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What About Racing?


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Question out to the group (lurkers, too!) :)

 

Have you considered club racing? If you've tried it, what motivated you to get into it? If not, what keeps you from doing it? Does it interest you, do you feel fast enough, does it sound fun, is there a track or club near you, are you willing to race-prep your bike, etc. - let's hear your thoughts and considerations about racing and whether you want to try it!

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I have considered club racing. If it weren't for the high cost I'd be out there already. I'd likely try to buy a bike that's already race prepped. I feel like I wouldn't finish last but it would take me a while to get to the front of the grid. Since I'm a large guy I'd likely race in the "O" classes which means a longer learning curve before I could challenge for the lead if that were even possible.

 

In summary, I want to try it BAD! Really bad. But starting a family is not conducive to starting a racing career. At this point I'd settle for getting to take a 20 min. session on a race-prepped bike to see what a fast one is like since I ride an '02 CBR 954rr which is ancient by racing tech standards. I am constantly watching the WERA classifieds and wishing... :)

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I have considered club racing. If it weren't for the high cost I'd be out there already. I'd likely try to buy a bike that's already race prepped. I feel like I wouldn't finish last but it would take me a while to get to the front of the grid. Since I'm a large guy I'd likely race in the "O" classes which means a longer learning curve before I could challenge for the lead if that were even possible.

 

In summary, I want to try it BAD! Really bad. But starting a family is not conducive to starting a racing career. At this point I'd settle for getting to take a 20 min. session on a race-prepped bike to see what a fast one is like since I ride an '02 CBR 954rr which is ancient by racing tech standards. I am constantly watching the WERA classifieds and wishing... :)

 

What are "O" classes?

 

Regarding your desire to ride a race-prepped bike... I have a couple of suggestions. First - at some tracks there are companies that rent bikes; for example, at Auto Club Speedway (near LA) or Vegas, you can rent from Extreme Motorcycle Rental, they have a selection of fully prepped bikes that include R6, GSXR, CBR, and Ducati 848, and they are at both track days and race days, the price is not unreasonable even for a full day rental. Second - the Superbike School BMWs would give you that experience. They have racetrack fairings and frame sliders, traction control, quickshifter, transponder, etc., and all the horsepower you can stand, the biggest difference between that bike and a full race-prep bike is that the school bikes still have a kickstand. :)

 

Another thought - as far as cost of getting into racing - it is inexpensive to rent a Ninja 250 for racing (about $250 for the bike- which includes tires and gas - and probably around $60-$100 in race fees), or for the biggest dollars-to-thrill ratio, minbike racing is awesome. Track time on go-kart tracks tends to be under $40 per DAY, plus bikes, tires and gas are cheap.

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A season of racing is definitely on my bucket list, and I'm working towards it right now!

My question is, what level of riding should a rider achieve before racing? I wouldn't want to be playing "bumper bikes" with people that have no idea what they are doing.

I'm holding out on racing until I get into A group during track days.

What's your experience? How long did you practice before racing?

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I am currently racing with 2 different clubs. Although I don't get to race with one club very often, most of the tracks in the series are just out of my range. I am making most of the Motoseries rounds in OH, PA and IN. It's costly for little reward but worth it to me for pushing myself to limits I normally don't see on any given track day, to enjoy tinkering with more radical changes on the bike and setup instead of just maintenance and helping others with their bikes, but most of all... the old friends and new friends made. I have been given a clipon to make the grid from a fellow competitor, I have driven to the gas station during my lunch break to get another racer some gas lol and I see so many others helping out in whatever way they can and plenty of beers shared. It's just like that.

 

A podium or 2 is nice as well, and the contingency $$ is cool but the paperwork is a hassle when your hot and tired. I found that if your somewhat handy with a wrench, a drill and zip ties (lol), willing and not afraid, you can leisurely race prep your bike in about a weekend, assuming you have all the parts. Then take it out for a track day or two to get things sorted and adjusted before your first race. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

 

Next year, I am reserving about $5k for racing and hope there is enough left to cover some of the travel expenses. I am crossing my fingers for more sponsors too, they really help a lot. Plan on a constant supply of tires, well at the very least rears. hahahahahhahaha And don't forget a set of rains!

 

Your never to old ktk_ace!

