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First Posted - 7th July 2004. Reposted - 6th July 2011


Opinion: Ten Trackday Commandments

It's the Festival of 1000 Bikes this weekend and Beezumph 20 is looming, so here's one from the archives: Martin Gelder presents ten top tips for having a terrific time on track...

1) Thou shalt check thine bike over first
Suspension and tyres as well as the engine.
Check out frame bearings and bushes while you're at it. Clean visor, lucky rabbit's foot, fresh underwear (you never know).

2) Thou shalt look where thou art going
Look through the bend towards where you want to go, don't stare at the ground in front of the front wheel.
Don't worry about what's happening behind you.
If someone falls off in front of you, don't stare at them, you'll hit them.

Looking where he wants to go, not where the bike is pointed.

3) Thou shalt ride at thine own speed
You won't be the fastest person out there, and you won't be the slowest.
You won't have the fastest bike, and you won't have the slowest.
Use the first lap to warm your tyres up every time you go out.

4) Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's Paul Smart Replica
Or at the very least, not follow it into a bend too fast. He might be much, much faster than you and you won't find out until it's too late.

It's the rider that makes the bike fast, and not vice-versa.

5) Thou shalt not apex too early
In slow, out fast.
If you apex too late, fine. If you apex too early, you'll run off the edge of the track on the way out.

6) Thou shalt have an escape plan for each bend
If it all goes pear shaped, try and make it round anyway: you might be surprised at what your bike and tyres are capable of.
Failing that, aim for the grass or the gravel; you go where you are looking, so don't stare in horror at trees or tyre walls.

Stare at the tyre wall and that's where you'll end up.

7) Thou shalt inspecteth thine bike after every session
Any new oil leaks appeared? Brake cables okay? Nothing rattling loose?
You'll probably have been riding much harder than you do on the road, so give the old girl a bit of attention. She deserves it.

8) Thou shalt relax and stay loose
Don't tense up - this is meant to be fun.
Don't mangle the bars in a death grip. Relax your shoulders, move about the seat. Remember to breathe.

A Mike Hailwood 'in line with the bike' style, or just rigid with fear?

9) Thou shalt not eat too much at lunchtime
But make sure you drink plenty all day.

10) Thou shalt go home when thou getest knackered
Give up while you're ahead.
Stop while you're having fun, know your limits.

Have I missed anything?

Looks like he's having fun. Which is the whole point...

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