View Full Version : Can I race motorcycles?
01-27-2004, 09:49 PM
I am wondering if I have a chance to race at least in CCS and still have a chance to be in the top fifteen. I am 21 years old. I started riding when I was twenty and have since put 10,000 miles of twisty roads on my sv650 and about 3,000 on my Aprilia. I have done three trackdays and am starting to gain quite a bit of confidence, on the street and on the track. I am very safe, and have never dropped or scratched either bike. I really don't ride motorcycles to impress the boys or pickup chics. Everytime I go out, I practice to become better (its damn addicting)!
I see other racers started racing motoX when they were 14 or 15. I never did that, and I understand that I am at a disadvantage because of that.
My question is: If I get a trackbike this summer and start to do the myriad of trackdays the southwest has to offer, is there any place I can be competitive eventually? To be good, is motorcycle racing something you must do every single day when you're really young? Or can you start at my age and be good at 30 by doing a couple trackdays a month (more or less depending on how many hours I will be working)?
Is there a sort of imaginairy age "cut off" that seperates the pros from the slows?
I don't know that many racers so I figure I might ask some of the guys here who seem to be knee deep in it. I'm not dreaming of being the next Valentino, just wondering if it is worth getting a trackbike and trying my as* off to race in CCS or AMA, or should I just have fun doing street/trackdays.
01-27-2004, 10:15 PM
go for it david!
troy bayliss didnt start riding motorcycles until he was in he 20's and he did pretty well.
i grew up racing mx/sx but didnt get on a road racing bike until i was 27 and i won a national championship (Aprilia cup in 2000) so i dont think age is so important.
i lot of the kids that are still young and successful (disalvo,all the hayden boys, all the gobert boys, both the bostrom boys etc ) had the benifit of some serious financial backing from the family to get them started. there are a lot of other very successful racers that didnt get that type of help but have still gone on to win.
if you are looking at becoming a world champion you may have started too late, not because you wouldnt have the talent but more by the time you have the talent you will be too old (like 30 :D )
there are a few people that make a pretty good living from not actually winning very much, look at Steve Rapp in the RRW issue that had him in the Cribs section.
if you are serious about racing i can hook you up with some pretty awesome riding coaches in Phoenix, yes it will cost you but you will learn more than you can even imagine and it is better money spent than just going round and round at a track day.
if you just want to get started with track days go to the Team Arizona tracks days as they actually have qualified and experience coaches unlike the other track day place that rolls the dice to see which novice gets to coach that day :D
obviously it will take some money if you want to persue it, i am not talking about thousands and thousands per month but you will still have to spend money on tires, gas, trackdays and oh yeah. repairs as you WILL fall down at some stage. it will obviously take a some committment from yourself, the only thing that will stop you achieving your goals is you.
take it from me, i came into this country in 2000 with USD$1000 in my pocket and i ended up winning a championship, racing superbikes, working for Aprilia USA and now am part of a very successful business. i was totally committed to my goals and have achieved every one i have set for myself. self determination will go a long way.
if you REALLY want it, go for it !
01-27-2004, 11:05 PM
Boy, where to begin....club level racing ie CCS, is about having fun and getting so focused on the task at hand that everything else just goes away. Its a rush like no other and the friendships and support you'll develop AND need will be enormous. Forget any notion that age makes any difference. While getting started at an early age helps as you learn through the school of hard knocks, I know many who have been riding since very young who are lucky they get home after each ride. They think they know how to ride because of the years and 10's of thousands of miles they've gone. A "good" street rider has barely learned the skills needed to be a good track rider.
On the other end I can think of a doz others, several who were well into their 30's before riding much less racing, who quickly developed into very skilled track riders. Take Garth Dillon-CCS Pacific and SW. My first time working with him he didn't know squat about bikes though I'd say his riding skills were good for a street rider. He had only been riding a short while and expressed a willingness to learn. His first time on a track he did as most in terms of speed and ability. He spent a year doing track days and schools then entered CCS. His first year as expert (2nd yr racing) he placed top five. Age and previous experience does not matter. Having patience, persistence and willingness to look at things from a different perspective will separate you from the average.
