Trackday Terms

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Apex

Apex

The top or sharpest point of a corner, often used as an indication for where the rider should be on the track during a corner, as well as the point where you can start to accelerate out of the corner. Some corners are said to have more than one apex, but this is often where multiple turns are joined together in short succession.

Backing it in

Backing it in

Where a combination of braking, down-changing and clutch control causes the rear wheel to rotate at a lower speed than the front and combined with the rider leaning, the rear wheel steps out of line with the front wheel, initiating a slide into a corner. Most commonly used in supermoto racing but sometimes superbikes too.

Black flag

Usage varies but it is often used to exclude a particular rider from the track session, usually due to dangerous riding or a problem with their motorcycle.

Black/white chequered flag

Usage varies but mostly used on track days to indicate the end of the riding session, riders are required to return to the pits at the end of the lap.

Blind corner

A corner that can’t be seen on approach, usually due to a hill, sometimes requiring riders to start turning before they can even see the corner.

Braking marker

A point on the track used as a reference for braking for an upcoming corner, different for every rider, depending on machine and rider capability and bravery!

Camber

A part of the track that is tilted or banked, usually on a corner, to enable vehicles to travel round it at a higher speed than if it was flat. Reverse camber is when the track is raised on the inside of the circuit, meaning that it drops away from the rider and there is less grip available.

Chicane

Chicane

A feature creating extra turns on the track, usually involving a sequence of two turns in short succession, designed to slow traffic down.

Chicken strips

Chicken Strips

The unworn area on the edge of a tyre affectionately known as ‘chicken strips’, a bigger strip means that the rider has yet to achieve a high lean angle.

Counter steering

Used to initiate the lean required to turn the bike into a corner, this is usually done subconsciously and is required to physically turn the bike, however conscious counter steering (pushing the handlebar left to turn right and vice versa) can be used to increase turning performance and lean angle.

Crest

Crest

The top of a hill or raised area of a circuit, if the incline turns immediately to a decline it can some times cause bikes to get air, either on one or two wheels. ‘The Mountain’ at Cadwell Park is one of the best-known examples of this.

Curb

Curb

marks the edge of the track, usually painted in bright colours, often used by racers as part of the racing line and to maximise speed by using the full width of the track. Notoriously slippery in the rain!

Decibel (db) limit

Some circuits have noise limits imposed on them by local councils, in order to satisfy local residents. These limits can change from day to day and are measured in decibels. Track officials can test bikes with a decibel meter to ensure that they comply.

Green flag

Usage varies but it is usually shown after a yellow flag to say that the circuit is now clear and riders can proceed at normal pace.

Hairpin

Hairpin

A sharp U-shaped corner, usually one of the slower corners on a track taken in a lower gear and often followed by a straight.

Instructor

Instructor

Most track days have instructors or out-riders who lead groups out on to the track and often circulate with riders to keep an eye out for any unsafe riding. They are usually available for advice and one-to-one instruction if required.

Knee-down

Knee down

When a rider touches the knee slider on their leathers down on to the tarmac around a corner of the track, an indication of how far the bike is leant over, or how far the rider is hanging off the bike! Done mainly for bragging rights but also used by racers to save front-end slides.

Lean angle

Lean angle

The angle that the bike is leant over from upright to the track surface, racers regularly achieve lean angle of over 50 degrees!

Marbles

Marbles

Pieces of rubber left on the track that have been torn from tyres due to excessive heat and friction.

Marshals

Marshals

Officials that are strategically placed at outposts around the circuit to implement the flag system, spot any problems and help any riders that breakdown or fall off their bike.

Open pit lane

Open pit lane

A track day format where riders can enter and leave the track freely for the duration of the day. This is sometimes restricted to riders of certain experience or ability, to minimise the likelihood of incidents when advanced riders clash with novice riders.

Parc fermé

Parc fermé

This is an area of the circuit usually near the pits, where the top finishing three bikes in a race are parked and inspected, to check that there are no illegal modifications, prior to the rider collecting their award on the podium.

Pit lane

Pit lane

A road which usually runs parallel to part of the circuit (often the start/finish straight), used to access the track from the pits and for pit-stops in racing, there is usually a speed restriction in the pit lane.

Pits

Pits

The area of the track where riders are usually based for the day, some tracks feature pit garages, where bikes are prepared and stored. The track is usually accessed from the pits, via the pit lane.

Quick-shifter

A piece of technology that speeds up the gear changing process by allowing upward gear changes without using the clutch lever or backing off the throttle.

Racing line

Racing line

The optimum line around a racetrack, used by racers to get the quickest lap time possible.

Red flag

Usage varies but generally this means that an incident has made it unsafe for the session to continue, riders will normally be required to reduce their speed and return to the pits at the end of that lap, no overtaking is allowed.

Rider briefing

Rider briefing

Takes place before any riding begins at a track day, where general safety guidelines and specific hazards of the track and conditions are communicated to everyone that will be riding. This is usually compulsory to attend.

Scrutineering/noise testing

An inspection of a motorcycle before it is allowed on track, to ensure that it is safe to ride. This often includes noise testing to ensure that a bike is under the decibel limit.

Session

Most track days are run in sessions, with riders split into groups by ability and experience, a common format is to run three groups with each group getting 20 minutes of track time in every hour. If there are no sessions it is known as an open pit lane.

Slipper clutch

Slipper clutch

Helps to prevent the engine from over-revving under heavy deceleration and down changing, which could cause an unpredictable ride and force the rear wheel to lock-up.

Slipstream

Slipstream

When one rider follows in the gap in the air created by the bike in front pushing through it, this decreases drag for the following rider, allowing them to close in on the rider in front and sometimes slingshot around them.

Straight

Straight

A length of track without corners or bends, usually featuring the starting grid and finish line, also known as a start/finish straight. Often the part of the circuit where the highest speeds are achieved.

Superbike

Superbike

Similar to supersport, a category of sports bike with an engine capacity of around 1000cc, like the GSX-R1000.

Supersport

Supersport

A category of sports bikes with an engine capacity of around 600cc like the GSX-R600, historically referred to in racing, but commonly applied to the road going equivalents.

Tank-slapper

When the bike wobbles uncontrollably due to an external force causing the front wheel to move side-to-side, a steering damper can help to minimise the effect, but if not controlled it can end in a crash.

Turn-in point

Turn-in point

The point at which the turning process starts on approach to a corner.

Tyre warmers

Tyre warmers

Normally used by racers to warm their tyres up to the temperature required for optimum grip on the circuit, meaning they have more grip right from the first corner. These are now a common sight at track days, however riders are normally advised to warm tyres for at least the first 2-3 laps of each session.

Yellow flag

Usage varies but it usually means that there has been an incident on the track such as someone has fallen off or broken down, riders need to decrease their speed accordingly, usually overtaking is not allowed on a yellow flag.

Yellow/red chequered flag

red and yellow flag

Usage varies but it is commonly used to indicate slippery surfaces at part of or around the whole circuit, sometimes due to rain or an oil spillage.

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