Good evening ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, slay-queens and slayed-kings. Welcome to another Masomo Monday. Inked edition. Today we are going to discuss the latest trend in our motorcycle community….”Track Days”
Uuuuuu… gets me all tingly inside just saying it. Track days. Now whisper into your lover’s ear… track day beybey. Let’s jump right into it. Balls and ovaries in. What is a track day? Now by definition courtesy of Wikipedia, is an organised event in which non-members are allowed to drive or ride around established motor racing circuits or alternatively (though far less common) on closed or disused airfields. So yup that is the wikipedia approved definition of track days. So what is this that is happening in our motorcycle community. Track days…hmmmm🤔🤔🤔🤔… TGRV track days…. yup they tick all the boxes. Kiganjo, Kiambu ring…. wait! Hmmmm… let’s pause and reflect.
Racing is almost exclusively forbidden at these events. With good reason by the way. Majority of the participants do not have racing skills and they have varying skill levels. So you have chicken curry from Haandi’s restaurant mixed with steers burgers, mixed with 20bob mutura, and add dash of minji. Something bad is bound to happen. So track days separate riders into categories… novice, intermediate or advanced. Most of us will lie in the novice class. Tuck your ego in and accept it. In addition, the sessions are held in organised structured groups for a particular length of time. Ie Novices all bunched together, intermediates etc… In countries with said tracks,the track days are usually held in the guise of racing schools where the emphasis is on nurturing the finer skills of machine control and race craft.
At this point, I want to build a track. Sounds like so much fun. “Picks up phone… asks price…”How much??”… calls financial advisor….laughter….hangs up…writes a cheque in crayons. Now we wait. Anyway, so why have a track day?
It is obvious
1. Go balls and/ovaries out crazy in a suitable environment.
2. Have fun
3. Learn to control your machine
4. Improve skills
5. Meet other bikers
6. Learn from the masters
7. Revenue for the track.
And by extension, it helps distinguish between road and track riding, through improved skill levels and attitude and can have a positive effect on road safety.
Now we have basic understanding of what a track day is, let’s look at our set up. Motocross, enduro and the other dirt eating events are usually organised in suitable environments. The road bikes are left out, so what do we do?
Well there is TGRV. Amazing little track and I salute the creators. This should start a thing.
The closed road circuits… this many of us including various government bodies have an issue with and it mainly involves safety.
The mindset of the engineers who build tracks and roads are completely different. The materials used to angles of corners et cetera et cetera are completely different. The only similarity is vehicles are going to use these tar and concrete structures. You may close it, you may get endorsement, you may get the masses to come witness man and machine at their best and worst, but that piece of road was not designed to be used as a track. That is a fact.
The number one issue that causes this topic to be such a contentious issue revolves around safety. Our roads even when closed are not safe. The bumps and potholes that seem to materialise out of thin air add to this aura of danger. Most are poorly designed to say the least.
When I go beyond particular speeds on our roads, I feel the tension in my guardian Angel rise and the grim reaper sharpening his scythe.
Secondly, the track days on public roads, though closed, tend to add acceptance to recklessness. “Ride as fast as you can, on a closed poorly designed road, regardless of your skill, but be safe about it.”
So what can be done?
1. Use the tracks that we have. Get your road bike to TGRV and enjoy it. It may be small, but it is a track.
2. Go off road. There are so many off road trails and tracks out there. The organisation is phenomenal and you will be learning and rubbing shoulder with international riders.
3. If the road events are to happen, the organisers should be honest about it. Have even stricter rules and regulations. For instance speed limits. This way, you eliminate the need for speed and replace it with need for skills. Throttle control, body position, entry and exit out of corners, braking, reading the road, categorisation of skill level….the list goes on and on.
4. Have actual professionals oversee the event.
My take on the track days in Kenya. Ride safe out there.
Every time a butterfly flies into my radiator, my R6 gains 2 extra horsepower. Masomo Monday Mwalimu M-out. (I forced the alliteration)