dinner and relax before retiring to rest.
Take it slow…at first
On the day you will usually be taken round the circuit two or three times with a professional guide before the experience really begins. This is your opportunity to learn the lines without anyone overtaking or racing past, to make sure that you aren’t caught off guard by any tight bends.
However, this does not mean that you should begin the first race like a pro, and especially not if this is your first track day. Take the first few laps to warm up, and to figure out how far you can or should push yourself and the bike. This should ensure you have a long and successful day.
Even if you’ve been racing around the circuit all weekend and know it like the back of your hand, remember that at the beginning of each new session your tyres will be cold, and will need to get up to temperature again. You may be able to take that corner at 60mph normally, but on cold tyres you will not have the correct grip or tyre pressure, and will be unable to make the manoeuvre at the same speed as bikes with warmer tyres.
Crossing the finish line
Before you depart for the trip, it might be beneficial to make a list of anything you’re packing, and also any modifications you intend to make to the bike (e.g. tyre pressure, sports tyres etc.). When you’re packing up after the long day, this should ensure that you don’t forget anything, and that you return your bike to road standards. Always make sure you fill the tank up before you head home.
Visit www.Holidaysafe.co.uk for more information on affordable and specialist Motorcycle Travel Insurance
Author Bio: Amber Howard is the Brand Manager of Online Travel Insurance provider Holidaysafe.co.uk. She is a travel enthusiast who loves writing about all things ‘travel’, from industry news to top destinations. Visit Holidaysafe.co.uk for information on affordable and specialist Motorcycle Travel Insurance.