Trackdays require a certain level of dedication if you hope to get the most out of the handful of sessions you get on any given event. For that reason we have put together a list of essential items that will not only make your time on track more entertaining but these items will also help make you more efficient while preparing your bike and gear during the downtime. Remember, these are the things we have found that make our day run smoothly so use this list as a base to build from and, most of all, remember to be safe and have fun.
As any tire technician will tell you, the key to getting the most of your tires is minimizing how many heat cycles they are put through. By keeping your tires on warmers between sessions it keeps them warm and tacky from the first lap and will help them last longer if you plan to use them for multiple trackdays. Not everyone shreds a complete set of tires in six sessions on a track.
Pay close attention to which stands you choose. Some simply slot under the back of the swingarm while others require you install spools on both sides. Others can be used either way. Front stands typically lift from the bottom of your fork but others will insert into the bottom of the triple clamp. I like the bottom-of-the-fork style because it is easier to manipulate with one person.
Yamaha and Honda both make excellent generators that are more than capable of running a pair of tire warmers. Make sure to bring an extension cord and even a power strip to help you get the job done right.
Everyone is bound to go down. So bring spare gear including gloves, boots, helmet, even a second suit, just in case you get knocked down. Make sure the bike can keep rolling too by bringing spare levers, footpegs, handlebars, even a set of spare take-off tires (what if you get a flat?), duct tape, oil, etc. Spares can be the difference between losing your entire day or just a few sessions.
A good metric tool kit can be had for under $50 from any hardware store, or you can slowly piece together quality tools as your finances allow it. Beyond that bring the specialty tools like Motion Pro hex head wrenches, brand-specific tools your bike requires, or anything else you might need to make minor changes, replace bent stuff, or even adjust your suspension if you have the wherewithal to make it happen. Last but not least, everyone should include a tire-pressure gauge and air supply. Having the ability to adjust and set tire pressure is one of the easiest and most important elements you can attend to while riding at the track.
Plexus has long been the industry standard when it comes to cleaning these little buggers off your visor and your bike. Paper towels are an acceptable option, but a good chamois-quality cloth is even better. They are less abrasive to your $100 helmet visor.
Now we are all aware of the merits of tape that doesn’t leave behind a bunch of sticky glue all over our beloved bikes.
Make sure to keep an ice chest full of water on hand at all times. I’ve been using a Pelican cooler lately on my rafting trips and they are tough, durable, and keep stuff cold for days on end. Nothing beats a few gulps of high-quality H2O after winning your first A-group session of the year, so don’t leave home without it.
Plop down in your favorite lawn chair and grab a cold bottle of water while you watch the other groups on track.
The most popular option is the venerable GoPro but there are many other compact cameras on the market these days. The Hero Session is fast becoming our camera of choice because it is so small and easy to stick in weird places so you can get new, unique angles for your footage. One thing we have learned over the years is that the more options you have to mount your camera, the better your videos will be.
By no means is this this the definitive guide to a trackday, but it is intended to give you some ideas on how to make your trackday go smoother. We will continue to offer up tips and ideas on what exactly you can bring in the spares kit, how to prep your bike, and other useful tidbits in the next few weeks. Until then, ride safe and have fun.