View Full Version : Getting in to racing

09-28-2004, 09:48 AM
I have been thinking for along time about getting in to track racing of some kind - initally in cars (my brother does racing in the UK - sprints and hill climbs), but with all the talk of the track day (which I missed because I was in Vegas) I am wondering also whether there is an easy and relatively inexpensive way to get in to motorcycle racing, and how other people got in to it. I don't mean immediately (or ever) challenging Rossi, but having some fun on a track, and every now and then having a race.

Anyone got any advice on basic race training, a basic race bike, and what amateur race series are appropriate for first timers. Alternatively, does anyone race cars around here, and how doe sthat compare?



09-28-2004, 09:55 AM
There are various schools that operate out of Pacific Raceways if you want a learning experience (classroom beforehand, track time afterward) or there are just track day excursions which do not involve classroom time, I know one of them has quite friendly "instructors" that will just go out on the track with you to show you lines and ride behind you later to see how you are doing and offer pointers.

Don't want to advertise names, so PM me if you want more info. But you'd better hurry up, there are not many dates left this season.

09-28-2004, 10:40 AM
Well, I was thinking about getting a bike for the track before I get started on the training - would rather not push my street bike to the limits and beyond.

Had the idea that I may buy something that has been 'slightly' wrecked or stripped and do it up as a winter project. It is getting a bit late this season to start out on the training as you say. But if I did have abike readu for next season, what kind of bike would be good to go for, and what are the possibilities for using it regularly on track?

09-28-2004, 10:46 AM
What would be a good bike would be better fielded by other members on this board. As far as your street bike goes, you could give the track a try on your street bike, many of the riders do. It would give you at least a taste for what to expect next season.

Good idea on getting a winter project bike though

09-28-2004, 11:07 AM
If you are thinking about racing, as opposed to track days, you should check out www.wmrra.com to see what the classes are and what people are riding. There is also a classifieds section packed with bikes for sale. There is also 50cc racing in Oregon. You can find more info at www.ysrracing.com.

There is another race weekend October 9-10 at Pacific. If you go watch the races you can walk around the pits and see what people are riding, see what grids have way too many bikes (600cc superbike!) for comfort and read what classes exist in the program.

Asking questions is a good start!

09-28-2004, 11:10 AM
and better still, I'll be there!!!!!

*notices cricket chirping*

*sits back down*

Seriously though, the WMRRA events are well planned and well run.

09-28-2004, 11:33 AM
Hey thanks for the info Cindesmo - those are very useful and informative sites - I'll study them closely. I needed some concrete information to inform my long exhisting but very general desire to race something ;)

I am free on the weekend of 9-10 so may come along and see what goes on, I'll PM you Bong if I can make it and maybe you can tell me a bit more at the track. If I get myself some leather pants, or a set of full leather (as I was thinking of doing), maybe I could make a show in the street rider class - I'll have to think about that!

09-28-2004, 12:19 PM
I am free on the weekend of 9-10 so may come along and see what goes on, I'll PM you Bong if I can make it and maybe you can tell me a bit more at the track.

I think it would be a great idea to go to the races to get a flavor for what the racers do to actually race, versus someone like me who doesn't race but tries to attend trackdays to hone my riding skills (and have fun doing so!). I won't be able to watch the upcoming races, I will be at the Streets of Willows learning from Keith Code and staff. I would be happy to talk to you about what level of commitment to expect for trackdays, there's lot's to go over.

09-28-2004, 12:34 PM
I think track days will probably be where I start, although the WMRRA has training for the price of a track day, which I think I'll sign up for in 2005. Now just a question of finding a bike, but the race bikes on the WMRRA site look to be as cheap as most of the project bikes I was looking at, so maybe I'll just keep an eye on that.

I'll be at the meet-up next Thrusday at the Rendezvous, so I'll try and bend your ear about your experiences and advice if you make it :D

09-28-2004, 12:44 PM
Hey UK that is cool you want to try some racing! When I started this season Cindesmo helped me out a lot with info and an endless supply of answers to all my silly questions and obsessing. At first it might seem daunting but don’t worry it sounds more difficult than it really is.

