A week from today I'm riding down to South Jersey to see top-level motorcycle racing. The racing season has ten events held at different racetracks around the country. I go to the one at NJ Motorsports Park not only because it's the closest but because I rode that track myself. I know its twists, turns and elevations intimately. It's amazing to see pros go 200 mph on the same stretch of track where I hit only 140 mph. (That was with my old bike [Yamaha FZ-1]; my new sportbike [BMW S1000R] can do 165 mph.)
The two-mile track has 12 curves of varying radius with a few switchbacks that demand total concentration. After a few hours of exhausting riding, I forgot about one of the switchbacks and almost crashed. I handled the initial right-hand turn but forgot about a sharp left-hand curve which immediately followed. I went in hot thinking I could ease out of the first turn, forgetting I needed to make the second one. The only way to avoid an ambulance trip was to lean the motorcycle much farther than I'd ever done and, through sheer force of will, I did that. My maneuver surprised me -- facing the situation, I thought a crash was NOT the way I wanted to end the day and somehow I made the turn happen. The memory of that experience is vividly etched in my brain.
Watching pro racers handle these same curves smoothly and at even higher speed is mesmerizing. Plus the engines of their not-street-legal racebikes scream at a volume you can't imagine. The whole scene is viscerally exciting. Wanna join me?