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Aug 8, 2014

Friday Feature: Leod Motorcycle Escapes: Roads And Tracks Around The Globe

Just another track day on a MotoGP circuit – riders on the straight at the Sachsenring in Germany.

They come for the tracks: The opportunity for non-professional racers to take to the circuits that they see on TV, the pavement that MotoGP stars pound. Tracks like Phillip Island in Australia, the Sachsenring in Germany.

They come back because the process of getting to those tracks turns out to be equally amazing, says Cat MacLeod, General Manager of Leod Motorcycle Escapes, a motorcycle tour company that combines road and circuit rides into a single seamless adventure.

"Hearing, 'I came for the track, I had no idea the roads we were going to be riding were going to be this awesome - I could go home happy without even doing track time,' is just incredible," MacLeod says. "It's also great to take people out of the U.S.A. for the first time."

MacLeod started the company after a couple of decades working in the powersports industry, the travel industry and spending time on the track with the California Superbike School and a variety of track days.

"After 20 years, I had too much experience to qualify as an 'employee' anymore," MacLeod says. "I have a love for the authentic and a loathing for tourist-trap crap. When one of my German buddies took me to a track day at Gross Dölln, I was reminded how riders are riders the world over. So ... I resolved to create a tour that would allow riders to experience a great track day in a foreign country. It all started with Sachsenring and the Italian Alps and the possibilities just keep growing with Spain, Thailand and Australia. Most recently, we are investigating how we could do Sepang and Malaysia."

The company's tours start with one-day adventures through the roads of Northern California. The shortest international track tour is a five-day romp through Thailand with two days at Bira Circuit aboard track-prepped Kawasaki ER6n 650cc Parallel Twins (basically, a naked version of the Ninja 650R). The longest is a 12-day blitz through the same region.

In between are tours through the Italian Alps with track time at the Sachsenring; along the Australian coast with track time at Phillip Island; and a Spanish tour with track time at Cartagena Circuit, a course frequently used by international teams for testing. On most of the international road and track tours, riders use BMW S1000RR machines on the track and various BMW machines on the road; in the U.S., riders can chose from a wider variety of machines for differing events.

MacLeod promises one other thing: That the tours aren't designed for the casual sightseer. "We are there for the ride, not to be taken on the tourist trail," he says. "You'll ride like a local, eat like a local and only be taken to sites that a local would want a visitor to see."

For more information on schedules and other details, visit the company's website at www.leodescapes.com.