Luck of the draw - back in 2001 I was browsing around a Honda dealership after becoming ultra-bored with my '00 Buell S3T and I saw a RC51. I Knew almost nothing about the bike but my brother-in-law did and explained that it was kicking butt in WSBK and AMA (when Colin & Nicky were riding them). All I knew was that bike looked better than any other sportbike I'd ever seen and when I learned it was a vtwin I had to have it. 2 days later it was in my garage.
Didn't take me long to find motorush, which then led me to rc51.org and a group of serious track riders. I read post after post after post about the benefits of track riding and post after post after post of street dangers. That resolved me to try the track at least once so I signed up for Team Hammer's Daytona trackday during Biketoberfest 2001.
A couple weeks after signing up for Hammer I learned about Frank Kinsey through a post somewhere and gave him a call. I told him I was scheduled to do my very first trackday at Daytona in October and I could hear the shock in his voice. He explained that I really needed to do a trackday somewhere, anywhere, else before Daytona. So I signed up and did Roebling Road with Frank a couple of days after 9/11. I had no clue what I was doing. I was nervous, scared, excited but most of all clueless. Didn't even fully scrub the tires. I left the track that day bewildered, wondering what I'd gotten myself in to and doubting that sportriding was for me.
A few weeks later I did Daytona and was absolutely terrified. Don't think I'd ever been that scared and just knew I was going to get killed. Took me 4 laps just to get off the skirt and onto the west high banks - to make matters worse my father and brother were in town on vacation and everyone went. Sadly I thought more than once "Isn't this nice, everyone will already be nearby for the funeral." Made it through the day, went home knowing I didn't have the skill for this and thinking there's no way I could ever be even slightly competitive.
Over the next few weeks a few very honest people told me their own stories of similar fright they went through and encouraged me to just work through it, enjoy the time riding and don't focus on anything but developing those skills.
A few months after Daytona rumours of a new track under construction in Jennings, FL began cropping up and eventually it came to fruition. I'd been focusing on developing my confidence on the street and decided to give the track one more try before I bought a Harley and resigned from the sportbike world. Did a trackday at Jennings and got through the day without fear, I could personally see a real difference in how I approached the day and decided to keep at it. The next trackday I dragged a knee for the first time and later that day ran a 1:38 and was thrilled with myself. The next trackday a few weks later I was in the mid thirties before lunch, then low thirties after lunch, then clicked a 1:29 on the last session of the day. I was hooked. Now a few years later I'd guess I've done many thousands of laps at Jennings and know the track pretty well; have also done VIR north & south and Barber (both are beautiful tracks) but Jennings is still my "home track" because that's the place I knew I'd conquered the fear.