Location. Tracks tend to be far from civilization because the machines are loud and the land is cheap. Bring all the food and drink you need, a tent to sleep in or a vehicle you can lay down in.
Gear. One piece leather suit, wrist to ankle. Boots, gloves, helmet. Back protector (spines are important!). Air vest – when/if the tether to the bike breaks, the vest inflates immediately via co2 cartridge. They work (spoken from experience).
Warmers. Tires perform best if they are at optimal temperature. It may seem extreme, but if the racer next to you in the grid is using warmers, and you drag race him/her to turn 1, whose gonna have better traction?
Ear plugs. ZOMG. If your intake or exhaust isn’t loud enough to deafen you, the wind noise certainly will be.
Fitness. Your body weight is a significant percentage of the entire mass you’re racing, and you better be able to move it. Example: my bike is about 400lbs; I’m 140lbs. Your bike can turn a given radius with less lean if your body weight is hanging off toward the inside of the turn. The less the bike leans, the more traction you have. So you climb all over the bike to keep it going as fast as possible through turns. It’s a weird workout fighting the physics. The bike wants to be upright, going straight. It wants that really bad.
Speed. On the 650 twins, you can see upwards of 110 mph on the front straight, and whatever you can manage through the rest of the track. The tighter technical portions of the track are my favorite. Braking for turn 1 never ceases to scare the sh*t out of me.
Mechanic? You bolted that wheel on, you replaced the chain, you bled the brakes, you safety-wired everything. You are riding the machine you prepared. Do you trust your work?
Friends. It’s hard to race alone. There are too many things to forget and too many tools to have. If you’re on a budget, you fund everything and do all the repairs/maintenance. The LWT Racer team is an awesome, unlikely group of people who race (mostly) SV650s and taught me that racing is a kind of family affair. We go out there and win/lose/crash. We all wrench on each other’s bikes, work the pits, and help each other stay get out there and keep the rubber side down as best we can.