Watching world-class motorcycle racing makes your pulse race, and the pros make it seem effortless. From an outsider’s perspective, the speed, skills, gear and equipment needed to go racing seems daunting and unrealistic for the average joe. And yet, the idea of racing for glory is enticing regardless of any lack of experience.
Luckily, racing on a local level is much more attainable than most people think. If you get a chance, go to your local races, get to know a couple of racers, and watch them.You will learn a welcome lesson: as long as your goal is to simply have fun and experience the thrill of racing, it can be done relatively easily and on a small budget.
Step One: Find your Local Track
“Local” is a loose term here. The motorcycle racing community there is made up of people from all over the state and beyond – some drive upwards of 6 hours to get to the track for a race weekend. When doing an online search for tracks across the USA, the possibilities are endless and are only limited by the amount of travel time you are willing to endure.
Step Two: Earn your CMRA Race License
This is going to be different for every organization, but the general process is usually the same. It’s a good idea to try a couple of track days with a track day organization or riding school to get your introduction to the track.
After that, here’s how you get your racing license:
A. Search the online calendar for CMRA License School at your chosen track.
B. Sign up for the CMRA License School.
C. Follow the list of requirements for your bike and your gear to go on track.
D. Attend your CMRA License School – usually a mixture of classroom and guided track time.
E. Participate in the mock race and don’t crash. Pass the written test.
DONE! Race license earned. Simpler than you thought, right?
Step Three: Race!
Seriously, this is the easiest part. Learn the schedule, be ready to ride, listen to the P.A. calls, head to the staging area, do a sighting lap, grid up… and then go fast until you see a checkered flag. At this point you already know all the rules and have been riding the track for an entire day so the only difference is that more people are watching and there’s probably a little more adrenaline flowing through your veins this time around. Just relax, hang on and have fun!
What Equipment Do I Need?
If you take a walk through our events on Saturday and Sunday, you will see one obvious thing: your level of participation is completely up to you. From the comfort of your camp to the modifications on your motorcycle, you decide how far to take it. Want to spend the weekend in a top-of-the-line RV Toy Hauler with a full working shower and kitchen, complete with custom shade canopies, three highly-modified sport bikes, two ergonomic zero-gravity lounge chairs and one infrared grill with filet mignon and lobster tails for dinner? Bring it. If that’s not in your budget, have no fear. Some racers spent the whole weekend in the back of a truck or a rented open trailer and simply borrowed shade from their pit neighbors – and win. Completely acceptable, welcome, and highly recommended if you aren’t looking to spend a fortune. The choice is yours.
What About My Bike?
The list of necessary bike modifications needed to go on-track is actually very small. You can get your street-legal bike ready for the track in about an hour. If you are unsure of what to do or how to do it, wait until the morning of your track day and ask someone for help. I guarantee you will be blown away by the level of camaraderie and the sense of community you will feel at the track. There is a ton of information online and in magazines on prepping for the track. From tire suggestions to creature comforts, if you seek it out, the information and advice will flow freely. How do you repay those who have helped you out? Pitch in where you can and pay it forward when you have the chance. You’re part of the family now!
As the old saying goes, “You never know until you try.” Here’s to the racer in all of us – good luck!