Motorcycle racing, riding skills and technique, moto kids & parenting

Mistakes New Track Riders Make, and How to Avoid Them.

Mistake Number 1- Overestimating Your Abilities

The most common mistake that riders make is thinking that they are faster and/or more capable than they really are.  Their focus is on appearing fast so they put themselves in the Fast Group (when they should really be in the Intermediate Group), and then ride above their skill level.


Be honest with yourself about your abilities and your experience level and when in doubt, sign up for the slower group.

Mistake Number 2- Arriving Unprepared

Arriving at the track unprepared causes extra stress and can waste valuable track time. Understand the requirements that the track day company or school has laid out. If you are supposed to tape your headlights and remove your mirrors then have that done ahead of time.

Bring good tires, a fueled bike, all your good quality protective gear, extra gas, tools, food, plenty of water, chairs, shelter, sunscreen, and ask questions immediately if you have them.


Mistake Number 3- Trying To Go Fast

Trying to go fast on an unfamiliar track quickly is a recipe for a crash.

Take the time to learn and get comfortable with the track. Work on a skill or a technique each time out and when you come into the pits, draw the track and everything you can remember about it on a piece of blank paper.   This will help you learn and remember the track more quickly.

Listen to the instructors or track officials, don’t try to keep up with other riders, don’t try to go fast, and don’t bother with lap times just yet.  Your speed will pick up when you aren’t trying too go fast.


Mistake Number 4- Braking in the Middle of a Turn

Entering a turn too fast and then grabbing the brakes mid corner is probably the number one cause of new rider crashes.  If you set your entry speed correctly, you should never have to reach for your brake lever mid corner.


It is better to go into a turn too slowly and exit fast with good throttle control then it is to go in too fast and make drastic mid corner mistakes.

Mistake Number 5- Abrupt Throttle Changes

Being on and off the gas and jerky with the throttle causes an unstable bike and unpredictable lines.

Good throttle control starts with being smooth with the controls.  Roll on and off the gas smoothly and evenly and remember that once you get on the gas in a corner you should continue to roll it on throughout the remainder of the turn.


Mistake Number 6- Target Fixation

Staring at the rear wheel of the rider in front of you, at a cone, or at the dirt on the edge of the track is inevitably going to make you ride right towards it.

Make sure you are looking where you want to go.  Try to force your eyes to look past other riders and obstacles to where you actually want the bike to end up and avoid tunnel vision.


Mistake Number 7- Looking Behind You

When riding on a track for the first time, a lot of riders worry that they are holding up people behind them or getting in their way and they will look behind them and try to move over so others can pass.

It is the riders responsibility behind you to pass safely and you are much more predictable when you ride your own ride and hold your line.


Avoid the temptation to look behind you and concentrate on maintaining a steady line.

Mistake Number 8- Trying Too Hard

Don’t try too hard to ride fast or perfectly, and don’t beat yourself up if you do make a mistake. Ride safe and remember to Have Fun!!




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4 Responses to “Mistakes New Track Riders Make, and How to Avoid Them.”

  1. Damon (Kuroshio)

    There’s a biggun missing: Cold Tires. Most new riders don’t have warmers and forget to get some heat in their tires at start

  2. Chris (csmith12)

    I like your list Misti but since so many track day orgs in my area do not offer a school component, I think the #1 mistake that new track riders make is not utilizing the control riders enough. For various reasons, they just don’t ask enough questions or don’t know what questions to ask. I really like #8 too.

    Great article!

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