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Tigho Track Day | NYDUCATI at New York Safety Track

The goofy author of this blog...

 My buddy Chris and I have twin Ducati superbikes.  Chris pushed me over the edge and helped me buy my 996, then was apparently a little envious of the bikes beauty, and bought a 998 a month later.
 Chris is also a big track rider, and like many of my racier friends, has been evangelizing about the awesome experience that is the race track.
 So, last weekend, he persuaded me to just ride up with him and get a feel for New York Safety track.
 Harpersfield, New York is about 165 miles and about four hours away from NYC though, but we were determined to ride, planning on finding a hotel that night to rest our weary bones.
 We tore out of the city shortly after 7am, determined to make good time....
 Chris has a season pass, and is friendly with the owners, so he thought he could argue me into a session or two...
 We made good time, but were too late for Chris to make the morning session, though we got there just in time for lunch, though the seasoned pros thought we were crazy to ride a couple hundred miles, THEN hop on the racetrack-
We hung out in Todd's tent, who own's Heroic Racing, who is a helluva nice guy, not to mention a serious craftsman of bespoke racing suits, jackets, gloves and more.
After lunch, I talked to XX, who agreed to let me ride for the afternoon sessions for a reasonable fee.
 Now, I've ridden with a number of racers for years, and consider myself a fairly strong, reasonably technical rider.
 Like a delusional teenager, I believed that my technical prowess would be immediately recognized, and that I'd probably test out of novice almost immediately... I couldn't have been more wrong.
 I think I probably exhibited a bit of that bravado to the coach, as he tore off down the track, and the first couple laps scared the living shit out of me.
 NYST has a couple of blind turns, and I didn't ease my way in, as a beginner should.  It took me a another couple of laps to let my nerves settle down.
 So much of racing is about grace, rather than the raw power of the bike, of which my liter-bike has plenty.
 I was kind of shocked how many seasoned racers took yoga, modern-dance and hip-hop, and flexibility and rhythm are so much more useful than force in terms of lap time.
 Bravery is fundamental, but I'm a bit ashamed to admit that I was passed not only by young girls (who didn't even have motorcycle licenses), but by 125cc pit bikes in my first session.
 In retrospect, I think I was also deathly afraid of dropping my timeless 996, which is a huge impediment to pushing the bike to its limit.
 At the same time, I settled into the track, and once I learned the course, I could feel myself growing in confidence.
 I could feel myself getting faster, and finally appreciate what friends had been selling for year.
 Riding on the track is truly liberating, in a way that going 150 down the highway can never be, since you are subject to so many other dangerous factors in the form of the imperfections of the road, traffic and wariness of others' stupidity, care for the bike itself, and just distraction in general.
 After our sessions, emotionally exhausted but still willfully exhilarated, Chris and I made the rather insane decision to take the return trip all the way back to Manhattan.
We rode all the way back straight, and sorely limped into the Ear Inn for a drink , which promptly intoxicated these two joyous journeymen past the point of where we should have been, but we both made it home safely; beaten up and completely exhausted. 

© 2015 Tigh Loughhead


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