VMCC Track Days
Track Days Debunking the Myth and Highlighting the Facts
Trackdays emerged in the 1980s, prior to that the only hope of riding a motorcycle on a race track was to be part of a small group of mainly amateur riders, who wanted to race and pitch their machines and themselves against each other….. the two main drivers being to go fast and beat the opposition. There was also the secret hope and ambition that you may just be fast and good enough to progress to be a professional rider in a works team and possibly be world champion!I will, in my mature years, admit that I had that dream and I was going to replace Geoff Duke, which shows my age, but fortunately I quickly realised this was only a very far-fetched dream.
Back in the 80s, forward-thinking circuit owners and motorcyclists at large recognised the lure of the track was something that people wanted to engage in. There was also a demand from racers to find a place to run and bed in their new specials they had just completed and also learn some of their local track’s idiosyncrasies without being in a pack of fellow racers.
The awakening had occurred and there was a demand. Unfortunately the image of a trackday soon developed of being somewhere you could exploit your desire for a fast lap among fellow wanna-be racers. People with more sensible dispositions were put off as they clearly did not want to be on what they feared was a race track, rather than a day on a race track.
The track owners quickly realised that for the business to develop they had to ensure that what they were offering was well regulated and controlled, so it would offer the fun element and challenge of being on a race track, whilst being safe and as risk free as possible.
The organisation and safety rules for trackdays quickly evolved to what we have today with opportunities at most tracks around the country.
Trackdays are not about racing, in fact anyone deemed to be racing will be removed from the track for the rest of the day. They are about riding on a circuit at a speed that you are comfortable with whilst in control of your bike. It is an opportunity to explore your bike’s complete performance in a safe environment with a limited number of similar bikes on track with you – usually in a group of similar machines and / or rider experience.
There are an increasing number of organisations who put on bespoke events, Classic Bike Trackdays (www.classicbiketrackdays.com) being one which put on events specifically for classic bikes and their owners.
It is preferable that you ride with bikes of a similar age and size as your own simply because new more powerful machines will have higher optimum handling capability, speed and braking performance. It is also important to ride in groups with similar rider expertise, ie: being in a novice group is where riders new to either the track or riding on a track start to get their experience.
Taking to the track for the first time is going to be a little scary and intimidating with quite a lot happening which you haven’t experienced before. We have all had to go through this once but as soon as one’s nerves have settled it soon becomes a satisfying thrill to be on track. Sessions are usually 20 minutes, and experience has shown that this really is an optimum time within the mental and physical capacity of a novice rider. In fact the first time out you may return to the paddock early just as you would if you are taking on any new physical challenge.
So you’ve booked your place on the trackday.The first thing will be to read and understand all the information provided ahead of the event about the trackday itself, bike prep, clothing etc.On the day you’ll sign on and attend a safety briefing which will cover everything about riding on the track, so take it all in and ask questions if you are not clear about something.
The first think to remember when riding on track is that it is not a race ….you do not have to go faster than you feel safe on your bike. There will be people who are going faster than you and equally there will be slower bikes on track, and it will probably be the first time of being on a piece of tarmac where there are no cars coming towards you, drain covers to avoid or white lines and cats-eyes in the middle of the road.
Your first laps of the day will be the Sighting Laps following an experienced instructor at a sensible speed. He will show you the best line around the circuit, so follow him and try to memorise the line he takes. There may be cones to indicate suggested braking points, turn in positions and apex points for the corners. This idealised ‘racing line’ is something you should be aiming to master and if possible try not to deviate from it.
The rest of the day is for you to enjoy at your leisure when it’s turn for your group to be on track, which is usually 5 or 6 sessions during the day.Take your time and build up your speed throughout the day, and when you return to the paddock keep an eye on the time as it soon disappears after giving your bike a quick check over and whilst you’re talking to other riders – usually about their bike or yours! And don’t forget to keep hydrated as this is an important part of being able to maintain your concentration.
To help you gain greater confidence and ability – and therefore enjoyment – when on track, Classic Bike Trackdays events always have a team of qualified instructors who you can book to give you professional tuition once you feel comfortable being on track.CBT charge just £10 per session and all this goes to their charity; The Joey Dunlop Foundation
Trackdays are all about having fun on your bike in a different and in many ways a much safer environment to riding on the road. You will also develop skills and understanding that will make you a better and safer rider on the road.
The VMCC has entered into an arrangment with Classic Bike Track Days to enable our members to ride their bikes around some of the most scenic and iconic circuits in the UK. CBT will endeavour to group like machines based on age and capacity and experience of the riders, this will depend on the number of entries. Each rider will have approximately 5 sessions to ride around the track.
In 2024 the VMCC have decided to let CTD manage ALL aspects of the event, including booking. Please do NOT contact the VMCC about any of these track events, contact CBT directly. Details can be found on their web site, Classic Bike Track Day
Spectators are welcome at all events, charges may apply. At some events there may also be an opportunity to participate in a "Parade" around the track during the lunch break. Please contact CBT directly if you are interested.
