Track Day Close Call: CASE STUDY

Track Day Close Call - Case Study

This video has been making the rounds on the internet recently and I thought it would make a good candidate for a case study. Videos of situations like this give us the opportunity to learn valuable lessons from others’ experiences.

As I said in a previous case study on target fixation,

the best way to handle a panic situation is to have already decided how you are going to handle it”.

So let’s take a look!

Now, before I tell you what I think, take a minute to answer these questions:

What did the lead rider do well? How about the follow rider? The rider who crashed?
What (if anything) should they have done differently?

What lesson(s) can you take away from this near miss?

Thankfully the lead rider, a Keigwins instructor, reported that the rider who crashed walked away un-injured and no one ran into his bike, but if I were him I would have had to change into some clean underwear.

Here is what I noticed from the video:

  1. The lead rider made a large, noticeable gesture, slowed down well before the incident, and easily avoided the downed rider.
  2. The follow rider reacted to the signal and slowed down before reaching the incident but BARELY missed hitting the downed rider.
  3. The rider who crashed began to get up and was facing oncoming traffic.

RIDE WITHIN YOUR LIMITS

The thing that I think both riders did very well in this situation is they rode UNDER 100%. Riding well within their ability level gave them some buffer in order to deal with situations like this. It allowed them to keep their focus well ahead of them and gave them time and mental capacity to react to unexpected circumstances.

Even though it was a very close call due to the blind corner and the follow rider’s vision being blocked until the last second, he still had enough time to react and avoid disaster.

When you ride at 100% it takes your FULL attention just to maintain your pace and keep yourself on the track with the rubber side down. In my opinion you should NEVER ride at 100%. Ever. I don’t care if you are battling a buddy at a track day, trying to get a killer GoPro video for your YouTube fans, or racing for a championship, none of those things is worth your life or the life of a fellow rider.

Most of us (myself included) are guilty of this from time to time, but being able to recognize it when it happens and knowing what the consequences could be may just save you from having to learn this lesson the hard way.

TO MOVE, OR NOT TO MOVE

The other thing I would like to discuss is whether or not you should move out of the way when you crash or stay put. I have heard both points argued convincingly and I believe the correct answer is: it depends. Here are some guidelines I would recommend, but I would love to hear what you think.

When to move:

  • You are directly in an impact zone
  • You are on the track but in a blind section
  • There is a gap between you and the next rider behind you

When to stay put:

  • You are injured
  • There are riders directly behind you

How you ever been in a situation like this? Did you move or not? What happened? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

Thanks for reading and ride safe!

  • Victor Henderson

    Fantastic bit of advice. My favorite bit that I have not really thought about. “NEVER ride at 100%. Ever. ” Very very true. If I do ride at 100 percent what IS left to avoid jacking up my life or somebody elses in the case of events such as above. Cheers…

    • Exactly! Always leave something in reserve and live to ride another day.