I sit here over the winter break waiting for the right time to start prepping my bike for next season I think back to some of the earlier track days.

I was fortunate to have a large group of friends that I knew when I started, one of them my cousin. Going to a Motorcycle Track Day Thunderbolt, there were a lot of us, some fast and some slow. Reaching 8-12 riders at times, we rented garages together and formed a great collective so to speak, a large group of friends who shared the same passions and interests. We did motorcycle track days Thunderbolt together. Reflecting back, I realize how fortunate I was, allowing me to meet a lot of great people, that normally would have not happened. Many of them are still part of our group and continue to have a great time together even years later. Our group was always looking for new people to ride with and be part of the experience so we could share the thrill and excitement we got from riding together. How fast you were, what you rode, none of it mattered, all were welcome. Having a few fast guys riding with us such as Bob Heinz, James Shepherd, Chris Starke… always willing to help anybody learn and share their passion, consistently made us grow together and increase the fun level at every turn. One thing I noticed by being around them all the time was they knew all the fast guys, all the racers. The guys that you didn’t see often because they focused on racing more than Motorcycle Track Days Thunderbolt.

I have met a bunch of racers. NONE of them seemed to have any interest in talking to me. It was a terrible feeling, like I was not good enough. There seems to be a stigma about some groups of fast guys with an ego. Fortunately, the majority of them are super awesome people to be around. Sure, there are some bad apples, but let’s not throw away the whole bunch.

Once I became a coach with Evolve GT Track Days and spent more time outside of the garage with my friends I noticed more and more that there are riders that don’t seem to have the same group of friends that I had when starting out. They are there by themselves. Maybe brought their dog or significant other. Those are the people I am looking for right now to give back what I experienced years ago. I have met many new people over the past 2 years always trying to help each one like I had been helped. I am sure there are a bunch of guys with green vests on that feel the same way.

Where am I going with this? I know that the feeling I used to get when I was around a group of “fast guys” at a Motorcycle Track Day Thunderbolt, and they made me feel as though I was nobody because I didn’t have white number plates or I never lined up on a CCS grid. I want to make sure that I NEVER do that to anyone else, EVER. Sitting here with my coffee, writing this article and procrastinating even more about the winter bike prep, I hope everyone finds this read helpful. I want to reach out to all the people that feel that they don’t have a friend at the track, or anyone who wants to give it a go for their first time. Riders that think they are not fast enough, don’t have the right bike or feel they may not fit in the group, come find me. Come find my pit, ask for me. I’ll share a water or a cup of coffee, and my extra chair. I always have an extra, usually two or three. Ask me to come look at your bike, or body position. If I am not there go ask anybody in a green vest. Go find a group of coaches, or that group of fast guys that you look up to. More than likely they will talk to you and help you out. You just need to ask.

You always have a friend here during a motorcycle track day Thunderbolt with Evolve GT Track Days. Just ask. -Rich Ford

Share the Post: