I am not new to Bike Track Days at Silverstone, having spent many happy hours with the California Superbike School learning the art on the Stowe Circuit, I have also ventured out onto the National circuit with the likes of Ron Haslam who can ride a bit, but this was my first visit for some time. Complete with my brand new staffer, the Ducati 1200R, and a very eager smile ready to tackle the full Grand Prix Circuit for my first time, riding where so many legends have been before.
Since my last visit Silverstone’s Bike Track Days have changed a bit, not dramatically but with a few well thought out touches that make the day all the more enjoyable. Okay leaving the house at 5am to get there for 7am registration was not a highlight (though you have until 8.15am), but the 1200R enjoyed the quiet roads just as much as I did. On arrival I was given my group colour, Blue for me which turned out to be the middle group, neither novice or speedy. This is all deciphered from the information you give Silverstone about your experience. They set the groups so you don’t need too and can rest assured you are in the right group for your ability.
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Once in the garage you sign on with your driving licence at the ready, take your wrist bands and voucher for free bacon rolls and await the briefing. This involves every group and introduces the veritable swarm of coaches employed to look after you for the day, the technicians available for bike prep and tyre changes (iDP Moto), products available on the day including gear hire, your resident track day photographer and obviously the rules of the track. Added to this was an introduction to Yamaha’s Pro Tour which was at Silverstone for the day and also a smattering of celebrity with Niall Mackenzie running his Masterclass who Rootsy had come to spend the day with. (Read about this in the next issue – onsale June)
Once done the day started with the quick boys heading out at 9am for the first of six half hour sessions in the day, the first starting with two sighting laps with a further repeated after the lunch interval. Then it was our turn, taking it steady at first with the familiar sights of Abbey, Farm Curve and Village Corner but then the full Grand Prix circuit kicks in around the loop and you are away down the Wellington straight round Brooklands, Luffield and Woodgate and ever onward (I don’t need to take you round the full circuit). If you are new to Silverstone what you take in immediately is the space you have, the strict six foot passing rule is easily adhered to as I learnt quickly as my naked 1200R struggled to match the pace on the four straights of the GP Circuit. If you get it wrong then there is vast run off all around the GP circuit, as it was there were only a couple of Red Flags throughout the day which were dealt with extremely efficiently.
By the second and third session I had a good idea who everyone was as your group are all uniquely in the same garage and its not long before you are chatting with other participants about their bikes, their ride and your experiences of seeing each other out on the tarmac. There are also a lot of instructors around. You can book one to one tuition with these guys, even have your riding filmed but most importantly they are around to give advice if you need it. They also monitoring your riding to make sure you are in the right group. If you are too quick or slow for where you are they move you, but do so with guidance so it’s no bad thing.
In the end the day went without a hitch, I was properly concerned about my open Termi pipes on the Ducati but it would appear on track they were below the 102dB ride by limit. The sun was shining which always helps but nothing else is left to chance by the Silverstone Track day team to make sure you have a brilliant day, which I did….
For more information on Silverston’es trackdays, head here!
For more information on other Silverstone trackdays head here Trackdays.co.uk
Thanks to the awesome www.picman.co.uk for the images