Entries Now Open
You can enter events now going directly to the the Classic Bike Track Days website.
Calendar of Events for 2024
- Friday April 12th and Saturday April 13th 2024 - Track Day - Castle Coombe
- Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th May 2024 - Welsh Classic M/C Festival - Anglesey
- Friday 26th July 2023 - Track Day - Donnington Park (ahead of the CRMC weekend)
- Friday 23rd August 2024 - Track Day - Oulton park (ahead of CRMC weekend)
- Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd September 2024 - Cadwell Moto - Cadwell Park
Full details about all events on the CBT website https://www.classicbiketrackdays.com/
07:00 - Arrival at Circuit (or the evening before)
From 7:30 – Rider Registration
- The registration procedure involves the completion of an indemnity form (provided on the day if you don’t already have the one we send via email), examination of DVLA or ACU licence, distribution of appropriate wristband and bike sticker for your rider group
From 08:00 - Noise Testing
- Noise testing is usually from 8am, so please ask a friend to take your bike for testing so you can register and attend the riders briefing. Priority will be given to the first group on track
08:15 - Rider Safety Briefing
This briefing is mandatory to all riders that attend any of our track days. Any rider who does not attend the briefing will NOT be allowed to partake in the day's events. A typical briefing will cover the following points:-
- Classic Bike Trackdays Introduction
- Circuit layout and track knowledge (pit lane entry & exit, etc.)
- Format for the day, an explanation of groups, session times, lunch, sighting / warm-up laps etc.
- On track safety including, overtaking, courteous riding, what (and what not) to do in the event of an accident, etc.
- Off track safety including, paddock rules, assembly in pit lane, fuelling, etc
- Description and meanings of Track Flags
- Services and Facilities – Professional Instruction, Photography and Tyre & Mechanical assistance in the paddock. Track and personal insurance also available
After you have attended the briefing session you will be given a wristband to show that you have attended. You must show your wristband, as you line up for your each session. If you do not have 2 wristbands for both rider registration and briefing you will not be allowed on track
09:00 – Sighting/ Warm-up Laps and Morning Sessions
- Each initial session starts with warm up laps behind an instructor in the first session for each group.
- The sessions will be divided either by the age of bike so there are always comparably machines on track, by engine capacity, or by rider experience – which will depend on the bookings for each event. The sessions will rotate every 15 or 20 minutes depending on the venue.
12:00 – Lunch13:00 – Afternoon Sessions
- Afternoon sessions start and run in the same order as the morning sessions, rotating every 15 or 20 minute sessions
- At the end of the day, please ensure that you take home all your personal belongings and clear up any rubbish that belongs to you so we leave the circuit clean and tidy
Have a safe journey home!
Further details can be found on the CBT website - General Timetable for each event
RIDER INFO & SAFETY
- can be integrated into leathers or stand alone
- should be full length to cover the majority of the rider’s spine
- needs to be designed and fit for that purpose
- can be one designed for road riding use, and does not have to be track specific
- does not currently have to conform to any certification or homologation
IMPORTANT: DO NOT FORGET TO BRING YOUR DRIVING LICENCE!!
- Riders must hold a current and full DVLA driving licence or a current ACU race licence. Note: a 33bhp restricted licence is not accepted by the circuits
- Preferably one-piece leather or two-piece ZIP together leathers which must zip up all the way round. All MUST be in good condition without holes, rips, tears and definitely NO gaffer tape!