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I am currently racing with 2 different clubs. Although I don't get to race with one club very often, most of the tracks in the series are just out of my range. I am making most of the Motoseries rounds in OH, PA and IN. It's costly for little reward but worth it to me for pushing myself to limits I normally don't see on any given track day, to enjoy tinkering with more radical changes on the bike and setup instead of just maintenance and helping others with their bikes, but most of all... the old friends and new friends made. I have been given a clipon to make the grid from a fellow competitor, I have driven to the gas station during my lunch break to get another racer some gas lol and I see so many others helping out in whatever way they can and plenty of beers shared. It's just like that.

 

A podium or 2 is nice as well, and the contingency $$ is cool but the paperwork is a hassle when your hot and tired. I found that if your somewhat handy with a wrench, a drill and zip ties (lol), willing and not afraid, you can leisurely race prep your bike in about a weekend, assuming you have all the parts. Then take it out for a track day or two to get things sorted and adjusted before your first race. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

 

Next year, I am reserving about $5k for racing and hope there is enough left to cover some of the travel expenses. I am crossing my fingers for more sponsors too, they really help a lot. Plan on a constant supply of tires, well at the very least rears. hahahahahhahaha And don't forget a set of rains!

 

Your never to old ktk_ace!

 

Im never too old to ride; racing is another ballpark altogether thou.

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I am thinking about trying out AHRMA http://dev.ahrma.org/ . I have a bike or four that would work B) + I think I would be riding with people in my not so young age group on the track in a competitive nature would be fun too. I have watched several of their races and it has been very entertaining. To me it seems that most of the folks racing are on the track to have fun and exercise their bikes in a safe environment while there are some that are really racing, stressing the bikes to the max.

 

ktk your never too old to race. If you can afford it and are having fun does it really matter?

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I raced for about 20 years although the last 10 was more for fun on just one bike-sure I still won on that bike (far less competetive class with few entries).

 

What inspired me to try it out, friends and peer pressure. We used to go find more deserted back roads in WI hill country and some MN sweeperland roads as well and "practice" and there was/is even a business district here called OPUS that many back in the 80's would go "race" around.

Anyways, got tired of tickets and traffic and several of us decided to go it a try, I won the very first race I was in and was hooked for about 10 years of adrenaline and winning. But as the expenses of entry fees and travels and being competetive and the desire to race at tracks further and further away took more and more time away from work and way more money than one could win or hope to get sponsors to pay for I dwindled it back to only 1 bike and 6 weekends a year at the two closest tracks until Barber opened then I just had to go there for a final race before calling it quits.

In 2003 I gave up racing all together and sold off all but one of my street bikes and all the racebikes but that faithful 250 ninja I had raced for 17 years. Which I ended up parting with in Jan 2012 after a final stint back at Road America the previous fall.

 

I still think about it from time to time and look at the lap times of the local club and know I would be competetive if I decided to go back, based on current times of winners and what I ran with less everything (power, traction, suspension, knowledge etc...) I just don't have the desire to go do it again although with the numerous trackdays I have done over the last several years and the CSS this past May the desire is growing. But at approaching 50, the reality of longer recovery times for everything is a reality I keep in mind.

 

When I started racing, a 15 race weekend with camping etc cost under $100. $5 per race I think was the entry fee.I double dutied my street bike for the first 3 years before finally breaking down and buying a bike just for racing, then came a second race bike and then a 3rd so I could enter every single race available

When I finished it would have run around $500, but I was only racing 2 or 3 races then and was spending about $150 for the races and camping.

Now it costs $50 per race just to enter, plus an entry fee, camping fee etc, so the cost has increased far more than my income has.

Those are just the fixed costs to enter and get in, add in the extra fuel expenses, higher costs of everything associated with racing(life really) and it keeps me quietly enjoying my weekend 400-500 rides on varying WI roads where I can ride for 12 hours and not spend more than $120 including breakfast and lunch (sure tire wear etc is a cummulative expense)... I can remember when I could ride my bike to Eastern TN, NC area and ride for 2-3 days and barely spend that much in gas for the entire trip. Well okay maybe my memory isn't that good, but I do know I have made the Eastern Mountain trip numerous times back in the 80's and early/mid 90's and left home with under $300 in my wallet and rode for 5 days and came home with money still in there.

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I have considered club racing. If it weren't for the high cost I'd be out there already. I'd likely try to buy a bike that's already race prepped. I feel like I wouldn't finish last but it would take me a while to get to the front of the grid. Since I'm a large guy I'd likely race in the "O" classes which means a longer learning curve before I could challenge for the lead if that were even possible.

 

In summary, I want to try it BAD! Really bad. But starting a family is not conducive to starting a racing career. At this point I'd settle for getting to take a 20 min. session on a race-prepped bike to see what a fast one is like since I ride an '02 CBR 954rr which is ancient by racing tech standards. I am constantly watching the WERA classifieds and wishing... :)

 

What are "O" classes?

