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Discussion Starter #1
I really enjoy riding my bike on the road. But, I'm not much for testing my limits on the road. So, I'm thinking about hitting the track next spring. I have an idea what I need to do to the bike. My question is what does everyone spend on track days? Fees, tires, fuel, etc. And, has anyone decided that with the money they are spending on track days, that they could go racing? I'm kind of interested in club racing. I've raced karts and MX in the past and the racing bug is biting again!!!
 

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The cost of a track day varies with many factors: the particular course you want to ride, the trackday company itself and of course, the time of year. I recommend www.trackoholics.com This year they're new to it all but look to expanding into doing days at other venues next season. Check it out they do a great job, especially for the newbies.
 

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Racing is expensive!!! For a trackday all to need is to safety wire your bike, tape up the lights, and change your coolent(no anitfreeze). Fees are around $115+ For your tires, a good set of street compound will work just fine, for your first couple of times. Race tires would work better, but why waste your money on a set of race tires when you don't know if you would even like riding on the track. Some trackday venders to check out are: www.trackoholics.com www.curvechasers.com www.desmoindiana.org I would not recomend Sportbike Track Time...their events are way over crowded and cost alot more!!!
 

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Start out with trackdays first. You will get by far more track time with a track day then on a race day. It also allows you to see where you are at, and figure out what you need to do to race. You can run good street tires at first. After that you can usually pick up a set of DOT track tires for under $300 USD. Track days around here (Mid-west) run roughly $250-$300 USD for a two day weekend. A little over half that for one day. You can easily run pump gas, or racing gas if the extra money is worth a pony or two to you. For one track day I usually go through about 6 to 8 gallons of gas (@$1.80 pump gas, $4.50 race gas). Your best bet is to fill up the bike and have a 5-gallon gas can full that you take with you. Avoid buying gas at the track because it usually cost a lot more (like $5/gallon for regular pump gas). Doing track days is absolutely the smartest thing you could ever do on a motorcycle even if you have no desire to race. It is guaranteed to make you a better street rider. And, hopefully makes you feel like you don’t need to be a racer on the street because you can save it for the track.
 

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Sorry Wizz, but I have to disagree about Sportbiketracktime on some points. They are not anymore expensive then any of the other trackday organizations, and usually have their events on weekends, so people don't have to take weekdays off. As far as way over crowded I don't know how many people usually show up for your events, but they have limits on the group sizes. I know STT is your competition, but they do have a well-run organization.
 

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Originally posted by RacerX1

Sorry Wizz, but I have to disagree about Sportbiketracktime on some points. They are not anymore expensive then any of the other trackday organizations, and usually have their events on weekends, so people don't have to take weekdays off. As far as way over crowded I don't know how many people usually show up for your events, but they have limits on the group sizes. I know STT is your competition, but they do have a well-run organization.
Competition is good...I just wouldn't recommend them(STT)...that's why I put up www.curvechasers.com www.desmoindiana.org these guys offer smaller group sizes and weekend dates.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I probably wouldn't think about racing until the year after next. I'm planning on getting track gear over the winter. I'd like to get a second set of plastics just for the track in the event of a crash. Hopefully next year I'll have enough experience to see what I can do on the track!
 

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Mr. Wizz, I must disagree with some of your generalizations. I wonder if you refer to race practice with formal amateur orgs, e.g. WMRRA, AFM, WSMC, OMRRA? Race practices require race bikes and membership (or reciprocity) with the local club, AFAIK.

Less formal “track days,” in contrast, vary more than the day is long. Those touted as “schools” usually require and cost more. “Track days” seldom offer formal instruction.

Fees seem to vary at different U.S. West, NW, and SW tracks (e.g. Pacific Raceways, Portland International, Sears Point, Laguna Seca, Willow Springs), and significantly between events at the same track. For example, Pridmore’s CLASS at Pacific Raceways (near Seattle) is about $345 for a day of riding, with lectures, lunch, and plenty of instructors. dP Safety School, a little less. Adrenaline Freaks, roughly $200. And the dealership-sponsored day I just did yesterday: $100 for a full day of riding. Each offers a different experience. I believe you get what you pay for.

None of the above require safety wiring or coolant change-out, though neither are “bad” ideas by any means. All but one require a tech inspection prior to riding. All require taped lights and signals. At least one checks tires for sufficient tread and sends guys home if they don’t have it. Check the rules before arriving.

I’ve seen guys go on the track wearing jeans, leather jackets, and boots (plus full-face helmet and gloves), and rubber I’d not waste on the proverbial broke-dyck dog. While not recommended, some track events allow it. I’m not proud of the first track day I ever did wearing similar attire, in 1993, but “live and learn.” Point being it’s possible if budget constraints dictate less-than-optimal attire. Tires are another story, however.

At the opposite end you’ll find guys with race-ready bikes, slicks, number plates, and full leathers. Eventually it becomes self-evident not to ride anything you aren’t willing to crash. Sometimes it takes a crash or two to puzzle this out, however.

Years ago I ran a few track days on street-sport rubber. No more: sooner or later, you’ll outride it. There may or may not be warning when this occurs. I watched a young man on a silver ’03 ZX-6R yesterday outride Metzeler Sportec M1 tires. I’m on the same bike, my black ’03, with Pirelli SuperCorsa front and Rennsport rear. This young man’s about five seconds per lap faster than me, and I’m not slow. The M1 is a great tire, but he outrode it and damn near highsided at least twice when the rear unloaded on the gas. In contrast, I had no issues all day due to my lower pace and stickier tires.

Do not skimp on rubber: if you’re ‘A’ Group, buy race tires. ‘B’ and ‘C’ Groups, new “aggressive street/track day” tires like the Pirelli Diablo, Meteler M1, and Bridgestone BT012SS might be the ticket. I feel strongly about this.

Other than track fees, typical costs include:

1. Transport

If you don’t have a truck, you’ll need to buddy up with friends who do or rent your own truck/trailer. Depending on distance, transport fees can vary from ‘free’ to several hundred dollars.

2. Gear

What’s your skin worth? Full leathers are a solid investment. Decent suits go for as low as $500 these days. Add boots, helmet, gloves. $2,000 isn’t unreasonable. You’ll use it all again, regardless, though things do wear out eventually.

3. Tires

See above.

4. Fuel and other consumables

I burn five to eight gallons at most track days, using high-octane pump gas in my ZX. Drinks and snacks are a great idea. Perhaps build a storage crate with things like chain lube, Plexus, a quart of oil, paper towels, etc. for track days.

5. Equipment: bike-related

Race bodywork’s not a bad idea, but for some the expense isn’t feasible. Frame sliders seem to be a mixed bag, and are another story entirely. You’ll put wear and tear on the motorcycle by running the crap out of it all day long, which is harder to quantify.

6. Time

Vacation time has a soft-dollar cost. Call in sick that day, if possible!

7. Health Insurance

I’d never do a track day without health insurance. Stuff happens and you might need it. My pal’s severe ankle injury cost two surgeries, a month in a wheelchair, crutches, and about $60,000 in medical bills. Fortunately, he’s fully covered. Bet he’ll wear Daytona Safety boots next time, though.


Good luck, hope that helps.
 

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Mr. Moderator:

I wish I had pics from the recent track day, but alas: 1) I gave my digital camera to my dad for his birthday late June 2) my lamer friends failed to arrive for the track day to take pictures of me 3) the pukey green and black race bodywork on my otherwise attractive black '03 does not mix well with my black/white/silver Kushi leathers! I'm sanding and painting the bodywork. I can no longer stand it.

Pics next time, perhaps.

-=DRB=-
 
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