Taking your motorcycle to the racetrack

Shubhabrata Marmar  /
07 Nov 2014 20:17:39 IST

KTM RC 390 racetrack

Well, I've decided that these questions are relevant and that the people asking these questions need answers. So, where are these racetracks? There are three.

The Buddh International Circuit is the biggest one, the most prestigious one but also stupidly expensive. Chennai's Madras Motor Race Track is the next biggest and perhaps the most fun to ride on because you can get to a fairly quick pace quite easily. The MMRT isn't that expensive either. Finally, there is the Kari Motor Speedway which is the smallest of the three in lap size and reportedly, the cheapest to hire as well. I would say the KMS is my favourite of the three because it's a hard track to solve and when you get the lap right, the most rewarding. I live in Mumbai which is awesome not just because this is THE city but because it puts me roughly 1,500km from all three of the racetracks.
You can also find a scaled down set of track thrills at gokart tracks, especially the ones that have tarmac courses. We take scooters, for example, to Downtown Racing in Pune and I believe that track is perfect for them. However, I also know people who ride motorcycles there and have a great time.

In my head, the three tracks are all two days' ride, but I can see how you might think these are just too far away for comfort. I'd suggest a change of perspective. I have spent a lot of time going to and coming back from racetracks. Having done it dozens of times, I can tell you that the time and effort is well worth it and that I would do this again and again endlessly. I cannot think of a more satisfying riding experience - the whole thing. Riding in, riding on the track and then riding home. It's the best week.

Many of you, and all the commenters, will not experience this. You'll wallow in your misery whining away about the tracks being too far. Well, they are where they are. They're not going to slide closer lubricated by your negativity. Instant gratification is overrated. At some point you're going to have to get off the sofa and get in the saddle. If you don't, then you'll hate yourself at the end of your life.

I'd rather sweat and toil to pursue my dreams. And approach death knowing I did all I could. With callouses on worn hands, a sparkle in the eye, memories of a lifetime and a bent body that was used well. But to each his own.

Who is going to pay for your track outing? Reality check time. Riding bikes costs money. That includes commuting. Who'll pay? You'll have to. The best things in life are free? As Colonel Potter used to say, horse hockey!
Track time is expensive and you'll pay for getting there, getting back, stay, food and fuel too. BIC prices are nutty, the others not so much. The racetrack is an expensive addiction. But also intense and rewarding.

So don't write it off. You don't have the Rs 50,000 a track weekend would cost. True. But if a family member was ill and Rs 50,000 was needed, wouldn't you be able to find the money? In that emergency, you'd take a loan. Then you'd pay it back by skimping on expenses, living more frugally and cutting out some fluff from your life. Why? Because a medical emergency is a top priority. Who makes it a top priority though? You do. You might not go all that far if the person ill was a distant relative. You choose. It's the same with bikes. If you think it is important enough, you'll make both the time and the money happen. Let me explain. I have a journalist's salary - enough to live on but not always enough to dream. But motorcycles and oxygen are equally important to me. So I've figured out the luxuries I can do without. Hell, at one point I was skipping meals to be able to afford a motorcycle. Today, I wear Rs 1 lakh worth of gear on the bike. Daily. I own twice that or thereabouts. I ride 50,000km or more annually and so I wear this gear out and find the money to replace it with. I also own a bike and it's never short of care or fuel either. Many of my friends own two or more houses and have two or three cars. But I'm happy, feel young and leap out of bed bursting with excitement as I get ready to go to work daily. Because I chose this life and set about making it work as best as possible.

I ride racetracks because I've saved or budgeted enough cash to make it work. It might mean no annual vacations, but I'd rather have laps in the sun than a suntan.

It's your life. And as far as I can tell, you get just one. It comes with only two guarantees. One, time that slips through your fingers is just gone. You will never get it back. Two, your time is limited and one day you'll die - either of old age or without warning. But on that day, what life would you rather have lived? What would you have filled your days with? I've made my choice. Motorcycles, riding them and racetracks make me happy. Moaning about inconvenience, not so much.

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