My first track day, at New Jersey Motorsports Park, almost didn't happen at all. You think you have all the resources you will need? I didn't, which was abruptly apparent the night before as I realized my gas canisters were on "loan" to a friend. My mistake, anxiety level now at an 11. Quick trip to a hardware store and problem solved. Triple check all the gear, tools, and water is packed and a night of restlessness lay ahead as I run each and every turn-in, apex, and exit marker through my head. Feels a bit like Christmas Eve.
Fast forward a few hours and entering the gates of NJMP with a string of F-series Fords, Honda Pilot and, oddly, a Jetta Sportwagen all with trailers in-tow with bikes of all sorts proudly displayed. Driving to our parking spot the single lane strip of tarmac is lined on either side with pop-up tents, generators filling the otherwise quiet morning air putting heat into cold race slicks. It's easy to spot the rookies from the pros.
Park and unload the bikes. My R6 comes off first followed by my brother-in-law's RSV4, which immediately draws some attention. Everyone is great, like-minded folks of all types that simply enjoy riding a motorcycle. A few questions on the feel and sound of the V4 engine and we're off to tech inspection. Being two fully OEM bikes we breeze through, though did see the level of scrutiny the more *ahem* well used dedicated track bikes go through.
Line-up for the first session of the day and the group is a wide array of bikes, standard Japanese sport-bikes, an FJR, a few supermotos, a Monster among the group. I got there a bit early to be one of the first riders to lead the group onto the track, which I heard was advantageous if you *think* you're a faster rider (sidenote, later getting bumped to the Intermediate group really corrected that line of thought). As we're waived on to the track the dream becomes reality, an open stretch of track to utilize the full 16,500 rpm's available. The motor screams, transmission fires off shifts like a hand-crafted Colt and corners are sewn together that would make Levis envious.
The day was incredible. My riding was far from perfect but I knew already it was just the start, I would be back. Turns out riding the track is much more challenging than YouTube would make it seem, though much more rewarding. You quickly realize one mistake can impact you for several turns to come but when you get the line, speed, and body positioning correct everything just feels *right*.
What was your first track day like?