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Track Day - With Pacific Track Time

Taking It To The Track
Riding Laguna Seca with Pacific Track Time

Today's production street motorcycles exceed the capabilities of race bikes of only a few years ago. With all this incredible capability, where can you experience the limit of your streetbike, or your riding skills, without breaking local traffic laws?  On a race track, that’s where. But how can mere mortals get on a national or world-class circuit without spending a fortune to only learn we aren’t as fast as we thought.  "Track Days", organized by professionals is the answer.

There are more than a few organizations offering “track days” to the riding public, and the list seems to be growing rapidly. Some provide only the essentials: one flag station, an ambulance and an open course until the days end. Then there’s Pacific Track Time who offers a first class event.

The company, based in Wrightwood, California, holds track days at some of California’s top venues. These aren’t just tracks that cater to the local club racer, but places like Willow Springs (both tracks), Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca and Thunderhill Park. Imagine being able to ride the same course as Colin Edwards or Troy Baylis, and not just in a 25 mph parade lap.

We found Pacific Track Time on the web (www.pacifictracktime.com) and scheduled a track day for December 18, 2002 at Laguna Seca. The sales director for Pacific Track Time is Todd Robinson who keeps everything running smoothly at each event. Todd is quite enthusiastic about making sure everything is just right. He arranges for group discounts at hotels and has experienced racers on-hand to help you sharpen your riding skills. He even watches the weather and can arrange for rain tires to be at the track – for an additional fee of course. Pacific Track Time simply wants to make your day of riding comfortable and an experience that you won’t soon forget.

The atmosphere during our event was very professional. Everyone was treated with respect, whether a professional racer or someone new to the track. Both bike and rider (gear) must pass a tech/safety inspection before taking to the blacktop. They make sure your bike is up to the abuse a track will dish out, and they’ll let you know if they see anything that could be a problem. After tech there is a mandatory riders meeting were they cover the meaning of each flag and discuss any track conditions riders need to be aware of. They informed us of the rules of conduct: no sustained wheelies (darn), no brakies, no burnouts, no speeding in the pits. It’s made perfectly clear this is not an environment to practice your extreme riding skills - this is a roadrace course.

When you sign up, you'll be asked to choose an appropriate group to ride with - be honest. These groups are defined by speed and experience. If you’re in the wrong group someone will let you know, and they’ll move you to a more appropriate and safe (for you and others) group. There are three categories: the A group consists of very fast street riders - usually ex-racers or pro racers doing testing. The B group consists of faster street riders that have some track experience and club racers out for a cruise. The C group is made up of street riders new to track riding who want to get up to speed. Many of these new track riders participate in Pacific Track Time's free novice orientation school.

Riders take to the track following the all-important riders meeting. Groups are rotated in 20-minute intervals. This may sound short, but after riding 20 minutes you’ll discover it’s just about right. Once a group exits the track the next group will be allowed to start their session. Our riding continued until noon when the track was cleared so we could feast on a catered lunch. We’re not talking about cold hot dogs and warm sodas, this is real food that is healthy and great tasting. While you’re on the track there are instructors circulating with you, watching over you and possibly showing you new lines or offering to help you with any set-up problems. These are experienced racers who are there to make your day safe and more enjoyable. If you're new to the track, make sure to take advantage of their wisdom.

There are people to assist you off the track as well - with tire pressures or even to provide new tires. Suspension experts are also ready to answer any questions you may have. Todd can arrange to have one of your sessions professionally video taped and there’s a professional photographer taking pictures all day. Photos are later made available on the company’s web site.

Our group left Southern California knowing full-well it was raining in Monterey, about 350 miles away. On ride day, however, we awoke to wonderful blue skies and warm temperatures. These conditions combined with the professionalism and well structured Pacific Track Time event made for a very special day of riding at a most memerable and famous track.

We found Pacific Track Time to be a professional organization that puts on a first-class track day. Their rides tend to be expensive, but we certainly got what we paid for. Contact Todd Robinson at Pacific Track Time toll-free at 877 809-2170 or go to www.pacifictracktime.com. We hope to see you at the track.

Tim Pennell

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