Gotham Ducati Track Day at NJMP

My boys from Gotham Ducati in NYC are joining me at the track today.  James showed up after dinner last night, but Jerry and Tommy got in late. They decided to ride down, and didn't get in till after midnight and unbelievably, they rode down from NYC.
Harlem Superbike School OGs

New Jersey Motorsports Park NJMP with EvolveGT Track Days


How to pack for a motorcycle track day

Racing motorcycles is a ton of fun, but requires a good bit of preparation.  It's awful to wait for weeks for a track day, then drive several hours to NJMP or NYST to find that you've forgotten something essential important or essential.  I've put together the following pack list to remind myself what to bring along to a track day, but maybe you might find it helpful as well.

Track Day Basics

A bike: You should prep your bike and make sure it's running smoothly BEFORE leaving for the track.  If not, you'll fail tech inspection, and not be able to ride.  Most riders safety wire parts of the bike that might come loose during a track day, like an oil filter and bolts, which especially if you ride a twin (like a Ducati), often untorque due to vibration.

Riding gear: Most racetracks require full leathers (at least zipped together), and though you can rent gear, it won't fit nearly as well as something of your own, and I highly recommend adding a back protector if your suit doesn't already equipped. Most tracks also require "gauntlet" style gloves and race boots, and a decent helmet.

Another thing you'll discover is how useful an undersuit is.  Unless the seasons are just changing, you will sweat, and leather is difficult to get on and off. 

Casual gear is also very important as well, as you'll have a bit of down time between sessions.  I usually bring gym shorts and flip-flops at the least to relax when I'm not in the middle of a lap. 

A tire pressure sensor gauge. Tire pressure can be a matter of life or death, so check with your manufacturer and run the recommended settings.  Tires also heat up over the course of the day, so measure between every session in the mornings.

Painters tape will be required to cover your headlights and any other glass / plastic bits that might shatter if you go down. 

Water Hydration is the key to most sports, and motorcycle racing is no different.  You'll sweat a lot, and need more water than usual, and there probably won't be fountains when you're going. 

Track Day Essentials

Pop up canopy I cannot stress that a pop up is not a luxury; it is needed to not be miserable sitting in the hot sun.  You'll want to relax as well, so a cheap folding camping chair can be bought for $25-30.  
                                                                        Gas can Whether you're running 93 or 101 octane gase, if you're pushing hard, you will go through more than one tank of gas, and very few tracks have on-site filling stations. 
Tools Bring a ratchet set and a set of Allen keys at the very least should you need to make some quick adjustments to your bike.  Duct tape and zip ties eternally useful to have on hand as well.  To be on the safe side, chain lube and brake fluid can also be really useful as well. 

Earplugs Even if your bike isn't super loud, other peoples bikes will thunder in your head. 

Cooler Stay hydrated and power up.  Nothing is so nice as a cold gatorade, or a cold beer at the end of a track day. 

Toiletries are also a "must have" if you're going over night.  I might also include ibuprofen, sunscreen and some towels as well. 

Track Day Optional

Camera I bring my GoPro to each track day, to check my lines but also keep track of my lap times (and it's cheaper than a lap timer). Plus, I get some pretty great footage. 

A tent is awesome if you can camp at the track, but don't forget a sleeping bag, a pad, and cooking gear as well, including utensils and such. 

Fold out tables are great as well, if you have the room.  I use the back of my truck to stash my helmet and my phone, but I wish I had a poker table. 

Track Day Advanced

A generator can power a fan or a grill, or an air compressor for your tires. 

Tire warmers allow you to start doing hot laps immediately, but you'll need power (see above) and front and rear stands.

Lap timers  are mostly used by the pro, but incredibly helpful to measure your pace throughout the day, if you don't want to go back and go thru video footage later. 
Spare tires, brake pads

© 2017 Tigh Loughhead

Gotham at ProItalia in Glendale California

 For reasons that haven't been resolved yet, I haven't posted about our ride to California to celebrate Jon's bachelor party.

Rockwell Cycles Track Day at NYST

My goal is 10 track days this season... a weekend per month.
Tigh Loughhead of Gotham Ducati Racing Motorcycles at New York Safety Track
Credit: Anthony Collins Photography

Harlem Superbike School

Every weekend, when the mercury rises above 60 degrees, my boys and I are out at sunrise to participate in a ritual we like to call Harlem Superbike School.

We wake up around 4:30 or 5

Racing Ducati 848s at New York Safety Track


Tigh Loughhead of Gotham Ducati rides an 848 at New York Safety Track
My buddy Jeff and I had been planning on racing Ducati Motorcycles at New York Safety Track for months now, having joined a race outfit called EvolveGT back on Black Friday last year, which gives discounts on track days.

848 1098 1198 Track Day Motorcycle Tire Prep at New York Motor Works

Back at Jeff's New York Motor Works. I'm itching to get to the track, but I need new tires.

