Passing at a trackday is the subject of the next two Mandatory Riders’ Meeting articles (this is the first) because so much is at stake when two or more riders are in close proximity; our sport is challenging enough without having someone else smashing into you. We have all heard of or seen on-track multiple-bike crashes, so let’s discuss passing at the racetrack, examining the physical and mental aspects involved.
Passing while parallel with a slower rider or going away from a slower rider is the solution to safe passing. It keeps slower riders comfortable and faster riders smoothly circulating the track. Trackday participation grows.
Let’s start by examining the role of the faster and slower rider, and next week we will focus on where and why passes are safe or dangerous.Rihanna
Safe outside passes must be done before the slower rider begins to accelerate off the corner; outside passes really only work on much slower riders because to be safe they must be done before the slower rider accelerates off the corner.
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But that outside passing opportunity ends as the slower rider apexes and begins to stand their bike up on the exit. They are moving to the right, so the passing zone opens to their left. If the faster rider insists on continuing with the outside pass, it gets scary the further the slower rider accelerates off the corner.
Let’s now look at the straight between turns 1 and 2 for a common passing error. The passing rider begins to pass the slower rider to the left on the exit of turn 1. That’s a good decision because the slower rider is tracking out of the corner to the right. But the pass doesn’t get done (the passing rider doesn’t get ahead of the slower rider) and the slower rider reaches their exit point and begins to move to the left to the turn-in point of turn 2.
If one word should describe trackday passing, it would be “polite.” That isn’t a technique, but a mindset. Faster riders must pass politely and with the slower rider’s comfort in mind. That means plenty of room and on the correct side at the correct time. If you and your trackday group will pore over these passing articles, you will find polite passing is possible with the simple idea of being “parallel with or going away from the slower rider.”