For me, track-days don’t happen year-round, so when they do the idea of rain in the forecast is enough to make a gmork sweat. You begin to question whether it’s worth the trip, set up in the rain, while spending some dedicated time underneath your 10x10ft canopy. 👇
Keep in mind rain alone is not a qualifier to get a refund. Unlike Baseball and Nascar, motorcycles race in the rain. ✊
Let’s discuss some of the reasons I’ll attend a track day, even with the gloomiest forecasts.
Top reasons to show up on a rain track day
It should be said, coaches and racers alike say riding in the rain has helped increase their confidence and skill to go faster in the dry. I actually support this, though typically I won't ride in the rain, I'll share more about why I don't later on.
But first, why show up in the first place!
- It may not rain. As simple as this sounds, I’ve experienced some of the best track days when the forecast called for rain, though not a drop fell. Or perhaps the morning was rained out, but the afternoon was sunny and amazing. The mention of rain tends to deter other riders from showing up, which means when it doesn’t rain you have that much more track to yourself!
- You're likely not getting a refund. Track days rarely get canceled due to rain, since you certainly could ride in the rain. Huge amounts of lightning & tornados are required to fully cancel a track-day.
- There will be riders ripping laps in the rain on their motorcycles. Even if you don’t set up anything, pack an umbrella and be impressed at what some riders do in a full downpour, 🤯
- Spend the day talking shop at the track! Walk around and introduce yourself to others, talk about their bike, any tips to get faster, and who’s brave enough to go out in the rain?
Of course, if you have rain tires or even street DOT tires with decent tread you could still head out on the track. Keep the speeds slower, and focus on the fundamentals: lines, vision, and being smooth on the throttle.
Why don’t I ride in the rain?
When I was first getting started in the Novice group, I did venture out on track a couple of times in the rain. Encouraged by the very comments above that riding in the rain will help make you a better rider, and damn-it I want to be a better rider.
I had my share of butt pucker moments, I will admit it does teach you to be incredibly smooth on the throttle.
For me, it wasn’t worth the risk. I know (gasp!)
If racing motorcycles were my career, I wouldn’t hesitate to ride in the rain. Knowing I had backup bikes, and support to keep me on the track in the case of an off. I fully believe you’ll learn a lot about yourself and the capabilities of the machine in the wet.
This is not to say I'm curious what it would be like to pick up a set of rains and rip around in the wet. Perhaps one day I still might!
In the end, while I typically won’t venture out anymore if the track is wet, I do still show up and have a great time whether it's wet or dry. Simply enjoying the time being at the track, surrounded by folks just as hyped about this sport as I am.