Ducati New York Grand Opening in Soho

Last night I had the opportunity to attend Ducati's official "Grand Opening" in Soho.   Ducati Soho (the moniker by which the shop is more colloquially known) has been around for years, but the owner of Ducati’s most prolific franchise decided last year to divest the Triumph brand from his lineup, becoming Ducati’s flagship dealership globally.
Tigh Loughhead and Jorge Lorenzo at Ducati New York Grand Opening in Soho

Gotham Ducati NYC Desmo Owners Club

Introducing Gotham Ducati, New York City's first and only DOC officially sponsored by the Ducati factory in Italy.  There are numerous riding and social clubs, as well as groups built around track days around the tri-state area.  There also quite a few Ducati fan clubs, spanning New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but until now, there hasn't ever been a dedicated club celebrating New Yorkers who ride Ducati motorcycles.
Gotham DOC DOCNYC New York Ducati Owners Club Manhattan Desmo NYC

Track Weapon: Ducshop 848 1098 1198 Race Bike


SoCal 5: Ducati Westlake in Thousand Oaks


Although my situation could have been better (result of the at the end of this post), the first think you notice when you arrive at Ducati Westlake is that the motorcycle shop is nestled in between a Maserati and a Bentley dealership.
The size of the outfit is impressive, sitting on a parking lot filled with gift-wrapped luxury automobiles, and driving in, you really feel like you have reached the Los Angeles suburbs of Southern California.

SoCal 4: Desperately Scrambling Down to Los Angeles on a Bad Bike

I am loath to disparage other motorcyclists.  Riding is a small community, and yet there are certain transgressions that are unforgivable, and this happened today when Mo at EagleRider San Francisco put me on an unsafe bike that nearly killed me due to his neglect.


SoCal 2: Desmoto San Francisco

Just as I had stumbled on the fabled Munroe Motors (Ducati San Francisco) last year while at Dreamforce, I wandered by a shop this year overflowing with Italian Motorcycles which turned out to be Desmoto.

Walking around the Mission looking for a Best Buy (so I could find a card-reader to download my GoPro videos riding),

I happened to pass by a Cycle Gear and Desmoto.

I struck up a conversation with the service manager Brien, and even though he didn't ride Ducs,
he told me that Desmoto specializes in all types of European machines, from service to restoration to race-tuning.
 There were race farings and Italian machines everwhere, like this 850GT Moto Guzzi sitting next to a Ducati Monster.
 In addition, there were a whole slew of trophies and posters from years past.
 Brien told me that the space had gotten incredibly expensive, and was slated to move to Portrero sometime in the coming months.
 I told him about my upcoming trip,
 and my plans to try and hit Yellowstone before heading south towards LA.
 Brien also knew Patty (with whom I was going to hang out with the next day) and Mo, from whom I was renting a Ducati, who he claimed had hid bikes serviced at Desmoto, though not too frequently as I was about to learn in over the next few days.
© 2017 Tigh Loughhead

SoCal 1: Ducati at Dreamforce

SoCal 3: Desmo Silicon Valley and Alices Restaurant

Last year, I had a quite a bit of awesome route guidance from friends who had lived or ridden the West Coast, but none better than from someone I had not met yet named Patty, introduced to me by a local friend Sandro, who helps to run DESMO on the East Coast.
Selfie Photo Credit: Patty

MV Agusta Edition: Tail of the Dragon


Tigh Loughhead rides Ducati Streetfighter Motorcycles at the Tail of the Dragon North Carolina
Motorcycles are one of the best things to ever happen to me...

MV Agusta Edition: Cherohala Skyway

Today was one of those halcyon motorcycling days that I'll see in my memory in sepia-tones for the rest of my life. 
I finally got a chance to ride the Tail of the Dragon and Cherohala Skyway. 

MV Agusta Edition: Gapalicious Thursday


A few weeks ago, I had an utter fail at the Tail, where I broke my key in Georgia the day I was finally intending to ride the famed Tail of the Dragon.  I've wanted to ride this stretch of Route 129 for years, ever since I left two friends in Asheville headed to Cherohala en route across the country on Italian Ducati and Aprilia superbikes.

Fail at the Tail


I've wanted to do the Tail of the Dragon for years... The Tail of the Dragon is one of the few motorcycle trips on my bucket list (besides maybe the Bavarian Alps) that I haven't ridden before.
If you don't know, the Tail spans a vertiginous 308 turns in 11 miles from North Carolina to Tennessee,  nestled in between the Smokey Mountains and the Cherokee National Forest, and which is widely considered one of the riding Meccas in the United States.

9th Annual Brooklyn Invitational Custom Motorcycle Show 2017

I stopped by North 14th Street with my buddy Eric last weekend for my fifth consecutive year attending the Brooklyn Invitational.
If you don't know, the Brooklyn Invitational Custom Motorcycle Show is a custom bike show in Greenpoint, Brooklyn each year, started less than a decade by custom motorcycle-builder Keino Sasaki, artist John Copeland and photographer Jeffrey Schad.

IMOC 2017 34th Annual Italian Motorcycle Owners Club Rally

Looking back through my Google photos, and I can't believe I never posted pics from IMOC 2017.

