You know those things that you have always wanted to do? For some people it might be going to a festival or climbing a mountain...but for me it was to do the Ron Haslam race school and finally have the experience of going out on the track. Was it as good as I imagined? Nope, sounds a cliche, but it was better.
I had been crossing my fingers for days before for good weather on the day and my wishes had paid off, the sun was shining and there I was, driving to Silverstone ready to jump on a bike and go round the track.
If you take your own helmet, remember to clean your visor! Having my own bike I had taken my own leathers and helmet with me - clothing and equipment is available there though and you have the chance to try out an Arai lid - everyone else had gleaming helmets with clean visors....mine still had flies on it from the last time I had been out to Squires...shameful!
I met my lovely instructor, Darren Jones, who explained more about the itinerary of the day and introduced me to my bike for the day. There were three separate sessions out on track, each of which increased in speed and the bike got further and further over. I was taught about body positioning on the bike, opening the throttle A LOT, leaning your shoulder into corners and just how much fun bikes could be on the track.
At the end of your three sessions you are given your assessment filled out by your instructor, where you are given tips to improve even more, as well as a certificate to say you have completed the day successfully.
Before I knew it I was back in my car driving home. My whole body was buzzing with excitement and adrenaline from the day and I kept thinking about how much fun I had. I am lucky enough to go and watch the WSBK but doing the race school gave me a new respect for the guys out there. It's easy to forget when you watch the riders round track the amount of fitness required and how much the riders have to think about - I have even more respect for them now!
It sounds stupid to say but I honestly had the best time ever and I have already started thinking about when I can go again...
I have put together three tips though if you are planning on doing it:
- Listen - it is so important to listen to the instructors, whether you have done a track day before or not, these guys know what they are talking about.
- Remember the road is different - on the track there is nothing else to worry about, no bumps in the road, nothing coming the other way and no road regulations
- Make the most of it - It's easy to rush through a session and not make the most of every minute out on track but make sure you do as it's over before you know it.
So, if you haven't do the Ron Haslam race school already....why the hell not?!