by Tony Marx
Having done a few dozen track days with various organizations over the last few years I’ve found that each share a common routine which goes something like this. I show up at the track around 7am and, finding no one at the gate, continue through to the pit area keeping an eye open for anything looking like a registration table or tech area. Tech inspection is always a cursory and registration sees riders broken into slow, medium, and fast groups which will each do 20 minute sessions throughout the day. A riders meeting is called before the track is opened where track etiquette is discussed and questions are answered. In the worst cases’ this meeting is mumbled hastily by someone who’s been though the speech 100 times. In the best cases, all questions are answered before they’re asked and a follow up meeting follows in the afternoon. From there you’re often on your own for the rest of the day. It’s a standard format that works well for hundreds of track organizations across the county. But there’s always room for improvement.
Enter Colorado based TrackAddix with their unique “No Sessions” format. The concept is simple, limit the number of riders at each event and then open the track for one gigantic session from 9am-6pm interrupted only for a lunch break. With a hydration pack and a pit crew one could feasibly log eight hours of track time! Pretty impressive when you consider the twenty minute format allows two hours and twenty minutes maximum track time. One criticism of the open track format is that there can be any combination of speed and skill level on the track at any given time and to address this TrackAddix requires riders to have previous track experience for most of their events. Have your resume ready when signing up. Bikes are limited to sporting class to level the field and preparations are minimal. Tech inspection is non existent, instead putting responsibility on the rider by having them sign a release stating they will comply with bike and gear requirements.
TrackAddix has built a loyal following by offering a level of service above the industry standard. Arriving at the track I was immediately impressed being able to register at the front gate without even getting out of my truck. Upon completion, I was handed a bright yellow folder containing an itinerary, track map, suspension worksheet, and a list of trackside vendors for the event. At the riders meeting I was shocked to find free coffee, pastries, and fresh fruit which were nice because it was extremely long. Owner Dean Rumfola likes his events to run smoothly and covers everything from track specifics to plugs for event vendors and sponsors. Detail oriented nitwits like myself don’t mind long winded safety and etiquette speeches but Dean says some have criticized the practice and he will be scaling them back a bit in 2005. At every event the riders’ meeting is closed with a drawing for tires and other bike related goodies. Spend $160 for a track day and you could go home with $300 worth of tires! Fifteen minutes later, sighting laps begin for those who haven’t been to the track and the track goes hot shortly thereafter.
Being able to enter and exit the track at will truly is a unique experience and makes for a relaxing day. What one rider thinks is a mellow pass mid corner can be seen by another as a reckless move and I did talk to a few riders who were intimidated by fast, frequent passing. The format, however, allowed them to take a ten minute break and hit the track when the pace cooled down a bit and as the afternoon wore on, a bit of a rhythm developed where track speed would alternate high/low in half hour intervals. I’d rank overall speed similar to a well behaved medium group which is a compliment to the rider requirements. Of the three crashes that day, all were single rider incidents although I did see one case of bike to bike contact when a careless rider looked over his shoulder and veered into a passing bike. The only time I felt the track was really busy was at the end of the day when everyone was trying to squeeze in their last bit of riding.
With 2005 being their third season, TrackAddix is hosting seventeen dates at 4 tracks across the Midwest including the three closest to the Twin Cities which are Brainerd International Raceway, Road America, and Mid America Motorplex. They offer a mind boggling scope of services. To start with, there’s lap timer rental, suspension setup provided by Traxxion service techs, trackside tire and parts vendors, dyno services, photographers, a frequent rider program, and my favorite, the Speed Cam. For $65, a video equipped rider will follow you for 15 minutes. Footage is then edited to video or DVD and shipped to your happy hands. Mr. Speed Cam also spends a good part of the day prowling the track shooting an “Event Video” that can be purchased for $25.
There are four schools available for all levels of riders. First is a New Rider School teaching track etiquette & basic skills for going fast and being safe. A New Racer’s School adds race starts, a race license (CRA, CCS, or MRA), an eight lap race complete with trophies & prizes, free dyno run, and pit support at select race events. The New Rider/Racer Schools are the only way to attend a TrackAddix event without prior track experience.
When you’re ready to take it to the next level there’s an Advanced Rider School, where you will work one on one with an instructor in the area of your choosing, and a Suspension Tuning school to take the mystery out of setting up your bike. Classroom instructors are seasoned pros and riding instructors consist of top shelf club racers and AMA privateers.
By thinking outside the box and providing great customer service, TrackAddix is establishing itself as one of the best motorcycle track day organizations in the upper Midwest. They are the only one with dates scheduled at BIR in what may be the track’s final year of operation. Check out www.trackaddix.com for dates & details.