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125 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
ok, I have posted here before. I have said my opinion on things. I need some really good help from you guys who race. I want to become a pro racer. I know it's going to take alot of hard work and time and effort. But it's something I have decided I want to do in my life.

I am here to ask you guys what do I need.
what do I need to do to a bike.
what gear do I need(non apparel related)
how do I go about classes and how do I get a name for myself.

stuff like that.

I will probably choose the zx-6r as my bike of choice. I have never ridden before and Iknow I will need alot of practice. I can get a salvaged bike and fix it up for racing, that isn't a problem. I just need to know what to do and how to do it. They have beginners classes and stuff. and I will need alot of track time.

I am going to buy custom leathers to fit me good. I am goign the whole nine yards on this. This is really my dream in life.

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137 Posts
Before you go out and start spending all your AMA championship money you should first get a bike (learn to ride) and go to the track. It isn't easy that's why not everyone is a championship racer. Oh, and it definitely isn't cheap either.

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57 Posts
here are a couple facts of racing:
- you WILL crash and you WILL get hurt
- it WILL cost you a LOT of money (expect to spend at least $600 a weekend)
- never finance a race bike, it will become a paper weight
- there will ALWAYS be someone faster than you
- don't skimp on suspension or protection, don't worry about the engine except for basic maintainence

first, get some riding time on the street. at least a couple of months to become used to riding. if you go out onto a track as a beginner you're hazzard to yourself and everyone else. become where you can downshift use every control on the bike without having to think about it. start on a low HP bike such as a sv650. they teach you to carry corner speed rather than to blast down the straights and park it in the corners, generally the racing classes have better riders in them. novice 600 classes are generally known as the "meat grinder" classes. buy a dirt bike and ride it often, does wonders.

when preparing the bike, spend the $2000 to buy a awesome suspension and the $2000 to buy the best protective gear. don't worry about the engine except to put water instead of antifreeze in the radiator. the more you do to the engine the less reliable it becomes. don't worry about paintjob, these aren't show bikes, they're for racing. new paint is a pavement magnent. make sure you saftey wire the necessary things (if fluid comes from it or it could come loose, saftey wire it) get good tires (pirelli diable corsa or it's equal), don't have to use race tires when you learning (race tires are at least $300 a set). once you start to become faster, time to switch to race tires. race tires are cheap security.

you need a GOOD helmet (soumy, arai, shoei) that fits you perfectly, good leathers that fit you well (not overly baggy or to long; skin graphs vs good leatehrs), good leather gloves, good boots, the best back protector you can afford.

take as many classes as you can afford, the more seat time you have, the more you learn. the easiest thing to improve on the bike is the rider. make a name for yourself? ummm don't worry about that. if your good, as in winning championships and constantly running up front in EXPERT classes, then you might get looked at. win a AMA race on privateer equipment over factory guys, in the dry, and you'll get looked at. guys that have factory riders have been riding for DECADES.

don't expect to make money racing, very few do. racing isn't easy and never will. most racers do not last for very long. i know people that have wrecked once and broke their collarbone (just say goodbye to them right now, you will break them, it's like skining your knee in baseball) and they never ride again or they are so slow that you could pass them on a aprilia 50cc scooter.

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2,934 Posts
Location is important info. What tracks and race clubs are near you? Find the clubs and before you ever race hang out there and chat with people learning as much as you can. Start becoming friends with the guys because that's where you'll learn how to race.


Very good info there.

You can dream about becoming pro but I've seen guys with an incredible amount of skill and incredible amount of dedication at Willow Springs each month, It's hard and to get above your local club level is requires a lot of hard work and a lot of money.

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132 Posts
“The importance of being earnest…”

Anywhere else, I’d guess such an open-ended inquiry must be a troll. In this venue, though, I’m betting you're earnest about starting a career.

