Around and around for a good cause
The Las Vegas Motor Speedway recently held their annual Laps for Charity event, in which for a small donation, you can drive a few laps on the actual race track in (or on) your personal vehicle. I choose to take my 2011 Can-Am Spyder RT, and brought my son along for the ride. I figured heâ€™d get a kick out of riding on a real race track. Video of the laps.
After about a two and a half hour wait, we were finally in the group lining up behind the pace car. The pace car sets a pace of about 75 MPH, but if you let yourself fall behind whatever vehicle is in front of you, you can get going as fast as you like (until you catch up). The embankments on curves had me nervous at first. I actually slowed down for the first one, and found gravity almost pulling me off the bottom of the track. Once I learned to simply speed up, the embankments became a really odd sensation, one I must imagine must be similar to that of the moon in orbit around the earth.
An orbit is really just accomplished by moving forward at the same rate the ground beneath you falls away, and that is very much what I experienced on these curves. Iâ€™d be up at speed, but because of the embankment, my left wheel moved at a slightly slower rate than my outside wheel and Iâ€™d find myself pulled around the corner without even needing to turn my handlebars at all. I was going straight, and yet I was turning. It was a very odd, but fun sensation. I was only just starting to get used to the sensation and have some fun with it when the pace car lead us back into the pits; our time on the track was up. I think I topped my speed around 90 MPH on the track. Once in the pits, everyone had their pictures taken with their vehicles in Victory Lane, resulting in one of the best pictures of my son and myself to date. In all, it was a memorable day; next year, I plan to bring my entire Spyder chapter.