Motorcyclists get to ride fast and legally in Fontana

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Fastrack holds open-track riding sessions about one weekend a month at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. (KABC)

Going really fast on a motorcycle on public roads is highly discouraged, as it's illegal and it can lead to lots of bad things, up to and including a fatal crash.

But going really fast on a motorcycle in certain places is very much welcomed.

"This is a place where you can practice, in a much safer environment, in a controlled environment. You don't have to worry about getting a ticket, or making a mistake into oncoming traffic," said Imad Samhat, the head of Fastrack Riders.

Fastrack holds open-track riding sessions about one weekend a month at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. Sure, they get lots of regulars who prefer the less risky environment of a track. But Fastrack highly encourages first-timers to see what it's all about.

"It appeals to me because, with motorcycles, the more time in the saddle and the more classes you take, the better you are as a rider," Eagle Rock resident Calais Kowalski said.

She recently attended her first track day, as well as the Rider Development School. Beginners like Kowalski start out slowly, quite literally.

An instructor paces the group of students around the track their first time out, keeping speeds very low. In between sessions on the bikes, there's plenty of time in the classroom too, where rules and techniques are taught.

During their later on-track sessions, the novice students wear special vests to let other more experienced riders know they're just starting out. And the instructors ride with them in their groups, so they're not riding alone on the track.

The instructors can then offer specific critiques after the session, once they're back in the classroom area.

I did the Fastrack class myself some years ago, and it was an absolute thrill. I didn't exactly set a track record on the Fontana road course, but that was okay. It was all about the experience and learning.

Safety is a top priority here. If you don't have a leather riding suit, which is required, you can rent one for $65 per day. And every motorcycle is subject to a pre-riding tech inspection.

But fun is definitely a priority too.

"It's really a lot different than typical riding on the street. And it's a lot different in all the right ways," said Calais Kowalski after doing a few of the 20 minute on-track sessions.

A Fastrack Riders track day starts at $229, and the Rider Development School is an extra $100. But compare that to the cost of a speeding ticket, or getting badly hurt, or worse.
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