The first week of the Summer holidays has been pretty action packed so far, we kicked off with Bo’s 40th birthday which led to more carnage than you could possibly imagine. I don’t know how I missed it because I didn’t drink but the next day I woke up to find the fridge door had been completely battered beyond repair and the kitchen TV barely hanging on to it’s wall bracket by just one side. One wall covered was in dents and I don’t even want to discuss what happened to the stair carpet, or the light switch, it’s a very, very sore subject.
Anyway, after that we were treated to a lovely little trip up to Beadnell Towers in Northumberland by my management company to celebrate Bo’s birthday whilst Plankton was in respite which was lovely. The weather was dreadful so we had the chance to explore the boutique hotel and really take advantage of everything it had to offer, you can read more about that here, it’s definitely a place we’d go back to in better weather so we could get out and explore a bit more of Beadnell too.
The morning of checkout we discovered my beloved Z4 had been quite badly damaged in a hit and run style accident outside the hotel and were a little thrown off our planned course by having that to deal with first – we swung by home, swapped our car for our van already pre-packed with two of our best track bikes which we’d brought to our home the week before to prep for track day (we don’t keep all of our bikes at our everyday home as we only have a single garage and can’t fit them all in).
Once we were on the road we realised we’d forgotten our child and had to turn back. Just joking we had him in a cage in the back with the bikes. Just joking, I promise he was up front with us literally shouting out the name of every single car we passed en route from the North East all the way to Cadwell Park. Cue forced grin emoji. So, with our bikes, our tent, our barbecue and food and clothes for the next 7 or so days (we were planning an epic road trip), we spent the next three hours listening to awesome music and wondering what we had forgotten…
OK so, track days, what do you need to know?
We book ours through No Limits (no affiliation). They’re a huge company who provide track days all over Europe and possibly even further afield, they have access to some of the best tracks around and most importantly, some of the best instructors if you’re looking to learn some tips, improve your riding style or just get to know the track a little better, faster. They also have good banter on social media.
Why did we choose Cadwell Park?
Personal preference. Simples. We’ve been talking about going for ages and a track day came up that fell just a couple of days after Bo’s birthday which worked out perfectly. The track is known for being one of the best in the UK and if you’ve ever watched any racing on TV from Cadwell Park then you’re probably already a fan of the track and it’s famous ‘Mountain’. In reality the track is huge and as a spectator there’s a huge stretch of it that you can walk which gives you great viewing of any event or track day motorsport – which is actually pretty thrilling to watch.
Fancy trying one out yourself?
Well you’ll need a bike licence, a decent set of leathers – either a one piece race suit or a two piece which zips all the way round, a lid and decent boots and gloves as the minimum. Our preference is to always ride your own setup, it’s familiar to you and it’s part of the thrill, however if you don’t have a bike, or if you get there and something’s gone drastically wrong en route, there are a couple of companies in the paddock that hire bikes for the day with insurance.
How long is a track day?
The clue is in the name, it’s a full day. Our best advice is to pack everything up, travel to the track the night before and camp. Camping at Cadwell Park is free if you’re participating in an event (yes really), you can pitch up anywhere and the site has a toilet and shower block with basic facilities which are open 24 hours.
How do I know my capability?
There’s a group for that, choose the group that fits your capability when you book. You’re either a novice, intermediate or advanced rider. Don’t be a dickhead and book into the advanced group if you’re not competent enough for it and don’t book into the novice group if you belong in the intermediate group. This shit ain’t rocket science.
What if I’m not riding and just spectating?
There’s still loads of fun to be had watching bikes go fast around a track. The chances are if you’re at Cadwell Park it’s because you like motorsport. Groups are called in 20 minute intervals and so if you’re there cheerleading for someone, you’ll be with them for 40 minutes and watching them on track for 20 minutes, if the weather is good Cadwell Park is an absolute sun trap. There are several professional photographers who show up and shoot track days & post watermarked images in FaceBook groups available to buy if you find it hard to shoot your own.
When we visited it was 30 degrees, dry, hot and sunny – the weather couldn’t have been any better if we’d commissioned it. as I mentioned before there are sections of the track you can walk around and there are log seats, designated children’s play areas and other small attractions dotted around trackside. Not far from the paddock there’s grandstand seating which gives side on viewing of the Mountain although in my opinion that’s not the best place to view it. I prefer to walk a little further round so you see it from the back, this gives you a far greater appreciation for the height of it.
On the other side of the paddock there’s a viewing platform and a cafe too so there’s plenty to keep kids and adults occupied just be sure to bring ear defenders if little ones are bothered by the noise. Personally, and I speak for all three of us, we loved it. It’s definitely not our first bike track rodeo but it was our first at Cadwell Park and it was long overdue. We’re hoping to be back before the end of the season, but next up we’re pitching for Anglesey. First though we need get to Wicksteed Park and then burn our tent to ash as it has a spider infestation…