Preparation is key to every aspect of track riding. Knowing the track should be close to the top of your list.
The internet is a great place to start. You can watch onboard videos on YouTube of past races or videos that people have uploaded from track days.
Before the event, the organisers will email you all the information you need, including a map of the circuit. Study it. It details not only the track, but where to park, what garages are available, where the toilets are, and where you sign on in the morning.
I always have a look on Google maps before going to a new track, you can pickup some useful information, and a lot of UK circuits have been mapped by Google so you can drop a pin on a corner and rotate the view 360 degrees. This is great for looking at cambers!
Taken from Google Maps - CRAINER
My favourite method is the Xbox. Ride 2 & 3 is a fantastic game that has real road bikes and UK tracks. I was able to use my bike at Donington, Cadwell and Oulton Park. Are the games close to reality? Ish. They are very good for learning what corners come next and where you should position yourself on the track, but that's about it.
When going into turn one at Oulton Park on the Xbox all you’re thinking about is getting around the corner as fast as possible. In real life you’re thinking about gears, braking point, how the bike is reacting to your inputs, and G-Forces. You’ll be amazed how much G-Force you’ll experience.
At Cadwell when you head up the hill towards park the bike nearly bottoms out at the dip. You’re doing 120mph and when the forces hit you for that split second you feel like you can’t move, so before it happens you have to be on the right part of the track so you don’t end up on the green stuff , and in the right gear. Your Xbox controller won’t give you that sensation unfortunately...
Speak to riders in the paddock, you’ll find everyone will help you. At Cadwell the weather was dry and sunny, yet after speaking to someone in the queue for signing on they said “Just be careful for the first few laps and see where the damp patches are under the trees before the start and finish straight” I was grateful for this, and prepared for them on my out lap.
Taken from Google Maps - CRAINER CURVES - DONINGTON PARK
You’ll find that all track day providers will offer 1:1 tuition. Even if you class yourself as a fast rider, you’ll still benefit from a 1:1 session as the instructors will get you on the right lines for the first session.
Take your time on new tracks, brake early for bends and alter your braking markers throughout the day. You’ll find yourself braking later and later and the corners will start linking up. At the start go slowly into corners and then fast out until you’re happy carrying corner speed.
Two of my best tips are, keep your head up and look down the track, not down at the corner, and everyone wants to get their knee down, but don’t force it. Build your speed, look down the track and as your corner speed increases you’ll find knee down second nature and you won’t even be thinking about it. The amount of people we see trying to get there knee down with 2 degrees of lean is incredible. The bike has more lean on the side stand!