The Track

The race track isn't a road.

There’s a saying that you “live” more in one lap of a racetrack than some people do than in their​ entire lifetime.

At the end of a day at the Philip Island track I have a sore jaw, from smiling so much.

Yes, it’s a buzz. Yes, the adrenaline is free flowing. And yes, it is dangerous and so too is sitting on your couch or cycling to work.

Certainly it’s “safer” than the road: there’s no furniture to suddenly arrest your stop and you get to set the speed limit based on the size of your “testicles” (which should of course be based only on your skill, but more on that too later). Everyone is (usually!) going in the same direction, there’s no errant texting by fellow motorists and usually no wildlife meandering across your path.

A safe, relatively speaking, environment to hone your skills, to learn without constantly reviewing your speed. Some suggest, for new track riders, that you cover your speedo with tape so you don’t look down. You need to relearn to focus 100% on the road in front of you. With mirrors removed it can be disconcerting at first not knowing what’s happened behind you but you learn.

Sitting astride your beast waiting to be released onto the track you feel your heart beat, you feel your breath, you feel anticipation, you feel an awakening. The first few laps you ensure that your tyres are up to temperature and then you start to roll on, more and more, the elation grows, the focus shifts, the connection with your steed solidifies. You are flying, soaring with your comrades, air rushing over your body, feeling, feeling alive!

Educational track/road books

A Twist of the Wrist: The Motorcycle Roadracers Handbook by Keith Code
The book that started it all, foundational material to ride on the track or road.

A Twist of the Wrist Vol. 2: The Basics of High-Performance Motorcycle Riding by Keith Code
The follow-up book that made Keith’s learning “more” accessible. Highly recommended.

Soft Science of Roadracing Motorcycles: The Technical Procedures and Workbook for Roadracing Motorcycles by Keith Code
For the “completist”, technical and more geared towards road (track) racing.

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.

Amelia Earhart