If your referring to age from a physical point of view yeah, the 55 yr old may not be able to hang physically with a 21 yr old but trust me street racing is not that physical and easily compensated (at least at club level). Some of those old timers have learned tricks that young guys like you tend to take hook line and sinker. Ego's are easily manipulated.
In my opinion you should start on something other than a I4 600 or open class. Your first year will be about building your riding, passing and bike prep skills. Suspension you'll soon learn is the second most important thing you can invest money into....number 1 being you and improving your skills through schools, track days and actually racing. You can do this just as easily on a 125cc rather than a 100hp+ machine. Look for a 3-4yr old cheap bike to begin with. I wouldn't go with any bigger than an SV650 your first year or three.
Understand the physical prep you'll need(basic cardio/weights), the financial costs (figure $500-600 a weekend) and the attitude that you know nothing and willing to absorb every tid bit of info you can get and you'll do fine.
Continue with track days to gain further skills/confidence, take some schools then step back and make the decision if racing might be for you. You'll know pretty quickly if this is something for you.
I was a bit worried about this too. I've only been riding since october and wanted to get involved in track racing.
It's so damn expensive though, I'm still a student. :pissed:
01-28-2004, 06:01 AM
Originally posted by clarkie49
troy bayliss didnt start riding motorcycles until he was in he 20's and he did pretty well.
i didn't know that! - i know john dowd was a novice when he was around 21 or so, and look where he got
i think talent plays a big part in it
01-28-2004, 06:52 AM
well tray batey is like 80 or something and he is still fast :D
01-28-2004, 11:00 AM
I am a college student as well, t3ch. I'm going to start a "real" job this summer and think I will get a trackbike and look into Keith Code Superbike school.
-Clarkie, thank you very much for the offer. When the time comes, I will be dedicated to it for sure, (given finances). How do "classes" work. Is there a set cirriculum or does the instructor watch you ride and just critique your style at a trackday?
01-28-2004, 11:34 AM
you can either just hook up with an instructor or you can hire a coach (like Scott Jensen, AMA superbike racer) and he will work with you ono-on-one for the entire day helping you on and off track.
01-28-2004, 12:48 PM
Clarkie....you must remember Scott stays pretty busy working/fixing HD's and Buell's.....:eek: Seriously though...I'd love to have him follow me around a few times.
01-28-2004, 01:55 PM
I have several friends who started racing *much* later in life than you and have had good successes and, more importantly, lots of fun.
One is a guy in his mid-40's. I met him at Freddie Spencer's Riding School last year and at the time he had done two CCS races in which he said he had "raced poorly." He had been a recreational rider, but had never raced other bikes or cars or anything. Anyway, I ran into him a few months later at a track day and he had been to every CCS race in the region and was doing really well. By the end of the season when I saw him again at another track day, he was leading his division in CCS (open twins) and in his first AFM race he was the top novice and beat lots of veterans. He approached it very sensibly; he got good instruction, did lots of trackdays and really worked on his skills, took care of his equipment, and raced with a positive and mature attitude.
At 21, hell, you'll be fine.
01-30-2004, 09:40 AM
Just do it, if you have talent you will find out quicky.
Don't be too over focussed on winning your first race, take it easy and keep your head cool. Try to find your limits first.
In my first year I crashed almost every race I started because I was able to qualify for the front row each time. Finishing a race was however another story which I only started doing when I started to concentrate and keeping cool.
02-01-2004, 10:11 AM
Do you wan to be successful at it or just be competitive? Are you going to try to make a living with it? If not then you you"re looking to to take this sport that you enjoy to the next level. The bottom line should be to have fun. I'm like you, I'm addicted but my problem is that I don't have the i time to start racing. I could do limited events at VIR(only close track one 1/2 hour drive time) But I know myself and if I start I won't stop. Still the bottom line should be for you to have fun. Then continue from there. But definitely do it if you have the opportunity.
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