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Motorcycle Track Days

Motorcycle Track Days for Virgins

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ISBN 978-0-9556595-0-8
Dimensions: 157 x 233 x 10 (124 pages)
Published by Panther Publishing
Printed in England
Price: £12.95 + £2.50 UK P&P (Sortcover);

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Our friends at Panther Publishing are at it again — this time it’s not another definitive volume on some obscure motorcycle marque, but Simon Bradley’s “Motorcycle Track Days for Virgins”, the name of which is probably a bit more catchy than “Motorcycle Track Days for Beginners”, which is exactly what this book is about.

Rollo Turner, Panther’s Owner and Publisher, wasn’t sure if the book would be appropriate for American track day riders, but as it turns out, the book is probably the best, simplest and easiest-to-read guide to doing a track day than anything else I’ve seen.

Besides, webBikeWorld gets loads of visitors from the UK each month (and visitors from over 200 other countries and territories), so surely it will be of interest to many motorcycle riders around the world.

Everything in the book is just as valid for American, Canadian, Australian, French, etc. motorcycle track day riders as it is for the British. And here’s the bonus: the back of the book is a sort of addendum that has an image of most of the UK circuits, with tips from riders and even racers on the best lines around each course.

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So even if you never turn a wheel on a British race track, certainly if you’re a track day fanatic you’ve watched World Superbike, MotoGP or even Formula 1 and wondered what it would be like to ride on one of those wonderful race circuits. Well, here’s your armchair guide to going fast on tracks like Brands Hatch, Cadwell Park, Donington, Mallory Park, Silverstone, Thruxton and more!

Author Simon Bradley is a well-known motorcycle journalist in the UK; he’s the editor of Motorbikes Today, said to be the largest online motorcycle magazine in Europe. Bradley was a racer and he’s a track day instructor on many of the UK tracks described here, in addition to the famed Nurburgring in Germany. He also covers about 50,000 miles per year in commuting and riding his bike, so let him put some of that knowledge and experience to work for you!

This is designed to be a beginner’s book, don’t forget, so it covers everything from basic bike preparation to track rules and regulations; track etiquette; sighting laps and basically how to stay out of trouble; riding techniques (and advanced techniques) and more.

What makes it all work is a light and easy writing style — kind of like an expert’s notebook — and plenty of photographs, graphics and illustrations. The 60+ color photos and illustrations in the riding section are especially helpful, showing the reader how to take turns and keep safe by using various photographic angles and drawings where the photos aren’t sufficient.

Bradley also covers some of the basics like what to bring, how to choose a good track day organization (he thinks the bad ones have pretty much been weeded out by now and most any reputable firm will probably provide a good experience) and even what to do when things go awry.

Although I’ve seen websites and an occasional motorcycle print magazine article discussing motorcycle track day preparation and execution, I haven’t seen it put all together in a book that’s this simple, easy to read, enjoyable, entertaining and — here’s the important part — useful.

If you’re considering doing a track day and you’re not sure what it’s all about, get a copy of Simon Bradley’s book and you can’t go wrong. Panther Publishing says the book can be ordered through their affiliates in the U.S.A., Australia and New Zealand (although it isn’t currently listed in the website of the U.S. affiliate, Motorsport Publications). See the Panther Publishing website for more information.

Review Date: June 2008

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