For motorcycle enthusiasts it would seem there are stages that we all develop through: first learning to ride on two wheels, later adding a clutch, front and rear brake, maybe some counter steering, and then off to enjoying the open road. For many motorcyclists, the street is plenty exhilarating and the nature of exploration is enough to keep riders entertained for a millennia. However, for others, the speed, handling and versatility builds the attraction, and these things you simply cannot utilize safely on public roads. I have ridden for several years, enjoy following road racing in my free time, and work at a company that caters to the needs of track enthusiasts. It’s only natural that the track would draw my interest and it has for years past. Being a full time student, I previously didn’t have the time or resources to pursue my interest in participating in track days or races, but it seems that on this faithful weekend the stars would align and I would finally have the opportunity to pursue a dream I had since starting college.
Planning for the weekend started with one seemingly major mishap —my motorcycle could not be secured in the Sportbiketrackgear.com trailer. I didn’t have the correct Pit Bull restraint pins, which forced Van to graciously allow me the opportunity to take the newly built, unridden M4 Exhaust Sportbiketrackgear.com GSXR 600 on her maiden voyage around Grattan Raceway. I would now call this problem a fortunate mishap. At 4:30 am, I rolled out of bed and into my Jeep and headed out to meet up with Brian and his son Max for what appeared to be a very wet and gloomy track day. Heading over, the water began to give way while the sun remained hidden, but I was still confident that the weather would clear and my first track day would be one to remember. The journey to Grattan is roughly 2 hours from the metro Detroit area we left behind; however confident I was that I would not bin his brand new 2015 project bike, much of that time was spent with me vowing to and convincing myself (and Brian) that it wouldn’t happen. We arrived at the track right around 8:00am with just enough time for Brian to magically maneuver the SUV and 30 foot trailer into a spot large enough for a Mini and get the motorcycle prepped and inspected before the morning riders meeting. After the meeting, the Novice group that I would be riding with was assembled for a breakdown of how the day would play out. The professional and friendly environment of Sportbike Track Time was impressive and I knew almost immediately that if I followed their system, I would be on the track riding comfortably in no time at all. I was paired from the beginning with an STT staff member named Paul who was an insanely helpful source of information and encouragement. The first session was spent becoming familiar with the track (and for me, the brand new motorcycle) and this was done in a way that allowed me to get comfortable not only riding in a performance oriented environment, but also being surrounded by others in a similar situation. As the day continued, the weather improved and I made strides in riding that I did not expect from
one day on the track and all of this happened in a comfortable and controlled environment that made asking questions and focusing on learning extremely simple.
The help that I received throughout the day allowed me to place a greater amount of evaluation and attention on my riding. By the end of the day, I was certainly still a novice, but the overall experience worked effectively to get me hooked on the track. The SST Trackday for me was eye opening as the atmosphere is so friendly and focused that any rider of any skill level would have no issue being comfortable at an STT event. As we headed back to the metro area, I pondered the strides I had made that day and all of the new people I had encountered, and it occurred to me that in my experience, the race track stands out in my mind as one of the best motorcycling experiences I have ever encountered. Every single participant comes with an accepting and enthusiastic mindset that allows each individual to have a fun and enriching track experience.
P.S. Part of the reason my time was so enjoyable is the great instruction I received with Sportbike Track Time. Make sure if you are considering heading to the track soon you check out this awesome organization at their website: https://www.sportbiketracktime.com/