This is might controversial to you, but I literally get to experience a phenomenon every week- not just with riders I don’t know, but also and mainly with students. It obviously doesn’t apply to all of you, but to a big percentage for sure.

So here is ‘Joe’ who is signed up for his very first track day. Joe did some schooling and has a lot of riding experience. His visions, wish-thinking and especially expectations of how he’s gonna look like during that track day are astronomical. The same goes for hundreds of my own students, who went through a lot of hands-on and real life coaching. Most of them did it all- cornering programs, knee down classes, and 1on1’s. Also here… visions, wish-thinking and especially expectations towards their first ever track day at ‘the big track’.

The expectations of/in themselves and especially in what they’ve learned, will probably lead them right into confusion and frustration, and that will cause them to question that what they’ve learned was good or right. Some will start pushing their limits and crash- some won’t come back to finish their schooling. At this point you might smile and think that I am worried to ‘lose them’. I can tell you that I am worried to lose them to foolishness. Not more- not less.

So I am extremely confident in what these guys have learned and I am truly not looking for excuses… they are at the end of their first track day. The actual problem is though, that their expectations are STILL beyond their capabilities. That’s just one point. Another one is, that they are dropped off into a boxing ring. There will be passing all over them, which is something a brain has to get use to. Additionally, the pace they gonna make is way beyond they ever been and the track they are on is way wider.

There is a lot you do not know yet. You are only totally overwhelmed, so that you might can’t put to action what you’ve learned. This is fooling you quickly!

I remember one kid at this point. He had a blast during cornering day 1 and he made a quantum jump forward with his abilities. He came to me and said that he can’t wait to get into day 2. Till then, he got himself a new bike and went to a track day. Naturally, pretty much everyone was faster than him and he very likely was all over the place which is probably why he crashed. Finally day 2 arrived and I already felt a distanced student there. He already looked frustrated and wasn’t really ‘attending’. First turns into the first track session, I saw him overly pushing already. It didn’t take long from there for him to crash.

I had a lot of talks with him from there, just to understand what happened to him. It was like talking to a different person- to someone who lost faith and trust in what he had learned. Someone who is more frustrated than confused. He actually started talking to other riders, expecting that they can help. How can they, when they don’t understand neither what the actual problem is, nor to know what the fix is?! Then it was on me to tell him what I am thinking the issue is, but held back, cuz’ he might only sees it as a desperate attempt to not to lose him.

Trust me… I don’t want to even look this way and I actually think he is a loss already because he ‘likes to think’ that this is a good excuse. This is some deep stuff, you know?!

So… for the rest of you going into your first track day… It is not about what you’ve learned. It will be all about being totally overwhelmed. It will narrowing your vision because you are STILL far away from being in control of distraction and fears. It is because of high speed and passing’s you’ve never experienced. You might still believe that this is all about balls and that sticking to track days does the rest…

Don’t be a fool!

Superbike-Coach Corp

Headcoach Can Akkaya, Superbike-Coach Corp

8 replies
  1. david cardinal
    david cardinal says:

    Right on Coach!

    The first time track days are a wild time! Fear, excitement, and hope to ride like Mark Marquez – sliding my tire and getting my elbow down – well maybe not ever.

    I’d say getting through the first few track days without going down or causing someone else to go down should be a great goal. Learning how to do this safe and continue to ride is more important than pushing faster than limits.

    Learing this is a lifetime, not a short time. There is someone much faster than every one out there, except for the top 3 at MotoGP. No one else cares how fast you are.

    Love your classes and insight Coach!

  2. Hanna Soskina
    Hanna Soskina says:

    Fantastic article! “Don’t Be a Fool” really hit the mark for me. As a mom of two safety is always at the forefront of my mind, and your post brilliantly highlights the importance of responsible riding. The way you shed light on the potential dangers of reckless behavior to match meet expectations of how we are gonna look like during that track day is crucial. It’s important for riders like us to stay mindful and make smart decisions on the road and don’t let our ego kill us.

  3. RP
    RP says:

    Appreciate this! Luckily I’m scared already before this email:

    1) because I still haven’t found a 1-piece suit that fits past my huge legs.

    2) I slide on an intersection 15 seconds after leaving my home because I was rushing to reach a group ride on a winter morning… tires were cold and I had too much fun the weekend before sliding on dirt with my dual sport at Hollister Hills so I thought I could lean the cold sportmax tires deep… I turned so hard and gunned the throttle that I got a thrill from the slide for 1 second and then boom I fell and all my confidence shattered for last 3 months… I have been slowly working to get it back… I even sanded my greasy slippery tires some weeks ago with sandpaper because I was convinced the tires were old and not sticky on the chicken strips anymore, which is actually true, its like plastic… trying to lean more on each ride to get chicken strips soft and sticky again so at least then I know the only problem left is my brain.

    Looking forward to the coaching coach! see you soon.

  4. Brian
    Brian says:

    Great article from a great Coach. There is a lot to take in on track days, excitment and fears. Have fun and let the teachers teach.


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