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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Choosing Correct Level for a Track Event

    Now, that you are interested in attending a track day, you probably wonder - which level to register for. You don't want to pick a group that you will be slowed down in, but at the same time, you do not want to choose one where you will be a moving chicane for other riders. So how do you register for the right group, what level do you choose?

    These questions surely cross many riders' minds when signing up for track events, not only with RideSmart, but with any other track organization.
    The following will help you narrow down your choice, and will hopefully give you a good decision guideline for future events you may be interested in.

    Before choosing a level to ride in at the race track, you must ask yourself some specific questions, and provide some very honest answers. After all, you are paying money for the track event, and you want to get every bit of fun and education out of it, right?

    Of course, the first thing you must do is to decide that you will fact attend a track event.
    Once that is settled, it is now time to ask some questions. The following are a small sample of questions that can be used. Feel free to expand these if needed, to get to the answers regarding your riding ability and confidence.

    - Can I fundamentally operate a motorcycle while at a high rate of speed in a straight line or in turns (can I ride at speeds of more than 70mph in straights or more than 30mph while in turns)?
    - How is my braking ability with the motorcycle I will use at the track? Do I feel confident with abrupt braking maneuvers, or do I always need lots of time and space to execute a stop?
    - When I go on street rides, do I feel comfortable riding in close proximity to other riders/cars, or do I always prefer to ride far away from the riders in front of me?
    - Have I met the minimum requirements for attending Level 1 at RideSmart Motorcycle School?

    There are hundreds of questions one can ask themselves to evaluate their riding capability and confidence. Whatever you ask, make sure you are honest with the answers, and do not 'embellish' the answers in attempts to make yourself 'fit' into a faster group group. Remember, you are trying to be honest to find a comfortable spot for yourself at the track. Embelishing your skills will become evident at the track, once you start riding. Then, it may be too late to 'bump down', especially if classes are filled (in those cases, you will not be permitted to participate in the on track sessions).

    RideSmart, as all other organizations, divides their clientele into groups according to riding skill and confidence. The idea is to match riders so that their riding capability does not dramatically differ on the track.

    Rider skill classification at RideSmart is made as follows:

    Pepople in this riding group tend to be:
    - New to riding track all together
    - Have not been to a particular track (need to become familiar with it)
    - Have only a few track days under their belt and are working to get to a riding level that will allow them to ride comfortably in the next level.
    - Have demonstrated the basic ability to operate a motorcycle. Track days are not a motorcycle fundamentals school, and each rider should have enough experience to ride a motorcycle at a fairly fast pace in straight lines, or in turns. We cannot give you a specific speed number to go by, since this is very personal and different for each rider, but the bottom line is that one must be able to ride in such ways as not to dramatically impede other riders in their group. That is why a good starting mark is several months of street riding experience, with about 5000 Miles or more of riding time accumulated.

    This level (novice), can include people such as new motorcycle riders, who have just purchased a motorcycle and have been riding for about 6 months or so on the streets. Also, very experienced street riders who have ridden for many years on the street, but have never been to the race track, should be included in this group.
    Level 1 should serve as a launching group for pretty much anyone that has not been doing regular track days already. This gives them the chance to get familiar with the track environment, riding and techniques that are necessary for safe and enjoyable track days.

    Requirements for this group include basic ability to handle a motorcycle, plus several months of riding experience on the streets, at least 5000 Miles of riding on streets.

    All riders in LEVEL 1 group ride MUST observe all rules that apply to LEVEL 1 riders. NO EXCEPTIONS.

    People in this riding group tend to:
    - Have been through several level 1 track days already (with RideSmart or other track organization) and ride at a level that is appropriate for this riding group (clarified in the following point).
    - Have obtained a recommendation from a RideSmart Level 1 instructor, which indicate that they have demonstrated sufficient skills and etiquette to allow them to ride in the intermediate group.
    - Be comfortable with riding in groups of riders that are in close proximity to each other.
    - Have no problem with being passed at a high level of speed and in close proximity.

    Requirements for this group include one's ability to have good, predictable race lines throughout the track, ability to exercise good judgment as it relates to passing others on the track (proper proximity to others, pace), demonstrated comfort while riding at high speeds on the track, as well as having been to several level 1 RideSmart events (or with other organizations).

