Non-Sportbike Track Day Training
Monday May 10, 2021
Track Day Training will help the average street rider learn and refine advanced braking, throttle and cornering skills. This course is for all levels of experienced riders with at least 1,000 miles under their belt. This is not for brand new riders. New riders should sign up for a basic rider course with their state motorcycle safety program.
Scholarships are available through the BMW/MOA Foundation.
What is a Track Training Day?
These training Days are held on a closed course (racetrack). A closed course allows you to learn in a safe environment and at real-world street speeds (not race speeds). This is NOT Racing!!
Learning on a racetrack allows you to ride freely and concentrate on and advancing your skill level without the typical hazards faced on the street…potholes, sand, tar snakes and Buicks.
What Bikes Qualify?
This Non-Sportbike track day training day is for those who ride Cruisers, Baggers, Tourers, Adventure bikes, and Sport Tourers and other “non-sportbike” machines.
- Cruiser models (Harley, Victory, Star, Baggers, etc.)
- Adventure Bikes (Tigers, Teneres, GSs, Multistrada, etc.)
- Upright Street Standards (MTs, SV650, CB500s, BMW Rs etc.)
- Sport Touring models (FJR, RTs, RSs, Gold Wings, etc.)Contact Ken with questions.
This course is NOT intended for pure sport bikes.
Is This Day Right For You?
Do you want to learn how to brake and corner with more confidence and have a much better understanding of your bike’s capabilities? Then this is the course for you.
No Track Experience is needed. If you ride on the street and can corner at typical speed limit, then you are qualified to attend this event.
About 1,000 miles of experience is suggested. The instruction you’ll receive is not about “how to ride” – it’s about “how to ride better”.
What You Will Learn
Classroom sessions are included in the price of your day.
While parking lot courses have their place, riding your bike on a track will let you practice riding skills at real-world speeds – without the normal distractions found on public roads (like cars, sand, cops, etc)
Throughout the day, you will alternate between voluntary classroom sessions and on-track sessions. Benefit from discussions and demonstrations of advanced riding technique that you can then try on the track.
The skills we will be working:
- Vision Techniques
- Braking Techniques
- Shifting Timing and Techniques
- Cornering Precision
- Cornering Line Selection
- Body Positioning
Ken Condon and his experienced staff will conduct classroom training between riding sessions.
What to Expect
Registration, waiver signing and motorcycle inspection starts at 7:00 AM. Please arrive by 7:30.
Rider’s Meeting starts promptly at 8:15. All riders MUST attend this meeting.
We run Rain or Shine!
We are on track at 9:00 to 5:00 See schedule below.
We divide riders into 3 groups
- A slower NOVICE “CRUISER” Group
- A Medium Speed INTERMEDIATE “TOURER” Group
- A Faster ADVANCED “SPORT TOURING” Group
NOTE: You will initially be grouped by bike type, but we may move people up or down a group as their riding ability dictates.
- The day starts at 7:00 AM with a quick inspection of your motorcycle.
- At 8:15 we will have a rider’s meeting and classroom to explain the details of riding on a racetrack safely.
- We are on track at 9:00 with a follow the leader session for all groups.
- Ride on the track for 20 minutes every hour with 15 minute Classroom sessions between riding sessions.
- We break for lunch at 12:00. Lunch is included.
- Classroom sessions are held after every on track session until 4:00 PM for each group. The day ends at 5:00.
We provide limited amounts of water, but it is recommended everyone bring fluids to drink throughout the day.
Garage Space is included ONLY at the Thompson CT events.
The Palmer track requires renting garage space directly from the track at the Palmer Motorsports website calendar page.
Fuel is available at Thompson and is limited at Palmer.
Thompson Speedway, Thompson, CT
Bike and Riding Gear Requirements
Motorcycle preparation can be done in 2 minutes! Your bike needs:
- to be in excellent roadworthy condition
- have plenty of tire life remaining.
- have no leaking fluids of any kind – including fork tubes
- brake pads need to have plenty of life remaining.
- to have it mirrors either removed or taped over.
- an “X” made of tape over your headlight… ONLY if it is made of glass (most are plastic).
Brake lights are okay.
