Thursday, 21 August 2014

Track Day Dreams Part 2

For a first trackday using an intermediary like Pro 6 Cycle gives you the support you'd need to ensure your bike is prepped well (they have tires, mechanics and other bits and pieces on hand).  Pro 6 runs track days at Calabogie Motorsports Park in Eastern Ontario.  It happens to be on the other side of some of the best riding roads in Ontario, and on the way to my buddy's house in Osgoode.
A couple of hours at speed on the highway and I'm up past
Gravenhurst and turning toward the Haliburton Highlands!
For me the trip is a Southern Ontario grind out and up the 400 before turning east to face some of the nicest roads in Ontario.  Giving three hours for the highway part, I'd aim to meet up with Jason somewhere in the highlands and then we could ride the twisties to Calabogie.

Day one would get me into the Highlands.  Day two would be riding twisties.  Day three would be the track day at Calabogie and Day four would be the return ride home.

To prep for the track day I'd swap out coolant for distilled water at home before the trip and practice stripping the bike down (covering and disconnecting lights, removing mirrors).  I'd also strip the bike back as light as possible, removing the passenger pegs for single pegs, the toolkit, any extra attachments at all.

I'd get a big duffle to carry my gear for the track day (I'd carry rain gear and clothes in a separate, smaller bag).  The track duffle would have to be big enough to carry track leathers, tools, a bike stand and the parts needed to prep the bike.  The idea would be to get to the track and be able to open up the bag and prep the bike quickly and efficiently.

The trackday bag would open up trackdays around Ontario, and once I'd experienced how the pros at Pro 6 Cycle do it, I'd be able to prep better for future days.

I'm a ways away from this at the moment.  Here's a wish list of needed bits and pieces:

A Vicious Cycle
Firstgear-Torrent waterproof duffel = 40l... should carry everything needed for a trackday...

Alpinestars S-MX-5 Boots

Alpinestars GP PRO one piece leather suit
Size 50 - this one's a bit tricky.  I'm everything from a 2-4x (tall, long in the body, shorter in the leg and triangle shaped)
$857 (on sale!)

A full body suit is going to be a tricky proposition off the rack.  There are some custom options out there, but you're buying from the other side of the world and I imagine returning a poorly done suit would be next to impossible.  That TopGearLeather site offers custom race suits for less than the off the rack retail suits (~$600), but caveat emptor (they may be awesome, I don't know).
Alpinestars GP PLUS gloves

Schuberth SR1 Stealth Helmet

Vortex V3 rear bike stand

$90 (+$70 wheel kit)

So I'm looking at about $2600 worth of riding kit before I even start considering the bike, and I'd want to consider the bike.  I'd start with the current Ninja 650r and build up experience and certifications, but I'd eventually like to get into The Vintage Road Racing Association.  The dream would be race prepping a 1980s Honda Interceptor (strip lights and extras, whittle it down the bare minimum, race prep the engine), and race it!

Racing ain't cheap.  I'd be dangerous if I had a lot of money and free time on my hands.  Since the summer's almost over and I'm back to the classroom, I'm hoping to put together (Kijiji, ebay, whatever cheap alternative I can find) the bits I need to get myself on a track next year.

If I can't arrange the equipment, I might (make a big) ask for the Racer5 3-stage introduction program.  It's one hell of a birthday present, but if supported track days cost you about $250 a pop anyway, paying an extra hundred to rent someone else's bike and get close instruction seems like one hell of a deal.


I tried on the Joe Rocket race suit at Royal Distributing the other day.  It was a 46.  It fit at the shoulders and waist/legs, but it was too short in the body.  If I were proportioned properly I'd be about 5'11", but with this long body I'm 6'3", my inseam is only 32".  I'm hoping a 48 is a bit longer in the body, and would be a loose fit everywhere else.  I wish there were more local places I could go try race suits on.  If RD gets a 48 in, that might end my quest for a suit for now.