As riders, we all have our goals, dreams and those things we just really want to do. For me, that was racing. In late July, I finally managed to make it to a race weekend and complete my first race ever. It was a bit of a thrill, followed only a few weeks later by my second race.
For those who have tried trackdays and enjoyed them, you’ve had the chance to get the feel of the track and how amazing it is…but it doesn’t compare to a race. There’s something special about being out there, you, your bike – and your competition. Everything else in the world ceases to exist, and you are suspended in those moments with no thoughts of anything else. The highs (and lows) make the rest of life boring in comparison.
Finishing that first race was great – I hadn’t been very fast due a number of factors, but I finished safely and relaxed which had been my goal. The week following, however, I became less happy with simply finishing – let’s be honest, people don’t choose to race to be at the back of the pack. Granted, there’s always someone back there, but we don’t WANT that. Knowing I hadn’t pushed left me less thrilled than I had been the day of the race. At least there was next time!
The next race was everything I had imagined racing to be. No, I didn’t win, but I did at least podium. I wasn’t battling for first place, either, as there are still significant areas where I could improve my times. I did, however, take 12 seconds off my previous race pace, and set a new personal best on any bike. It was definitely the fastest I’ve taken my current bike around. That weekend has left a smile on my face that has lasted until today. It was a good day, and I felt great about what I did and where I can take it.
Trackdays are fun, but there’s something different about a race that sets it apart from anything else I’ve experienced on two wheels. Between battling to better yourself, best your competition and finish the race itself, you are living life right then and there in a way most people can only imagine.
In the words of the late Marco Simoncelli: “You live more for 5 minutes going fast on a bike than other people do in all of their life.”
We may be bike poor, a little crazy, and just plain nuts sometimes, but in my very limited experience thus far, there’s nothing like racing a motorcycle!