I feel wretched. I’ve just pulled on a set of leathers for the first time, and nerves – those deep, bubbling in the pit of your stomach nerves – only swell with each rise of the zip, much as I imagine they’ll do with each button of the shirt on my wedding day. Car trackdays are something I adore. But the prospect of my first ever bike trackday makes me want to throw up into the nearest bin.
Minutes later I’m grinning so much I think I’m going to crack the helmet I’ve been lent by the nice people at Donington Park clean in two. I’m not sure I’ll ever switch from full stomach-evacuation fear to unbridled joy so quickly again.
Weeks before my visit to Ron Haslam Race School I was doddering about on a 125cc bike during my CBT test. Clambering aboard a comparatively heavy and rather serious-feeling 500cc Honda CB500F in the pit lane of a track I’ve never even driven suddenly feels the equivalent of going from dipping my feet in an inflatable paddling pool to swimming the English Channel. In a storm.
But on bikes, as in cars, a bit of speed and power makes sense of everything. The CB500F’s 47bhp may be less than a base VW Up, but it’s plenty on your first bike trackday. The doddering has gone, and within a couple of corners I’m shifting my weight around in a way the wobbly idiot me I sent along to the CBT didn’t even dare dream of.
“Race School was probably the wrong choice of words because we get a lot of people who say ‘I’m not a racer’,” says Ron. “I was finishing my racing career and I wanted to really help people out, people that were on the road who wanted to have a go on the track. Those who are new to bikes, or returning to them later in life.”......
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