15 Tips for Better Track Day Passing

One of the most scary aspects for first-timers at a track day is being passed and passing.

Passing Someone

Let’s start with the responsible person in the passing situation…the passer.

Here are my top 10 tips to help track day riders learn to pass more skillfully.

Getting by someone who is significantly slower than you is rather easy…just be patient and make the pass with courtesy.

These 10 passing tips apply to all passes, but are particularly useful for the times when the rider is just a little slower than you.

  1. When passing on the brakes approaching a corner, try braking at the same spot you normally do, but brake a little lighter, rather than scaring yourself by braking later and harder.
  2. Offset your front wheel from the slower rider’s rear wheel…if they brake earlier, you can slip by…if you’re on their rear tire, you will have to slow when they slow.
  3. Most passing opportunities require you to decide early whether you will pass on the left or the right…many passing areas favor one side over the other, so plan ahead…no last second changes of plan, please.
  4. The passing rider will deviate from the ideal line to get past…kinda like moving into the passing lane on the highway. The rider being passed just stays in their “lane”.
  5. When passing after the apex to the exit on what was the inside, turn sharper to “carve” underneath… passing inside is done ONLY after the apex when the rider is standing the bike up out of the corner! SEE ILLUSTRATION.
  6. Plan to pass when the slower rider “opens the door”. This is when they move away from the edge of the track to set up for the next corner.
  7. Outside passing is okay, but Expect the “door to close” as the rider exits wide to the outside edge of the track…don’t get pinched!
  8. Get on the throttle 1/2 second earlier to gain momentum over the slower rider out of the corner….earlier, but smoothly!
  9. Look PAST the rider you want to pass. Resist locking eyes on the rider ahead. This makes it harder to get by and can lead to panicky moments if you run into a corner too fast becasue you weren’t looking ahead.
  10. Be patient! Passing is a game of strategy. Take a moment to recognize where you are faster and plan your move. You’ll have more opportunities if it doesn’t happen right away. You always have the option to get off the track and re-enter to separate yourself from a group of riders.

Remember it is the Passing Rider who is responsible for a clean and safe pass. The job or the rider being passed is to do nothing different.

No inside passing that would cause the slower rider to stand up once in the lean. Passing once the rider is past the apex and standing the bike up normally is okay.

Being Passed

Here are my top tips for Being Passed:

  1. Be predictable…do nothing different than you normally would if nobody was around you. Relax and stay on the preferred line. Stay in your lane. Passers will find their passing lane by you.
  2. Do not look behind you. I know that the lack of mirrors is disconcerting, but your job is to manage what is ahead of you, not what is behind. A loud bike may approach that may cause tension, but relax and remain predictable. Looking behind can cause you to drift off line and make it more difficult for the rider to get by you.
  3. Leave about 6 feet from the very edge of the track. We exit our corners wide, toward the outside edge of the track, but leave some space for a rider who may want to pass on the outside.
  4. Maintain your position on the straightaway…about the center of the track in many cases. Do not drift to one side to make room. A rider may be attempting a pass on that side and you will be pinching him or her.
  5. You can let people pass more easily on the straight by accelerating just a little less. Do Not go more than 5-10mph slower! That would be unpredictable, because the other riders will expect you to accelerate hard.

Basically, your job is to ride your own ride, meaning that you should do what you would do if nobody were around. Stay on the proper line and brake and accelerate as normal.

Before you know it, you won’t pay any attention to riders behind you.


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