- Approved full face helmet (recommended Gold Standard with British Standard kite mark). Flip-front helmets are not allowed
- Visor in good condition, ie: no scratches, cracks or fogging. Tinted or iridium visors are allowed when weather is sunny
- Good quality motorcycle boots (preferably mid calf, not ankle boots), again no holes, (particularly in the soles) rips or tears
- Good quality gloves, no holes, rips or tears
- Full length back protectors are now compulsory at all MSV Circuits from Jan 2022, and we strongly recommend they are worn at all other circuits as a matter of personal safety
- Riders must be 18 years of age or over to participate. The only exception to this rule is for experienced ACU licence holders, but any under 18s must contact us prior to booking to confirm they will be accepted
Rider Registration & Forms
- You will be required to produce your DVLA driving licence or ACU licence when you arrive at rider registration in the morning. Failure to provide your licence may result in you being refused entry to the track and you will not be entitled to a refund or credit. There may also be a charge (or requested donation!) if a licence check needs to be made to the DVLA
- All riders must register and will receive a coloured wristband and colour coded sticker for their session, which is to be clearly displayed on the front of your motorcycle
- All riders must attend a compulsory riders briefing and receive a wristband to prove they have attended the briefing
- Both wristbands must be worn until the end of the day as they will be checked every time you go on track by the pit lane marshal
- If you intend to use a video / bullet camera please ask if you need to complete a permission form as some venues (eg: all MotorSportVision circuits) will require this before you’re allowed on track with a camera. Note: all cameras must be securely mounted to your bike – eg: suction mounts and gaffer tape are not allowed
- Your indemnity form(s) will be sent to you via email (or post if you don’t have access to email) prior to the day along with the information pack. Please print off, complete and bring with you on the day as this will save time during registration
- Forms will also available on the day if you forget or are unable to print them beforehand
Riding Standards and Etiquette on the Track
- Good riding standards are an important part in having a safe and enjoyable trackday
- Warm up laps are an extremely important part of the day and must be adhered to by all riders. The first session for each group at the start of the day will consist of warm up/sighting laps behind an instructor. On all subsequent sessions until lunch, riders should do at least 1-2 warm up laps to ensure tyres are at the correct temperature. After lunch there will be warm up laps behind the instructor and on subsequent sessions riders again should again do 1-2 warm up laps
- During all warm up laps there is a strict no overtaking rule. If this is not adhered to then the offending rider will be warned and if they persist will have their wristbands removed
- Remember that you have all day! It is recommended that build your speed up steadily in each session and throughout the day
- Use the instructors present on the day – they are very experienced and there to help you. You will learn more about bike control, the bikes capabilities and your own, and finish the day a better and more knowledgeable rider
Dangerous riding will not be tolerated and is defined as follows:-
- Overtaking up the inside of a bend
- Overtaking too close. Please give other riders plenty of space - a full arms length - when overtaking
- Weaving to warm up tyres
- Slowing down too quickly for any reason
- When slowing for Red or Yellow flags the throttle should be rolled off so you continue to proceed at half speed – do not brake hard as soon as you see a flag
- Wheelies, stoppies, erratic riding and other dangerous manoeuvres are not allowed. You must be in full control of your motorcycle at all times with both hands on the handlebars
- Ride on the tarmac and between the white lines at all times
- Please remember the Paddock speed limit is 5mph, and please always wear a helmet when riding in the paddock too
Further information can be found on the CBT web site Track Day Safety Instructions
- Slick tyres are only allowed in the Advanced group (or CRMC Race group where applicable)
- If you intend to use them please inform us immediately so we can place you in the Fast / Expert group. You must ensure they are in good condition, no more than 5 years old with tread depth indicators still visible
- There will be no exceptions to this rule. Please be aware due to numbers on track it will be very unlikely that group changes can be made on the day so please have the correct tyres fitted to your machine prior to or at the event as refunds will not be possible on the day
- This rule does not apply to 'Wets' - these will be acceptable in any group as they will only be used in very wet conditions for a matter of safety
- If you wish to order tyres or have any tyre queries, please contact Graham Matcham at Continental on 07772 911137
Brake Lever Guards2022 Update:
- MSV are recommending that Brake Lever Guards should be fitted to any motorcycle attending a trackday at their venues as a matter of safety, but they have confirmed that for classic bikes only, they will not be compulsory at CBT events on their circuits.
- So, where possible we would advise all machines fitted with hollow handlebars to have brake lever guards fitted (they can always be removed after), but if you can not or choose not to fit them, you will not be turned away or prevented from riding on a CBT Trackday at an MSV venue.
- At the time of writing, Brake Lever Guards are not required at other circuits.
Generic Bike Information
- It is the rider’s responsibility to ensure the overall condition of their bike is in good, safe, working order for use on the track
- Please ensure you have thoroughly checked the following well BEFORE the day:-
- All fluid levels are at their optimum and there are no leaks
- The brake system is fully functional; the pads are not too worn and will last the day (plus ride home if you have used your bike to travel)
- Tyres are in good condition and have sufficient tread to last the day (again, plus ride home if you have used your bike to travel)
- Tyre pressures should be correct to either your handbook or a motorcycle dealer. Remember riding at speed on a track with incorrect pressures can endanger you and others. (Continental tyres and Griff from Aprilia Performance will be able to help advise you with tyre pressues if you're unsure)
- Chain sufficiently lubricated in good condition and tension correct to your handbook specifications or local motorcycle dealer
- All bodywork is properly attached i.e. not loose or held on with gaffer tape
- Any lights, indicators and mirrors should be covered with tape. Some riders choose to remove mirrors completely, to prevent damage or glass on the track
- It is the rider’s responsibility to ensure their bike passes the noise limit for the trackday on the day, which is usually a static test. If it fails you will be allowed to make it quieter and have a retest, but you will not be allowed on the track until it has passed. Most circuits will operate the static test as a ‘filter’ to ensure noisy bikes do not get onto the circuit so they don’t fail the operating rules set by the local council, but most will also operate a ‘drive-by’ limit so you are also monitored where it matters most; on the track. If your bike is found to be too loud on track, you will be black flagged and asked to silence the bike before going out on track again
- For your own safety and the safety of all other riders on track, CBT will refuse access to the circuit of any motorcycle deemed to be unsafe
For full details please visit the CBT website Track Day Bike Information