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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

After buying a Toyota Tacoma back in April, I finally got my truck on the road. One of the reasons I bought a truck was to be able to throw a bike in the back and go anywhere, and I've been eager for a motorcycle adventure.  I've felt a sort of plateau in my riding ability, and I've felt a pull to either take up dirt riding or track racing as a means of improving my skills.

Last weekend, my girlfriend was out of town, and I had planned on a trip to Canada; then Vermont, but both locales were inundated with thunderstorms, and I cancelled plans. So when a friend Melissa posted a note on Facebook about a track day the following weekend with #RideHVMC, I signed up immediately.
I had been to NYST a couple years ago, when my buddy Chris and I actually rode up from NYC for a track day on our Ducati 996 and 998.  The track is in the middle of nowhere in Upstate New York, about 20 minutes from Oneonta high in the Catskills.  NYST has a real family feel to it, and it's far less formal or regulated than other tracks due to it's relatively recent construction, though many people hope it remains a hidden gem for years to come.

#RideHVMC (Hudson Valley Motorcycles), led by AMA Champion Richie Alexander and MotoAmerica Panigale-phenom Corey Alexander, host track days a few months a year over the summer, where they rent out the entire track for the day under the umbrella of a bona fide racing team.   The result is a much smaller and intimate group of largely Ducati riders, who are more concerned about technique and skill than stuffing other fellow riders in the curves.  It's a great atmosphere and an even better group of individuals, and I highly recommend the experience. 
Leaving the BBQ around 4:30, Glenn, Melissa and Michael had booked a hotel room, but I was meeting another buddy Raul to camp at the track for the night.  
We arrived around 7, and met up with a few other DESMO members; then  Raul and I pitched tents trackside in the dying light, and headed out to Applebee's for dinner, arriving only a few minutes before the 10:00pm curfew when they lock the gates. 
Despite my tiny backpacking tent (which interestingly enough I bought to tour-camp in my ST3) and heavy dew, I slept fantastically and got up around 7am. 
 Everything was soggy but my spirit, and I was excited not only to get out onto the track,
 but also to do a session during the solar eclipse, which if nothing else would make this day an extremely memorable experience.
I had forgotten coffee, painter's tape, earplugs and chain wax,  but luckily my friend Raul had my back, and was up shortly after I woke up. 
 However, I couldn't be happier with this little truck I had bought, which comfortably hauls my Ducati Streetfighter 1098S.
 Although, I do need to take some amount of ironic pride that the bike in the back makes more horsepower than the entire truck, that likely weights four or five times the size.
 My first foray backing the bike down my ramps was a little hairy, though I think I'll get the hang of it eventually.  I then proceed to tape down any glass pieces of the bike (lights, turn signals, etc.),
 and then proceed to help Raul out with his sexy black Ducati 848.
 Riders meeting was at 8:30, and we prepared for a 9am run.  I had done 15 minute sessions at NYST in the past,
 but #RideHVMC blocked out three sessions, first for cars at the top of the hour; beginners and intermediate riders at twenty past, then expert riders at twenty of.
 I got a bit nervous about my tire pressure, and no one had a compressor, so I ran over the #RideHVMC trailer and waited till a couple kids got a Ducati 1299 Superleggera's tire pressure just about perfect, and came close to missing the start of my first session.

© 2017 Tigh Loughhead


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