Summer is almost here, and our first summer track weekend is fast approaching – the second weekend in June at Thunderhill Raceway. Saturday, Z2 will run the full 5-mile course with both Thill East and West combined, and Sunday is the Z2 Women’s VIP Day, where the entire C group is female-only. We’ve done this weekend for the last few years, and it is always a lot of fun. This year ThrottleDad will ride Saturday, and I’ll ride on Sunday for the Women’s VIP day.
We are getting the bikes and the trailer ready to go. ThrottleDad now has a track bike, so all he has to do is decide what tires he wants to run. The R6 is almost ready to go, all it needs is an oil change (it has been a while) and to remove mirrors, switch windscreens, etc. Maybe an hour’s worth of work, if that. It will be great to get back on the track.
The Z2 Women’s VIP day four years ago was my very first track day, and so this event holds a special place in my heart. I doubt I would ever have gotten on the track without the reassurance of an all-female group catering to first-time track riders. I’m not a fast street rider and was even less so four years ago. The day was great. The instructors really held our hands throughout the day, provided as much instruction as you could possibly ask for, and made the whole event feel approachable for beginners.
However, I was actually bored with the day. I left early and rode home, enjoying my ride home more than I enjoyed my time on the track (typical street rider). I remember thinking of Thunderhill East “this is a turn? I’m barely even turning. This is boring.”
And it was boring if you were going 40 mph through a +100 mph turn like the instructors were asking us to do for most of the day. I left thinking “well, I tried it and now I know – track riding is not for me.” It took more than a year for me to get back on the track. Not because I was scared, but because I wasn’t interested.
A little more than a year later, I went back to try again. I did a normal day, rode in the beginner’s group, and had a blast. I’m so glad I went back.
So, I have mixed feelings about the Women’s VIP Day as it is currently run. I think it is most excellent that they have the event in the first place. Welcoming more tentative female riders into track days is a great thing to do. But I believe they should do a little less hand-holding, a little less patronizing, and a little more encouraging the ladies to pick it up. Male track riders usually need no encouragement to go faster, but I think its different for the ladies.