Yes, first do a track day and see if you even like it. If you don’t like the track you’re a weird-O (ha-ha... Seriously just kidding). Keep an eye on the WMRRA site and see when they post next seasons NRC course dates or just go to the motorcycle show and register at their booth (I think it was $100 or so).

If you’re looking for cheap racing perhaps a TFS (Tired Former Superbike) bike is the best bet. Something like a CBR 600 F2 or the like (seen them for around $1800.00+). One piece leather suit, they range from inexpensive to whatever you want to pay ($500+). Good boots, helmet, back protector and gloves are a must ($1000+). Front and rear stand to remove tires so you can spend lots of $$$ on new buns :p (about $300 total). And lots of tools ($ too high to even mention).

This being my novice season I thought I could get away with two maybe three sets of tires but found that tires don’t last that long when you’re also riding track days on them. They run about $350 per set and I was going through them about every 1.25 track days! This will be your biggest expense if you cook your tires. The faster you go the more $$$ you are going to spend (tires and stuff like that). In total I think I bought 5 sets of tires! That’s a lot of dough in my book.

Anyway, if you want to ask me questions just PM me and I can help you out. I would enjoy helping a fellow novice-to-be out as Cindesmo did for me. Kinda passing along the knowledge so to speak.

09-28-2004, 01:54 PM
I just started racing cars this season and overall it was a pretty simple process. Very very fun, obviously. I started doing driving schools through the BMW club in my street car and from there took race schools through Proformance down at PR. Got my novice license and started racing! I've got my regional SCCA license now, and the best part about cars is that there are rent-a-racecar opportunities, which I did this year. Let me know if you have more questions about 4-wheeled racing.

09-28-2004, 02:57 PM
Wow - I really appreciate the information! DJS, that is exactly the kind of practical finance type information I was looking for too - the thing that makes me think of bike racing instead of car racing is the idea that bike racing would be less expensive. Do you share tools (tire irons and stuff) with other racers to reduce costs?

I did a race day at Brands Hatch in single seater and it was pure ear to ear grinning for the rest of the day and week after. Hearing Leo et al talk about the track day recently made me believe the bike racing would be the same - I have no doubt at all that it would.

I would like to hear about car racing too Bafazane - it was what I originally thought of doing, but it seems the raw thrill of riding could be more appealing now (with the cost issues too). Where I want to get to is to have a machine (bike or car) that is competative in a series that I can be competative in within about a year of competing. I don't want to spend a fortune but will spend what it takes to have fun and be safe.

I'll be PMing you guys as I get more questions :) I'll hang around DucSea some more too and tap their knowledge! Anyone else interested in getting in to racing?

09-28-2004, 03:20 PM
Ya UK I imagine racers do share tools and I have borrowed a few in my time but I try not to. When it comes down to it we are all out there to race and have fun but if they need the tool and they lent it out its unavailable. As for tire irons and stuff that involve mounting and balancing of any new tires the tire vendors include that in the price of the tire. Besides I would think it’s a pain in the butt to spoon on new tires! Personally, I would much rather sit in my lawn chair drink water and look at the pit activity. The good thing about having your own tools is that they are for more than racing. Unlike, swingarm/fork stands and ramps and specific equipment like that. Now my race bike will sit in my garage for the next 9 months as will my tire warmers and stands and other racing specific stuff :(.

But if your asking if we can share sure. Glad to help out another Ducatisti and board member.

09-28-2004, 04:37 PM
I was just wondering if you actually change your own tires - I remember a thread on another board about doing that. I wasn't actually asking to share, but thanks :happy57: I was trying to figure out if there is equipement like tire changing and balancing equipent that people share that can bring costs down. I seem to be harping on about the cost, but just wondering what the true cost of racing will be - I am a Scotsman and we are tight with our money ;)

BTW, just emailed WMRRA to see how I can get on the next race school when it comes up next year :D

09-28-2004, 05:28 PM
Hey UK this should be interesting to both of us.

