Track days are an addiction, once you do one you will keep going back for more. It is a common joke among those of us who know and when we recruit our friends to sign up for their first track day, we try to warn them of what they are getting in for.
My first track day, was actually a two day novice school, August 20 and 21 of 2006. I had owned a street bike for a little over 2 years, but with limited time riding, maybe a total of about 4000 miles. I really just didn’t ride that much on the street; Jason and I were racing dirt bikes on the weekends and I was working out of town and had long freeway commutes during the week. Riding the bike to work was fun at first, but then grew boring as the freeway was straight and the scenery along I-5 from Sacramento to Modesto is mostly feedlots and flat farm land. Instead of riding more, I opted for the comfort of my cage vehicle, with heated seats and a stereo to help pass the time.
Z2’s novice school was a great experience, I was given one-on one track instruction, plus classroom lectures between each track session. The track was divided in half and we worked on it in sections, we had drills with cones and learned all about reference points and proper use of the brakes, and body positioning. After the first day, I knew I had much to learn and I was hooked. When Jason came to pick me up after the second day I asked him if we could sign up for the next Z2 track day at Reno-Fernley Raceway (RFR) two weeks later.
The funny thing, was at the time, Jason didn’t have a bike that he could take to the track. Hello….. Craig’s List, Jason quickly found a used CBR600 which he bought so we could make it to the RFR track day. By November of 2006 we had each purchased race ready SV650’s and signed up for the NewRacersSchool at the end of that month. Fully Addicted!
Fast forward, it is April 12, 2009 and the beginning of my 3rd season of road racing with the AFM. More importantly, my 3rd year of having a season pass with Z2, which is our access to ride every Z2 track day for the year, typically over 20 track days. Did I mention… its addicting?
Racing is fun because I like competition and I like tangible measurements of my progress and success. Track days are fun because I like riding. I enjoy being on the track and playing with my friends, passing and giving little waves and being passed back. No pressure, just pure fun. Everyone has their something that makes them smile and enjoy being alive. Actually I have a few “somethings” but track days are at the top of my list.
Yesterday was one of those days that put a big smile on my face. I could have been caught laughing out loud in my helmet several times in the day. It was a wonderful spring day at Infineon Raceway; blue sky, butterflies, the rolling green hills with a few sheep that had been on the track last night, just making their way over the crest and disappearing from view.
In my pit area the bikes were lined up in front of the truck and trailer; Ricky Ford, Blaise Camp, Greg McCullough, my bike, then Jason, and Dave Zavatson. Jeff Frost, Jon Foreman, and Greg Sahnd in the adjacent pit areas and my female racing friends, Cassie Gaddy and Christie Cooley joining me on the track for some fun. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my Easter Sunday, I was surrounded by good friends and celebrating life in the best way I know how.
One of the three well-known California road racing clubs; AFM offers a place where you can participate in races, watch as a spectator, or even take part as a turn-worker on the course. There are competition classes for almost all motorcycles; you can race what you own, build a bike specifically for racing, or maybe even pick up a pre-set-up bike through member want ads. Competing in expert club racing can be used to qualify for a pro racing license. Explore the website for further information.
Women race with the men?
Yes, races are structured by bike size. Women race in the same classes as men that have the same sized bike. However, there is a growing interest among women in racing , so many racing clubs have added a women’s class to encourage the ladies to give it a try.
Formed in 2001, SMUSA is now the premier Pro/Am supermoto series in the country. Many of the well known American road racers such as Bobby Fong, Joey Pascarella, Cameron Beaubier, Elena Myers, Tyler O'Hara, Garrett Willis and others all competed in Supermoto USA's Nor Cal Championship where they developed their skills.
PC Dirt Track in Sacramento, Ca holds a series of the oldest and most traditional type of motorcycle racing, flat track - sometimes referred to as “dirt track” racing. A uniquely American type of motorcycle racing. Riders finesse their machines sideways through the turns, just inches apart from each other.
Since 1924, the AMA has protected the future of motorcycling and promoted the motorcycle lifestyle. AMA members come from all walks of life, and they navigate many different routes on their journey to the same destination: freedom on two wheels. The AMA sanctions more motorsports competition and motorcycle recreational events than any other organization in the world. No one who has ever seen an AMA Pro motorcycle race ever forgets it.