I had missed last year, but had been to IMOC 2015 rally with the East Coast Ducs in 2015,

Back on the Blue Ridge Parkway

One of the greatest motorcycle trips I ever rode was a trip down the Blue Ridge Parkway about three and a half years ago.  Back then, riding my M600 Ducati Monster, I'd attempt to keep up with two friends riding the first 899 Panigale ever imported to the United States, and a brand new Aprilia Tuono.

Best of Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum

If you consider yourself a motorcycle-sort of person, then a trip to Barber will become more of a religious experience than an educational trip to a museum.

Riding a 1980 Ducati 900SD Darmah vs 1981 Moto Guzzi CX100 Le Mans

Last week I was down in PA, belatedly celebrating a bday, and my buddy Alex asked if I wanted to try riding a couple of his vintage Italian motorcycles.  Now I've long lusted after the 1980 Ducati 900SD Darmah and 1981 Moto Guzzi CX100 Le Mans that sat in his garage, so I grabbed my GoPro and headed over to Giegertown. 

RideHVMC Track Day during the Solar Eclipse at New York Safety Track

After the DESMO BBQ, a few Desmo and East Coast Duc members Glenn, Melissa, Michael and I were going to head up a few hours north to Harpersfield, to New York Safety Track, one of the favorite racetracks for speedy motorcyclists.


Sunset at Safety Track

DESMO Ducati Owner's Club 17th Annual BBQ and Bike Show

This will be my fifth consecutive barbecue and bike show since joining DESMO, the New York and Tri-State area's officially recognized Ducati Owner's Club.

I've included a BBQ and bike recap of each of the previous four years below:

2013 Desmo Ducati Owners Club Annual BBQ 

2014 The 14th Annual Desmo BBQ 

2015 The 15th Annual DESMO BBQ

2016 DESMO DOC's 16th Annual BBQ

The Simple Beauty of Walt Siegl Motorcycles Bol dOr MV Agusta

I saw this bike a few years ago, and was profoundly struck with its beauty, even though I didn't know a thing about one of greatest custom motorcycle fabricators at the time.
Walt Siegl might be greatest living Ducati builder alive, designing and manufacturing super-light custom Ducatis (Leggeros), and his precise aesthetic turns already-beautiful machines into something transcendent (in this writer's humble opinion).
Although I was only peripherally aware of the WSM brand at the time, I was awestruck by this highly-modified MV Agusta Brutale triple when I saw it at the Brooklyn Invitational Custom Motorcycle Show a couple summers back, that I learned was part of Walt Siegl's "Bol d'Or" series.
I recall wishing that I had a better camera to capture the beauty of this machine, and I later learned that the bodywork and custom subframe weigh just 8.5lbs.  Known sometimes more for the appearance of his beautiful bikes, Siegl is an engineer and ex-racer, who knows modifications impacting power-to-weight ratio are much more useful than fancy farings, as sublime as they may be.  This Bol d'Or comes in at nearly a hundred pounds lighter than the factory Brutale.
 Walt Siegl builds out of Harrisville, New Hampshire, and is currently working on a couple Ducati projects using prototype aircraft-grade steel.
 I someday hope I can afford one of these machines, which I hear start at about $50,000,  and are backordered for quite some time, but until then... I'll just be happy that bikes this beautiful actually exist.


© 2017 Tigh Loughhead

20th Century Cycles | Billy Joels Motorcycle Collection in Oyster Bay Long Island

I finally got a chance to check out Billy Joel's motorcycle museum in Oyster Bay, Long Island! 

Filipacchi New York

I had a chance to stop into a new motorcycle and riding apparel store called Filipacchi a few months back, and though I was quick to Instagram the moment at the time, I just realized I never posted anything about this great new store.
Although I think they're licensed as a Ural dealer, I noticed the Cleveland CycleWerks cafe racer in the window walking around Soho in the spring rain, on the way to my friend's (and fellow Ducati enthusiast's) fintech event called Empire State Startups Conference at Webster Hall.
Filipacchi sells paintball apparel and outdoor sporting equipment, but their main focus it seems is motorcycles and riding gear, like this customized-yet-affordable cafe racer from Cleveland CycleWerks below.  This hip 500cc single comes in at around $5,000, which isn't a bad alternative to spending that much restoring a CB500 from the 1970's

The store is cool and the staff are super-helpful, so if you're wandering around Nolita near Spring St and the Bowery, go stop by: 

23 Prince St, New York, NY 10012

© 2017 Tigh Loughhead

Ducati Motorcycles of Italian Sporting Bikes of the 70s Bike show


 I had been out really early this morning, riding all around White Plains and 22 up into Connecticut, first with a couple of friends, and then with a bunch of East Coast Ducs as well.  But, I broke off early, as Moto Borgotaro had organized a couple of private collectors to do a classic 1970's Italian superbike bike show in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn in concert with Union Garage and Alpinestars.

Riding the North Shore of Long Island

Tommy and I had an early morning today, meeting a few friends off Exit 48 of the LIE at 7am.  The weather was a bit foggy coming out of the city, but I made it from the Lower East Side out towards Mellville in just over half-an-hour.

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