    All riders in LEVEL 2 group ride MUST observe all rules that apply to LEVEL 2 riders. NO EXCEPTIONS.

    People in this riding group have:
    - Demonstrated to a RideSmart Level 2 instructor sufficient skills and etiquette to be able to ride in the ADVANCED group.
    - Already attended many track days with RideSmart (or another track day organization in the country).
    - No problems with being passed in very close proximity, on the inside or outside of turn, and have no issues with riding in rider groups that are clustered together.
    - No issues with riding conditions that may simulate race conditions on the track.

    Requirements for this group include ability to ride and execute maneuvers at high speeds, proper passing etiquette at high speeds, good, tight lines throughout the track, having already attended many track events with RideSmart or other track organization.
    Many riders in this group possess a race license issued by one of the country's race organizations. It is not a requirement for this level, however it can serve as an indicator of the type of riding one may expect to see during a typical track event.

    LEVEL 3 - ADVANCED is an OPEN PRACTICE group, which means licensed racers may use this time to practice for upcoming events. The standing rule for this level is that one rides courteously enough to ensure not to put other riders' health/life in jeopardy. Riders in this group will likely experience simulated race conditions at some point during the sessions.


    People in this riding group have:
    - Met same criteria as riders within the Level 3 - ADVANCED group.
    - Wish to get special attention and instruction from Ty Howard, in order to fine tune their already acquired advanced riding skills.

    Riders enrolled in this class share track time with the Level 3 - ADVANCED group riders. They do receive specialized class instruction from Ty Howard and/or one of his assistants.

    So how do you choose? Honestly. Read the classifications above and honestly place yourself into one of the groups, where you have the best fit.

    Some may ask for lap times as a gauge for registration for a particular group. We tend to think of lap times as one of several gauges that help to classify a rider, not as a sole measure of one's capability.
    As a good gauge, if you are new to riding track or new to riding a particular track, start in level 1.
    As the day goes on, you can always ask an instructor to evaluate you. If the instructor agrees that your skills and riding belong to the next level up, and if we do have space within that group on that day, you will have no issues with moving up.

    It is much easier and safer for you to start in a lower group. Starting in a higher group may have other undesirable/painful consequences.
    If you start in level 2, and find that you over exaggerated your riding ability to yourself, you may ask to be dropped down to the slower group. That generally is not a problem, however there may be times when you would request to be dropped down, but there is no space for you in the lower group. In that case you will be prevented from further participation in track sessions. This means you would be going home early for that day.

    It is very critical that each and every one of you honestly select a group that you need to ride in.
    If for some reason the group you intended to be in is sold out, please do not attempt to register for other levels in hopes that you will just bump up/down later on. This may not be possible due to space restrictions.

    It is highly advisable that you start making your track day plans as early as you can. RideSmart has experienced a tremendous growth in customers. We sincerely thank all of you for your support, but we do ask that you make your track day plans a few weeks in advance. Not doing so can cause you to have to postpone your plans due to lack of space. Knowing well in advance will give you a chance to carefully plan all aspects of the event, and will ultimately translate into a very successful and fun day.

    If for any reason you are still not sure what level to sign up for, please feel free to call us at 512.469.9491. We can get to speak to you and maybe get a better feel for your riding habits, etc, and may help you in choosing your optimal group.

    It is a great honor to have each and every one of you with our school, and we take great pride in knowing that you chose us as your track provider.
    If there is anything we can do to make your track events a total and complete success, let us know any time.

    Take care, and have a good next track event.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010


    I know that RideSmart also provides an Advanced Riders course and I've heard a lot of great feedback from riders who have taken it for those of you interested.
    "Speed is your friend"
    -Guy Martin

    CMRA #956

    08 Honda CBR 1000RR (soon to be my next track bike)
    06 Kawasaki Ninja ZX6R(track bike)
    06 Kawasaki Ninja 250r (track bike)
    04 Honda Ruckus 49cc (pit bike)
    05 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited
    03 BMW 325i (Gift from my man!)

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