NESBA, a track organization near and dear to our hearts here at Asphalt & Rubber, is trying out a new program that will allow its track day enthusiasts to rent Öhlins shocks during its track days. The program, which is sponsored by Spiegler Performance, costs only $150 and includes help from an Öhlins certified technician.
As a California native, I’ve always wanted to ride around Laguna Seca on a sportbike. However my passion for track riding didn’t manifest itself until I moved away from the Golden State to Pennsylvania, making a Seca track day all but implausible. Having just moved back into California, and the warm weather finally upon us here in the San Francisco area, track days and Seca have been on my mind. So when Michael Czysz, Lead Instructor at the Skip Barber Superbike School (and of MotoCzysz fame) shot me an email asking me if I wanted to ride for two days around the fabled circuit and take Skip Barber’s two-day superbike course, I of course took him up on the offer. With perfect 70°F weather, I made my way to the Californian coast, ready to take on The Corkscrew with the brand new 2010 KTM RC8 motorcycle and with the help of Skip Barber’s instructors.
I’ve always heard how Laguna Seca is a special track, and how technical the course is on a motorcycle (or any vehicle for that matter). Driving into Monterey from Salinas, you get about half the distance between the two cities when the track entrance jumps up on you. Most tracks you can see for miles as you approach them, but Laguna Seca is nestled behind a hillside from the roadway, and sits inside a Monterey County park. This topography not only provides a scenic venue to enjoy when you’re not going full-throttle around the race track, but also accounts for Seca’s 300′ change in elevation as you go through the 11 turns that comprise the circuit.
Driving into the park I can already feel my nerves acting up. I went through eight years of competitive sailing, two Junior Olympics, and three Nationals with this same physiological response. On a typical track day this sensation would subside after my first session, and be greatly reduced after the first full-pace lap, but upon entering into the Skip Barber office the apprehension quickly disappears.
Nothing beats the winter months off-season than planning your summer motorcycling adventures, so let us propose a summer excursion: head to Eastern Europe and ride the Slovakiaring. Located just outside of Bratislava, the new track facility promises to have something for everyone with its 6 different circuits, and top-notch facilities. Video after the jump.
Donington Park recently played host to 45 Ducati Desmosedici RR owners, as they spent an exclusive track day courtesy of Ducati UK. The video of the bikes starting their session is after the jump, but we’re trying to decide what’s more impressive: the sound the bikes make as they leave, or the fact there’s nearly $4 million of machinery going by without an umbrella girl in sight.
Not that insurance companies give motorcyclists a lot of love when it comes to coverage claims, but things are about to get a bit tougher when looking for a little compensation for that weekend wreak. The New York Times is reporting how insurance companies are redefining what a track event is, and lumping any sort of incident on race courses as being an automatic claim denial.
While the changes are really affecting track day goers who prefer four wheels, it gives a glimpse into where the industry is headed as far as risk management. There is a silver lining though. The crackdown has opened up a market for track oriented underwriters. These policies are still costing a premium for car owners, but should they become available for motorcyclists, it should cost a reasonable enough price to gain traction in the marketplace.
Maybe those AIG guys aren’t so bad afterall.
The Ducati Desmosedici RR is closest that us mere mortals will get to riding a GP bike on the street, that is of course if we have the $70,000+ sized wallet to afford the two-wheeled italian rocket ship to hell and back. The classic red and white livery, accented with carbon panels and aftermarket hotness could easily be displayed in a gallery, or say one’s garage. However, a few owners have seen it fit to ride their prized possession on the street and track, this is after-all where the Desmosedici was born to live.
However, for some Desmosedici’s…this also where some go to die, as was the case for this unlucky bike (and probably unlucky owner when he gets home and tells his wife what he did).
Yeah, that’ll buff out.