5 Things To Keep In Mind Before Your First Track School

  • Mar 3, 2024
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Attending the Royal Enfield track school taught me that there’s a lot to motorcycling while being off the bike as well…

Attending my first ever track weekend, the Royal Enfield track school was a revelation for me and I wholeheartedly said in my report that all motorcycle enthusiasts should attend at least one track school, even if not this one, at least once. But now, what if you’ve saved up the money to do the same and your first ever track day is right around the corner…and a lingering sense of nervousness and anxiety settles in your stomach? Well, fret not because here are five things you need to keep in mind to have a good track weekend: 

  1. Basic fitness goes a LONG way

If you have a couple of weeks before the actual track weekend, working a bit on your body would really help. And no, I am not asking you to go full Arnold Schwarzenegger, but just working a bit on your core, legs and flexibility for even 20-30 minutes a day will go a long way. My biggest challenge over the weekend was how tightly my 6’0 frame was hunched up, especially my lower half. So more flexibility would’ve definitely ensured I have a more enjoyable weekend. 

And even if your bike for the track weekend has less taxing ergonomics, riding around a race track at full chat over two days is physically taxing, especially given how much one moves all over the motorcycle in each lap. So being that much fitter always helps and even just a 10-15 day regime right before the track days will have a positive effect.  

  1. Choose your bike carefully 

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As extremely desirable as they are, heading out for your initial track days on a sexy Ducati Panigale V4 or a BMW S 1000 RR or a Kawasaki ZX10-R doesn’t make sense. For first timers, it doesn't get any better than the Yamaha R15 V4: the perfect mix of an incredibly capable yet forgiving motorcycle. Slightly more experienced ones might hop onto the likes of the Yamaha R3, Aprilia RS 457 or the KTM RC 390 even...and only after you feel like you’ve really exhausted them, do the middleweights or the litre class bikes come. Respecting this process and treating it like a stepping stone is very important. Hopping onto the big, 150HP+ bikes of the world will likely scare the daylights out of new riders, meaning they'll not have fun and get off the bike with a sense of fear rather than a sense of enjoyment. At the end of the day, going as fast as you can around a circuit is a scary thing so you’d rather have a bike that eases you into it rather than scare you with the sheer violence they have on offer. 

For those thinking about joining the Royal Enfield track school, yes the Continental GT 650 is a big capacity twin-cylinder bike but anyone who’s ridden bikes for a while should be able to get off it without being too scared. Yes, it’s physically taxing but if your inputs are reasonably smooth, you wouldn’t have to worry about it being scary. And just the sheer amount of torque means I didn't have to be on the boil all the time. I could be in a gear or even two higher and still have the grunt to drive out of corners, something newer track riders will appreciate. 

  1. Technique first, speed will follow 

The urge to go all out on an empty race track is understandable. Us Indians don’t get large stretches of empty roads everyday and especially with leathers on, it’s easy to get swayed into a ‘Valentino Rossi astride his Yamaha M1’ mood. And honestly, it somewhat happened to me as well. A couple of laps in, I realised I was going a bit quicker than what I should. It wasn’t a pace that was overwhelming for me, but it was quick enough that my mind could only focus on what’s ahead and forget everything about riding techniques. Anish Shetty, our trainer, also told me that I looked quite tense on the bike, which was again a byproduct of the same. 

I dropped my pace a bit and things were a lot better immediately. I could actually focus on everything around me and finally point out my markers instead of having a whiff of a sensation of something in the form of a marker just flying past me. 

  1. Learn the track 

No, I don’t mean just memorizing the track. Along with knowing the corners, I meant that one should know what is to come and hence prepare for it. All of this so that one isn’t caught off guard. For example, the curb on Kari’s back straight can be a bit tricky if you’re caught unaware, especially since you’re coming with the throttle wide open. Kari also has its fair share of bumps towards the end part of the track and again, those are something you’ll have to account for when choosing your lines. Hence knowing the track always helps, so much so that one should later be able to draw it out. At the end of our sessions, I did end up drawing a weird shape on a tissue and while my drawing skills are questionable, thankfully my figure at least had a fair bit of resemblance.   

  1. Have fun yaar! 

All the gyaan aside, you’re going to the track to have fun on your bike and that, you absolutely must have. Track riding is a physically intense sport and you don’t have to take that picture-perfect knee-down shot on your very first day.  Remind yourself to relax (say it out loud if you have to), and if you need to, slow down. While you’re at it, practice deep breathing exercises by inhaling fully through your nose, pausing a moment, and exhaling through the mouth. Most importantly, enjoy yourself. If you aren't enjoying being out on the track, you wouldn’t want to come back to it and that means you won't get better at it.

Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 Video Review

Royal Enfield Continental GT 650
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