Hard luggage cases are okay as long as they are 100% secure
Please remove anything that can be detached easily.
Cameras cannot be attached to your helmet, it must be on the bike. Also, the case needs to be secured to the bike in two places by a tether, or tape, or something extra if the primary retainer fails. And yes, camera mounts fail and can cause serious injury!
Riders will be responsible for having full motorcycle gear. We do NOT provide gear!
It’s better for you to have the best protective gear you can.
The best is full leather coverage and race-spec gloves and boots. But, we understand that this isn’t practical for many street riders.
Second best is full-coverage nylon armored motorcycle jacket and pants, good leather gloves (that overlap with jacket) and sturdy over the ankle boots. Even though this should be considered basic street protection, some still find this to be too much.
So, in an effort to encourage riders to benefit from this training opportunity who are either gear-resistant or without financial means to buy proper gear, we have relaxed the gear requirements.
Below is a comprehensive list of basic requirements.
Remember, this is for YOUR protection in the unlikely event of a fall.
Helmet – Your helmet must be DOT approved and FULL-FACED. High quality modular helmets will be allowed but must remain in the locked position when on track.
Jacket – Leather is best, but we allow non-leather riding jackets and pants (cordura type, such as Aerostich) provided they are motorcycle specific and have armor or extra padding in the elbows. You can purchase inexpensive padding for these areas. Mesh jackets are allowed, as long as the elbows and shoulders are solid nylon.
Back Protector – While hard back protectors are strongly encouraged, they are not mandatory. However, please consider buying CE approved armor, rather than the thin foam pads generally included with jackets. You can buy one that has a strap that holds it in place… again for about $60 to $150. Isn’t your spine worth that much? Google Search for Back Protector (Link)
Pants – Leather is best, but we allow cordura type motorcycle-specific pants (such as Aerostich) that have armor or extra padding in the knees. “KEVLAR” Jeans with hard armored knee and shin protection are allowed and this makes a great setup for those not wanting to purchase motorcycle riding pants.
Regular Jeans are not allowed. Chaps are not allowed unless worn over Kevlar jeans. If you have questions, please Contact Ken.
Gloves – Full-coverage gauntlet gloves MUST leave no exposed skin. They should overlap the jacket when you are in the riding position. No fingerless gloves.
Boots – Sturdy over-the-ankle boots . These do not have to be motorcycle-specific, but must provide sturdy protection and MUST leave no exposed socks or skin by overlapping the pants when you are in the riding position.
Padded Undersuits: https://www.bohn-armor-pants.com/catalog/
Feel free to send me a link to a product photo- or take a photo of your actual gear (be sure to say that it’s for the “non sportbike” day).
Once you ride with proper gear, you will wonder how you ever rode without it.
“I want to thank you and your staff for such a great day at Thompson at the non-sport bike track day on May 14. I always wanted to get on a track but never expected to be able to do it on my big touring Harley Davidson Ultra Classic. At 69, I’m getting up there a bit and I was also surprised to find a few even older than me. I had a spectacular day. I moved past some of my personal limits and finally learned what my bike is capable of in corners. I was a bit anxious to begin with but nerves gave way to the excitement of getting better and better as the day went on. The combination of track time and instruction was perfect. 2 days later I’m still having trouble getting the smile off my face. “Thank you for doing what you all do.”
“I did Palmer last year and learned a lot! I plan on doing this every time you have a non sport bike day at Palmer. I have a few other Gold Wing members that might join me in July, so you might have a few of us heavy bikers on the track. What I learned made me a lot better rider and my wife even commented that I handle my bike a lot better also. I have over 80,000 miles on Gold Wings and your class was worth the price. Can’t wait for the next time!”
“I wanted to tell you the best part of my first track day was riding two-up with Ken. It clicked while doing those few laps and my street riding has improved considerably. Now I am leaning with the bike instead of just the bike leaning, and it feels so smooth and steady. No more jitters while cornering. I am sold on the value of track days!”– Linda C.
Other Training Options:
The Riding in the Zone, LLC Motorcyclist Training Program is supported by the Massachusetts Rider Education Program (MREP).
Scholarships are available through the BMW/MOA Foundation.
Many photos are from Arcy Kusari, OTMPIX.com