It was going to be my first time on a track and I was really looking forward to improve my riding skills, confidence and control. Never had I experienced doing great speeds in a closed and safe environment. But then before it all even began, I received an unexpected call. ‘You cannot race unless you have a competition license’, said the person on the other end. I was disappointed with myself for not researching enough before I hit the track. The more I started researching, the more I got to know about the ‘must dos’ on a race track. Racing on a track does not only come from riding fast on roads or how well you know your motorcycle, but there’s a lot which goes into even getting eligible to race on a track. So, here’s what I have come with for all the aspiring track riders out there:
Competition license: There is a specific license I had to apply for; the lack of which was the very first reason I could not race in one of the upcoming weekend races. Upon researching, I found that there were a total of ten types of licenses for different categories of races or rallies. To be able to ride a motorcycle well on a track is far-off from the fact that whether you are even eligible to race or not. Without a proper competition license you cannot race on a track. And in India, you don’t have to go through a test to get yourself a competition license. To race on a track, I was going to need a 2W Racing /Drag license, the nominal charge of which was Rs. 1500 and all I needed to submit was a duplicate copy of my driving licence and passport size photograph.
Schooling: The first bit of schooling every rider must attend is a rider’s briefing. This is where you’ll learn about the club’s paddock rules, track egress and ingress, flag procedures and other important information. Get close to the instructor and pay attention! Many track-day organizations have mandatory new-rider courses for first-timers (or riders returning after a long period of time). In a classroom and out on the track, these sessions will help you learn the track’s lines and, at some clubs, receive one-on-one instruction. They are a very worthwhile track-day bonus.
Gear: Leathers, gloves and a D-ring helmet should be a part of your capital expenditure. Protecting your body in the event of a crash is of utmost importance. Period. There are grades for gear. For helmets, in India, DOT certified helmets are recommended and most of tracks or organisations require you to wear at least the aforementioned certified helmet and depending on what class you are racing in, it goes from DOT to ECE to MotoGP level standard of helmets.
Know the rules: I was not aware of a competition license. For a novice like me, this was one of the crucial yet simple pointers I missed on. For me, knowing the rules and regulations to race on a track is more important than knowing your motorcycle. Click here to know more about the rules and regulations of The Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI)
Track spectator: Taking a walk around the track for observing could be a great idea. And if you get a chance to attend the riders’ briefing (when you aren’t racing) then there’s quite nothing like it. By doing that you’ll get to know what to expect. Getting your mind right before a track day or a race day is a huge step forward. Try and arrange a lap of the track in a car or ride a bicycle as an observer. Catch a video of the track’s ‘virtual lap’ to know the track better.