Minimum equipment for racing (assuming bike is purchased race prepped):
bike: 4000.00
leather: 1300.00
gloves: 200.00
boots: 200.00
Back protector: 125.00
helmet: 300.00
Front stand: 125.00
Rear stand: 125.00
One set of tires: 350.00 (you will need more)
TOTAL: $6725.00

Two day race weekend:
race1 fees: 75.00
Race 2: 40.00
Medical fee: 10.00
Gate fee: 8.00
Food for 2days: 25.00
Fuel for bike: 20.00
Fuel for car: 25.00
U-hual bike trailer (2days): 35.00
TOTAL: $238.00

These are approximate numbers and I have left out all sorts of things like straps to secure your bike when you trailer it and tools, easy up canopy, chairs, chemical, oil and so on. It is not a cheap sport and you should have riding gear for both street and track. It was the best advice Cindesmo gave me. Well not really but it was certainly great advice I didn’t understand till I crashed. This does not include track days and all that goes along with that either.

And now I see the very low numbers I want to crap myself. That’s a lot of dough!

09-28-2004, 05:48 PM
That is extremely useful info. From asking a few questions here I am a lot closer to understanding how to get training (WMRRA race school), where to race and how much it will cost me to race. I was kind of tentative about asking for the information yesterday because I was not sure if it would seem like something way over my head when I found out exactly what would be entailed and then have to back out, but it all seems quite possible.

I guess you need a bit of money to play with, but I am young (relatively) and single and this is something I always wanted to do! What bike would you recommend going with - Cindesmo was saying that 600 classes are WAY over subscribed, but there also seems to be a ton of 600s around. I'd like to get a bike I can train on and also race in the right class (when the time comes) without having to upgrade if necessary. What did you go with? The classifieds section on WMRRA seems really good BTW, but I don't quite know what I am looking for or at yet....

09-28-2004, 06:15 PM
Well I personally went with a 2001 Yamaha R6 because it was a good price and it came with all the street stuff too (including tank). But I would recommend trying to buy a bike that qualifies in the WMRRA TFS class (Tired Former Supersport or Too F'n Slow...depending on who you ask). According to Darryl, a DS partner, it is a gentlemanly class and still very competitive. Unlike the 600 Supersport, the TFS class is fun and they won't stuff you and leave you no place to go. Or you can get an SV650 and race in the Light Weight GP class (it might be Middle Weight GP come to think of it). But if I were to recommend a bike it would be a Honda CBR 600F2, still TFS (take that with a grain of salt). SV's are difficult to come by but winter is coming and I imagine lots of race bike will go up for sale. They look pretty cool too with the SV body work witch resembles the GSXR full fairing. In fact it is almost undistinguishable to the layperson if you don’t know what you're looking at. WMRRA requires that all race bikes be safety wired, have case covers on both sides and have a belly pan. That alone could cost you lots of money if you wanted to convert a street bike to race bike. So whatever you do try your best to get a already done up race bike.

09-28-2004, 09:56 PM
I also have been kicking around the idea of getting into low-level [at least for now] racing, UK. Was scoping out the WMRRA website the week before my tropical vacation.

Due to the lateness of this year my thoughts were to learn what I can, attend a race day or two [as a helper/spectator], and ponder getting stuff together over the winter.

Perhaps we should get our heads together. =)

- Wolf

09-28-2004, 10:31 PM
UK that is a perfectUK that is a perfect from Wolf. You can volunteer as a corner worker and even get free lunch with it. When I did my corner working duties for my novice requirement they even gave all the corner workers 2 free beer tickets! But the point being, working the corner allows you to see all the action at track side! Right there in your face. Turn 2, 3 & 4 kick butt for working. Turn 9 isn't bad either. They are always looking for corner workers and it might be a cool way to meet other WMRAA people and officers. There's one more race left fro the season so you still have a chance to do it.

09-28-2004, 11:00 PM
Let's do it Wolf! I'm up for trying to make the last race of the season as a corner worker, and we can chat more about getting our respective race outfits ready for the start of next season. I guess winter will be a good time to read all the right books and watch the right videos ;)

So the next race is in two weeks I think - I guess we had better call and see if they want us and what we need to do. I'll give them a call tomorrow and get the details and let you know, then we can arrange how to get there.