If you’ve ever dreamed of taking your motorcycle onto a track, motorcycle track days held throughout the United States give you the chance to finally make that dream come true. Whether you ride a sportbike or a cruiser, motorcycle track days give you the chance to test your skills and have a ton of fun riding on a well-maintained, closed and controlled race course.
Instead of dodging potholes and drivers of four wheelers cutting you off, you get the opportunity to really focus on honing your skills in a safe environment. Feel free to go as fast as you want without risking a ticket and points on your license.
The way track days generally work is for regional track day organizations to arrange with local tracks to rent track time for a day or weekend and then rent it to people just like you who want to get in some practice time before an upcoming race or simply test their riding ability on a race course. All types of motorcycles are welcome, and some tracks actually have sportbikes available for you to rent. Some events even have instructors available to assist with motorcycle skills improvement.
Keep reading to learn more about motorcycle track days, including a look at some of the top track day events around the country, and tips about how to prepare for your first track day. In addition to having fun and sharpening your riding skills, these events are great motorcycle networking opportunities.
Top Motorcycle Track Days in the US
Track days are held all over the U.S., so finding one near you should not be difficult. Asking other riders and the friendly folks at your local motorcycle dealership get you the information you need. If that doesn’t work, you can always turn to the internet.
The following are some of the top motorcycle track days to help get your search started:
- History and background: Founded in 2014 and sanctioned by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) and International Motorcycling Federation (FIM).
- Race classes and categories:
- Stock 1000
- Twins Cup
- Junior Cup
- Key events in 2023 at the following tracks:
- Road America
- Laguna Seca
- Circuit of the Americas
- Barber Motorsports Park
- History and background: It was established in 1954, and it’s now the oldest dirt track racing in the U.S.
- Race classes and categories:
- AFT Super Twins
- AFT Singles
- AFT Production Twins
- Key events and dates for 2023:
- Springfield Mile – September 2 and 3
- Lima Half-Mile – June 24
- Peoria TT – July 30
- Sacramento Mile – May 13
- Regional track day organizations:
- California Superbike School – Founded in 1980 by Keith Code. The school offers all levels of training. Locations include Buttonwillow Raceway, Laguna Seca, and Sonoma Raceway.
- Sportbike Track Time – Founded in 1998 and catering to all skill levels at the following tracks: Road Atlanta, Barber Motorsports Park, and NCM Motorsports Park.
- Founded in 1996 with a focus on safety and skill development.
- Locations include New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Palmer Motorsports Park, and New York Safety Track.
- The focus is on making a safe and structured riding environment available for riders of sportbikes at all skill and experience levels. Coaching and various membership options are available.
- Locations include Virginia International Raceway, New Jersey Motorsports Park, and Summit Point Raceway.
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How to Prepare for a Track Day
Now that you found a track day to attend, you need to prepare your motorcycle, gather the safety gear that tracks require, and brush up on some of the common track-day rules along with a few tips about track etiquette. Here are some tips to get you started:
Motorcycle track day preparation
Check the specific rules of the track and organization holding the track day, but the following bike preparation rules usually apply:
- Tape all lenses, including the headlight, turn signals and brake lights. Painter’s tape is easy to apply and remove.
- Remove accessories such as camera or smartphone brackets, that could become loose and fall off at racetrack speeds.
- It’s a good idea to remove your license plate and its bracket to prevent them from falling off.
- Some tracks require that you replace coolant, which is slippery when it spills onto the track, with plane water.
- Check the tread on your tires and replace worn tires before heading to the track. Also check the pressure in your tires.
- Repair oil leaks before you go to avoid being turned away at the track.
- Use safety wire to secure your oil filter to prevent vibration from loosening it.
Motorcycle safety gear
- Tracks typically want riders protected by a leather full-riding suit, but you may be able to get by with a leather jacket and leather pants. Check with the track before you go to confirm their requirements.
- Riding gloves should be long enough to cover the end of your sleeves to not leave any skin surface exposed. Boots should extend above the ankles.
- A helmet is a must-have piece of motorcycle safety gear for the track. Check with the organization for its rules about the type of helmet and certifications that it must meet.
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Track day etiquette and rules
- Ride at your own pace and move to the right to allow faster riders to pass. If you approach a slower rider, don’t get too close. Wait until there is an opportunity to safely pass them.
- Observe speed restrictions when entering and exiting the pit lane.
- Wait for an official to grant you permission to enter and leave the track.
- Tracks use flags to signal riders. Commonly used flag colors include:
- Green : Signals that the track is open.
- Red: A crash or other hazard requires that the track close until it is cleared. Raise your arm to signal to officials that you see the flag as you slow down and wait for directions about leaving the track.
- Yellow: A stationary yellow flag means to exercise caution, but maintain your speed. A waving yellow flag means to slow down, do not pass other riders, but do not stop.
- Black: A black flag means that you must exit the track as soon as it is safe to do so. Follow directions of officials upon exiting.
Even though you are on a racetrack, track day is not for competitive racing. Have fun, but save your competitive spirit for an actual race day.
Iconic Motorcycle Events in the US
There are many other events around the country for motorcycle riders in addition to track days. Some of the most popular ones include the following:
- Sturgis Motorcycle Rally: Sturgis, South Dakota, has played host to an annual bike rally since 1938. Motorcyclists come from all over America to enjoy concerts and entertainment, bike shows and competitions, guided rides, and races. The 83rd anniversary edition takes place August 4 through 13, 2023.
- Daytona Bike Week: Motorcycle riders have been rolling into Daytona Beach, Florida, for bike week since 1937 to enjoy races, custom bike shows, factory demo rides, and concerts and entertainment. This year’s event is over, but the 2024 event will be March 1 through 10.
- Laconia Motorcycle Week: Laconia, New Hampshire has played host to its annual bike week since 1923. Hill climb competitions, custom bike shows, vendors, guided scenic rides, and concerts and entertainment are only some of the attractions for riders.
- Americade Touring Rally: Started in 1983 as a rally for touring bikes, the rally at Lake George in scenic upstate New York. The 2023 event starts on May 30 and runs through June 6 with attractions and activities that include guided tours of the scenic Lake George area, motorcycle demos and test rides, bike shows and competitions, entertainment, and workshops and seminars.
All of the rallies offer lodging and admission packages along with full schedules of activities on their websites.
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Motorcycle track days and annual rallies offer options for revving up your motorcycling experience. Track days give you the chance to test your skills and become a better rider, while rallies offer a great way to meet riders from all over the country to share experiences and make new friends.
Get out to a track day event near you and invite your riding friends to join you for a day of fun away from traffic and without fear of getting a ticket for speeding. While you’re at the track, talk to your friends about planning a road trip to one of the bike rallies around the country. When you go, be sure to let us know how it was by sharing your pictures, stories and experiences.