Spring is finally getting closer and by now you’ve been training all winter to be a faster motorcycle rider or racer, right? You’re feeling really strong and healthy and you can’t wait to get back on the motorcycle and win races or beat your personal best laptime and your next track day. Now it’s time to start thinking about realistic goals for the season and managing your expectations.
While it is important to set the bar high, you also want to make sure that the goals you set are achievable and realistic. There’s nothing worse than planning to win a national championship when the year before you were running dead last in the Amateur 600 class. If you set your goals too high, you might be completely deflated by the start of the season when you finish 10th, as opposed to on top of the podium, and you may start to call into question all of that training you’ve been doing all winter. If you’re a track day rider who wants to go faster this summer, keep track of your laptimes from last year, and expect to see significant improvement, but don’t expect to be thrown down laptimes faster than some of the Pro racers out there.
Ultimately, the key to success is to remain focused, set realistic goals and to have fun. There’s no greater feeling than achieving or over-achieving your goals early in the season; it gives you a feeling of success and accomplishment and the motivation to move up to the next goal or challenge, all the while having fun!
Whether your goal is to drop your laptime by 4 seconds at your favourite racetrack, to beat your buddy who has always been 3 seconds faster than you, or to finish higher in the standings on raceday, the following are some factors you may wish to consider when setting those goals:
- What do I want to do?
- How do I want to do it?
- What skills do I have?
- What skills will I need?
- What are my weaknesses?
- What do I need to do to work on my weaknesses?
- What are my strengths?
Once you know the answer to some of these questions, you can devise a plan of attack and set some realistic milestones to achieve. Milestones are a great way to work towards a larger goal, as they provide small, realistic goals that lead you to achieve the greater, over-riding goal. For example, maybe you want to be 4 seconds faster at your favourite racetrack this summer. However, you have identified that your weakness is braking too early, particularly at the end of the back straightaway. You need to start thinking about what you’re going to do to improve your braking, and work on achieving the milestone of braking later on the backstraight. Perhaps the next thing you want to work on is your cornerspeed, set that as your next milestone. At the end of the day when you piece it altogether, you should find that extra 3-4 seconds you were looking for.
It is also important to note that milestones are not set in stone, and can be adjusted depending on your achievements. Don’t let yourself get discouraged if you don’t meet your first milestone right away, just re-adjust based on the circumstances, with your eye remaining on the overall goal that you hope to achieve. At the end of the day the key is still to have fun and see small improvements across you milestones, and your goals will come. Follow this plan, keep on top of your training, and you should see some great results in no time!