Motorcycle riders learn safety tips at Aomori track
By Tech. Sgt. Michael Yurco III, 35th Security Forces Squadron
/ Published May 24, 2018
AOMORI, Japan -- Most new riders spend a great deal of time worrying about finding the limits of their motorcycles. Even when the bike’s ability to negotiate the road far exceeds the abilities of the rider. Therefore, how can new riders explore the limits of their bike, while eliminating external variables and real dangers?
Motorcyclists often experience dangers such as traffic, pedestrians or cliffs while navigating through Japanese roads. This is where a closed-circuit road course can help riders of every ability level. Today’s example is Aomori Speed Park in Aomori, Japan. The idea of sprinting through a turn on a racetrack can be easy to some, but (for new riders nerves are always present).
A racetrack offers a rider the chance to safely learn and understand where the limits of the motorcycle are while advancing their skill as a rider. Such an environment is the ideal place for someone doubting his or her abilities to not only learn their limits, but gain confidence in their skills.
The turns on a road course are designed in a way to allow for error. There are no stretched steel cables, cliffs or traffic of any kind. In fact, there is generally a run off made of gravel or dirt to actually allow a rider to crash and then stand to continue riding the course.
For riders who have never been, a track day could be a tough egg to crack in terms of getting started. The atmosphere may seem intimidating. During an open track day, there will be riders of all abilities and experience levels willing to help.
There is plenty of enthusiasm and encouragement to get new track goers started. About 90 minutes of track time can surpass the value of a whole season of street riding experience. This was especially true during the season opening event at Aomori Speed Park on May 5 and 6. There were a variety of riders present from first times to experienced riders.
Enthusiasts can purchase track passes for ¥8,000, which allows for three 30-minute sessions of riding. Each session is limited to eight riders at a time, allowing for plenty of space to accomplish personal goals on the track.
While some riders left the track, no one got hurt or had any significant damage to their bike. The riders exchanged experiences in the pits during break intervals and between riding sessions. For lunch, everyone enjoyed hot miso soup, provided to riders at no cost. Once the track closed for the day, everyone left looking forward to the next event. Many riders can feel a new found level of relief and confidence on their bikes.
They can pour into a turn and have a much greater understanding of what the bike can do, and can focus more on the enjoyment of riding. They learn not to worry about too much lean angle or improper entry speed because they have been there before and will not be panicked into a survival response-induced crash. Most importantly, friendships were fostered between the U.S. and host nation riders, who may not be able to communicate well through language but can communicate from the joy of riding they share.