I’m a huge proponent of track days. There’s no better way to safely learn what your sportbike was built to do while having a blast. Of course nothing’s ever foolproof when it comes to motorcycles; things happen even when you’ve taken all the precautions. But if you’re a beginner or aspiring sportbike rider, don’t let that scare you.
See that nicely reconstructed collarbone with a plate and all the screws in it? That’s my buddy’s x-ray, courtesy of a “love tap” he got about 10 minutes into a track day at Willow Springs in June. He was rounding a corner when a faster but careless rider hit his rear tire, sending him into the air and his bike tumbling. The offender sped away, amazingly unharmed, and never bothered to come over and apologize or see if my buddy was okay. We didn’t even know who it was as my poor friend was too busy crashing to see anything. Several weeks and a successful surgery later, he finally got back to work (thankfully a desk job) and is looking forward to eventually riding again.
So what’s the point of this post, to scare the crap out everyone and bankrupt track day organizers? Sure, it’s a reality check; things like this happen when you’ve got all that horsepower and testosterone out there. But look what else didn’t happen. After his crash, he didn’t go flying off a cliff. He didn’t get hit by a car. He didn’t go flying into a telephone pole or tree. He didn’t leave half his skin on the pavement, thanks to his leathers. The collarbone was the only thing that broke. My point is, track days are still pretty damn safe compared to trying to race in the canyons or the streets. Even though this stuff happens, I don’t hesitate to get out there when I can.