I’m curious how one can decide to be a pro racer without having ridden a bike, much less a track bike. Gotta crawl before you can walk. Take those first few steps, then decide if you wish to make the sacrifices necessary. To race and win, the physical, emotional, fiscal, and time toll will be enormous. This cannot be explained, it must be experienced.

There are no half-measures, no free lunches: being a top guy requires focus and dedication, with all the myriad trials and triumphs. In the end a very few find glory: most instead encounter bankruptcy and broken bodies. You must be willing to make the sacrifices and never lose site of the goal. That’s not a warning or disparagement, merely observation.

Some guys have what it takes, others don’t. I for one don’t have the killer instinct to win at all costs, thus (not surprisingly) didn’t win much in my two years of amateur roadracing. There’s that “focus and dedication” thing again, usually only discovered after you’ve tried it awhile.

Thinking about this subject high-level, the best place to start might be an outline of suggested steps. You fill in the fine details based on your particular requirements: the subject’s vast and can’t really be handled in a half-assed manner via the ZX list.

A few broad guidelines:

1. Obtain a financial base. The entire concept’s a non-starter without sufficient resources.
2. Learn to ride (street, and/or dirt, and/or closed-course roadrace environment.
3. Find others who share your interest and passion. You’ll need their help to race.
4. The road forward appears to be winning substantially at the club level, then moving forward via networking and sponsorship. Steve Rapp (AMA Superbike contender) started this way with AFM (NorCal race club), as did many before him.

One excellent avenue to resources is to work at a motorcycle dealer, in parts, sales, turning wrenches, etc. I’ve seen a couple guys rise fairly well at the club level with support from their employers. Many aspects of transportation, parts, tools, etc. can be taken care of this way, though it’ll still involve a lot of hard work.

If this career path is a financial hit, well, remember: this is your focus in life, everything else must be secondary.

I don’t believe many riders actually “make” money riding professionally, in the U.S. at least. One clever guy I know runs his effort as a business, declares a loss every year, and writes off a substantial portion on his taxes. Barring that, you’ll need to budget for racing and that, too, is a vast subject which can’t be covered in a few paragraphs.

I had a chance to briefly work with the U.S. distributor of a famous motorcycle apparel line a couple years ago. There really wasn’t any money to be made, however: establishing an enthusiastic relationship with those heavily involved in moto-sports opens many doors. Yet again, it comes down to dedication: make the sacrifices, make the social and business contacts.

General comments on your questions:

Q: “what do I need to do to a bike.”

A: Presumably Florida has an amateur Roadracing organization. Find out, and find their website. Download the rule book, or obtain one at the next roadracing event. The rules are usually clear regarding bike preparation. If you have questions, ask around the club until you find answers.

Q: “what gear do I need(non apparel related)”

A: For starters: a race partner (or two), truck, trailer, canopy, tools, spares, consumables, storage bins, race stand, chairs, myriad other small items. This information’s been comprehensively covered in alt.motorcycle.sportbike, rec.motorcycles, and other forums (repeatedly). Google groups, past threads on this forum, etc. might be helpful.

Q: “how do I go about classes and how do I get a name for myself.”

A: Classes? Motorcycle Safety Foundation would be a great place to start, for riding fundamentals. See previous comment regarding track riding and clubs. Clubs have new racers schools, though that isn’t where I’d personally wish to learn the fundamentals of riding.

Training is yet another enormous subject.

Roadracing World magazine lists most U.S. schools (and clubs, I think) in the back pages, with contact information. If you’ve never heard of RW, gamble five bucks on an issue at Barnes and Noble or your favorite motorcycle dealer.

John Ulrich summed up the “get a name for myself” part very well during a lecture at Team Suzuki Endurance School (August 1995): “how well you do at today’s school won’t impress me. Go out there and win a few WSMC and Formula USA events, then I’ll be impressed!” Bottom line is the top guys at the club level gain recognition, while everyone else are merely main-chancers, wannabes, fine-print, chose your metaphor. This country loves heroes and winners. Start winning at the club level, then see where to go from there.

Good luck, start doing your homework.
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