Track Days – What Do You Need?

Track Days

Hello and welcome to Alex’s Blog

So you’ve got yourself a lovely sparkly bike and a yearning to give it a good run out at insane speeds without the worry of getting a hefty fine or a driving ban…..so you get yourself a track day! Yay!

So, you have the bike. Check. What else do you need?

Firstly, the best piece of advice I can give after years of experience working here is to check with the track. I know it sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t, or how many people who have been on a track day at another circuit make the mistake of presuming all rules are the same.

They aren’t. For example, some tracks are very strict on race leathers. Only one-piece leathers are permitted, whereas others will allow two-piece leathers that zip together. Always check. You don’t want to turn up and get yourself all ready to go only to be turfed out!

Obviously with this in mind here is a pretty comprehensive list of what you will need for your track day:

Kit wise you will need the following:

An ACU Gold approved motorcycle helmet
In order for all motorcycle helmets to be legal on UK roads they must be ECE22-05 approved (which is a European safety standard…..this may change after Brexit but for now this is the road legal certification).

All full face motorcycle helmetsDo not confuse this with the ACU Gold homologation. As you can see on the picture on the right the clue is in the name.

The sticker is gold and each helmet that has one of these stickers has been tested and deemed safe for tarmac and track. If you have never heard of this sticker then don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it may seem because many of our full-face helmets come with these stickers. If you check your helmet you may find you already have one.

If you are thinking of getting a new helmet and going on Track days, then definitely make sure you buy one that is ACU Gold approved. All helmets must always also fasten correctly and safely and be fastened whilst out on the track at all times.

Leather suit
All leather motorcycle suits
You can’t go down to a track day in your jeans and trainers. You have to wear a leather suit. Some tracks are fine with two-piece leather suits that are zipped together with a full 360 degree zip, and some are stricter and will only allow one-piece leathers.

Gloves
All motorcycle glovesDon’t forget your gloves. Again, you want to make sure they have lots of protection and a lot of people prefer a bit of perforation for a track day as it can get hot and sweaty having lots of fun on the bike! Look out for good palm sliders and knuckle protection. A wrist strap as well as a forearm strap will also help prevent the glove from coming off should the worst happen. Your winter textile gloves will not cut it.

Boots
All motorcycle sports bootsAgain, this may seem obvious but just remember that you will be hitting higher speeds than on the road and you want to make sure you’re fully protected. Definitely opt for boots with added protection and again, lots of race boots have perforation to make you more comfortable. Some tracks also insist on toe sliders on boots so make sure you have some if that is the case! An ankle boot is not sufficient for a track day, even if it is a motorcycle specific boot. You need a full boot. Some race boots have strutted supports up the sides, but this is obviously for you and your budget to decide.

Back Protector
All motorcycle body armourThis is compulsory on some tracks but in my opinion, it is definitely something you need regardless of track rules. The benefits of a back protector are a whole other blog in themselves but here at J&S Accessories we recommend a back protector at all times – for road use to track use. A literal life saver. This doesn’t have to cost the earth and could be the cheapest kit you buy.

Base layers
All motorcycle baselayersThis isn’t an essential and is definitely not compulsory, but this will make your time a hell of a lot comfier! Leathers can tend to get a bit sticky so a sports base layer underneath to regulate your temperature will make your time on your bike a lot more enjoyable and a lot less sweaty! It will stop you sticking to your leathers and allow you to move without restriction.

Your bike
Motorcycle Track Riders

With regards to your bike then, again, always check with your race circuit as lots of tracks won’t have a motorcycle with an engine smaller than 300cc (125cc race bike) and all bikes must be track worthy condition (final decision machine suitability will be at the discretion of the circuit staff).

So, what does track worthy mean? Again, this is all dependent on each track, but you will want to make sure of these points:

    1. Electrical
      The battery must be secured by a suitable strap or fixing whilst the motorcycle wiring should be adequately bound and clear of obstruction. Lights should be taped so that in the event of them breaking, they do not shatter on the circuit. This again, isn’t compulsory but is a good idea for your peace of mind.

 

    1. Steering and suspension
      You want to check the condition of fork tubes and springs etc. for any signs of corrosion, pitting or wear. Gaiters, rubbers and seals retaining grease or oil should be in good condition as leaking units may in extreme cases leave oil on the circuit.

 

    1. Tyres, wheels and brakes
      Check your tyres for correct pressure for circuit use. We sell tyre pressure gauges at J&S. Tyres should have a minimum of 3mm tread depth for use on the circuit and the general condition of the carcass should be checked. Wheels should be correctly fitted and adequately torqued, and wheel bearings checked for wear. Wheels should also be checked for cracks. Brakes should have a good firm feel. Any inefficiencies in their performance will be magnified at speed. Joints should be checked for any leakage as well as checks to seals and callipers. All the above, if not checked and if faulty at all could be extremely dangerous, especially at high speeds!

 

    1. Engine and fuel system
      Your engine should be in good order and not leak any fluids. Hoses and gaskets should be in good working order and secured and fixed in place. Carburettors and fuel systems should have good quality return springs fitted. Cables and linkages should be checked for lubrication and smooth operation. Your fuel cap should be firmly in place and not be missing or not secured. Check all your fluid levels and oil. Bear in mind that an MOT certificate isn’t necessary proof for a track day and if you are unsure if your bike is ready it may be worth getting a professional to have a quick look to make sure your bike is fit for the day.

 

    1. Insurance
      It may be worth thinking about making sure you have extra track day insurance for your bike. This, should the worst happen, could prove to be a wise investment. Also, if you are using your road bike on the track (for those without the luxury of the lucky devils with track bikes!) make sure you check your insurance for that as well.

 

  1. Noise limits
    Each track has noise limits, again some more stringent than the other. If your bike is a noisy one, it may be worth fitting a baffle for your session. Check with your circuit. You may be turned away with no refund given if your bike exceeds the noise level for your chosen track day circuit.

Just remember that although this is a day to fully embrace and enjoy, you will be riding at higher speeds than normal and you want to make sure that you are not only safely dressed for the occasion, you want your bike to be as safe as possible for you and any other track user.

If you want any more information check out this video:


Until next time, stay safe,

Alex