 

"O" classes are classes for 1000cc or equivalent (for V-type engines) GTO = 1000cc inline 4/1200cc V-twin GTU = 600cc inline 4/850cc V-twin Up here in UT there are no bikes to rent to race on. Perhaps taking a ride on a CSS S1000rr would be good to try a "fast" bike but the price tag for a day on one is out of my budget having just had a kid and all. It'll go up on the bucket list though and since I'm only 31 I'm sure it'll get checked off.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I actually got my local club racing license this past June on my street bike. That weekend go as well as I'd hoped due to mental barriers keeping me from being the rider I was before a crash at the same track the previous August. Mentally was completely out of it and it almost made me give up bikes altogether.

 

Made huge gains and smashed those barriers at a trackday 2 weeks later and then unknowingly found some decent speed at the last td on Labor Day. Was pretty bummed work caused me to miss the final race weekend of the year, because basically I was no longer that rider from my June New Rider weekend.

 

Looking forward to next season as I picked up a cyclocross bike to train my legs from wearing out, DucShop 28mm triples are going on the bike over winter, and hopefully can nab spots for the March dates of Lvl 3 & CodeRACE once the '14 schedule comes out.

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I just got back from my first Club Racing weekend, and It was a Blast !!! The New Racer Licensing Course with CVMA is actually taught by a former CSS coach and he was very thorough and focused heavily on the safety aspect of what to do and what not to do as a club racer. I made some pretty good improvement's on my Lap times over the weekend, Qualified Saturday morning with a 2:08.9, Managed to improve that in my Race saturday to a 2:06.3 and a 2:05.8 in my race sunday. All told it was a great experience and I can't wait to head back next month for the next round.

 

Tyler

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Tyler, I'm jealous. Even though I'm 6'5" and 230lbs I'm seriously considering getting a CBR250 just to get out there. I'm afraid with my size and that little bike I'd be just paying for an expensive track day though. To me there's no point in racing if it's impossible to be competitive.

 

Good on ya for getting out there! Maybe I'll do the same one day.

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Tyler, I'm jealous. Even though I'm 6'5" and 230lbs I'm seriously considering getting a CBR250 just to get out there. I'm afraid with my size and that little bike I'd be just paying for an expensive track day though. To me there's no point in racing if it's impossible to be competitive.

 

Good on ya for getting out there! Maybe I'll do the same one day.

 

I think after my experience this past weekend you're looking at it wrong, I'm most likely never going to be competing for a podium once I get my expert License, but there's always gonna be guys around my pace that I am competing with, someone who was a little faster then me last time, but perhaps I can improve this time and beat them. Theres competition to be had at lots of different paces, and you don't need to be a front runner to have a good time,

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  • 3 weeks later...

Currently deployed and away from the bikes and tracks.. seems i wont make it back in time before the tracks in my area shut for the season.

 

But to answer the question, YES! I have not yet, but am ready for the added pressures and excitement that an official race brings.

 

Its just really tough working around military scheduling.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think I have spent enough time time pacing the pit wall like a caged Leopard in a zoo watching my son race. I can think of no better way to understand what he is going through lap after lap than to get out there with him. I am a bit older than most but have been riding dirt and sport bikes (okay cafe) for 40+ years. My racing experience is old, way old. Fast canyon carving is nothing like racing. I am a smaller adult and I think I can fold up on a Moriwaki 250 just fine. The comradery will be fun for sure, until he spanks me good in a corner. We could use a like back up bike too, unless I wad it up. We will need to bring along a friend, he`s not old enough to drive me home...

For those of you considering racing think about this.You will be on a good surface on a closed circuit with people all going in the same direction. There will be people stationed at stategic locations keeping an eye on things. There will an ambulance on site with the engine running with EMT`s trained on the proper way to remove a helmet and the types of injuries you may get. No one races while talking or texting on a phone.. etc. You want to do it. Do it. Live life to the fullest. If you and one other racer are dead last and are in close proximity, you have a race. No shame. Just the time of your life.

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Short answer: I have every intention of racing. I just finished up with trackday number 5. I had an instructor ride at a "quick level 2 pace" for two sessions in a lead follow exercise and kept up well enough to move up to the next level. I will be in Vegas for the two day camp next month, and then my first level 2 trackday at the end of the month. I'm hoping to find at least one event in December and January. That will put me at 10 trackdays/schools and depending on how well I do in level 2, I'll get started on my CMRA license.

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