Name: Jim McPolin
Hometown: St. Charles, IL
Profession: Retail and Financial IT
Motovid Role/Position: Control Rider
Bike(s): Gen 1 SV650, Gen 4 ZX-10R
Favorite Track(s): Mugello, Grattan, but BHF is home!
On the track since: …forever.
I’ve been riding since forever and have been a Control Rider for Motovid ALMTD for about 6 years now…and I no longer ride on the street.
I’ve done track days and racing, but I consider myself rather a dedicated student of the sport. Riding gives me the motivation to pursue all the activities around and in the sport, from diet and exercise, bike maintenance and modification, to suspension tuning, gearing, and riding techniques. If it wasn’t so fun, I doubt anyone would put all the work into it!
I ride both a lightweight and nimble SV 650 and a heavier, more powerful ZXZ10-R, and that change of perspective-hopping from bike to bike makes each ride a learning experience.
Track Day Advice:
If you aren’t having fun, something is wrong. Trackday riding is about FUN! If you want to lose, go racing! (I kid!)
The greatest thing about this sport is that everyone is out there getting the same buzz from pushing to their own personal limit. Everyone from the novice to the advanced rider is out there feeling the edges of their personal comfort zones, and everyone comes back with the same rush of having gone out to that limit and come back. No matter what the clock says, the beginners are out there pushing to the same PERSONAL limit as the experts, and that is one of the reasons the track riding community can relate to each other, no matter what the riding level.
The best bike to start track riding with is the one you have. You can read about track riding for years, but getting out there on anything to start will give whatever you read or hear about from that point on something to stick to.
Once you get the bug, the best bike to start a dedicated track career with is a lower HP bike like a Ninja 650 or an SV 650. You will learn much much faster on that kind of bike, and you will always come back to it. I have mine and ride it every time I’m at the track, along with whatever other bike I have. It always teaches you something, and it is very economical on top of that. Everyone who rides a good, lower HP bike comes back smiling. You’ll work harder, but you’ll accomplish more.
Don’t rush to go fast. Take the time you need to develop some comfort in a certain pace, so that you can step carefully up to the next level. If you are in a hurry to go fast, you will have no time to develop consistency in your sense of speed on the track. The result is either entering the corner too slow or too fast, and while you get through the former, there are consequences for the latter. Take the time to bank the pace that you are good at, before diving in deeper.
If something is wrong, or you are having an issue, definitely look for a Control Rider with a group colored shirt and introduce yourself. Ask us anything, we’ll try to help. One of us has surely been through it, or has that crazy socket size, or has seen that tire wear pattern before. And if we don’t know it, we definitely know where you can go to get the info you are looking for.