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Going Racing – How Hard Can It Be?

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I’ve always wanted to get into racing but haven’t had the chance (or money) so far. I’m determined to make it happen though so this section is going to chart my progress from enthusiastic road rider and occasional trackday rider to hopefully-not-completely-hopeless-and-pathetic racer. I’m not super-dooper fast and I still have a lot to learn, but I also think it’s one of those things where you just have to jump right in and go for it!

As I see it, the stages (not necessarily in order) are:

  • obtain ACU licence
  • choose race series
  • get a one-piece suit (maybe after losing some weight and getting fitter)
  • win the lottery, rob a bank or commit some lucrative fraud
  • get a van
  • get a race bike
  • go racing
  • have a go at the TT and receive multiple offers for a MotoGP ride

Easy, huh? ( I should probably pick up some basic mechanical skills as well…)

A race series I’ve been considering is the Bemsee Kawasaki Ninja 300 series – an entry-level series designed to get people into racing in a competitive, low-maintenance class. The bikes aren’t tuned at all – engines are sealed by Kawasaki when they’re built and so, being low capacity and not highly stressed, maintenance is minimal throughout the year. Kawasaki subsidises the series too, providing low-cost parts, and tyres last a decent length of time. The idea is that starting in a low-capacity series will teach me more about race-craft and carrying corner speed than starting out racing a 600 would, so it’ll ultimately make me a faster and better rider quicker (in theory). Also, any crashes will be at a lower speed and therefore (hopefully) less damaging and expensive!

Race bikes are available in 2 guises, a basic package for around £5k and a bells-and-whistles package with upgraded suspension etc. for around £6.5k. Second-hand bikes go for around £4k.

I have absolutely no idea what van I’d get; I’ve never had one before as I’ve always ridden a road-bike to trackdays and just removed the number-plate and mirrors… so this will require some thought. I have had a look on eBay to see what’s around and I’m leaning towards something like a Toyota Hiace for cheap reliability.

I also need a 1pc suit… I’m considering something made-to-measure but this will obviously depend on funds. Cougar Leathers make a custom suit for about £800, which isn’t much more than a decent off-the-peg suit, and BKS ones are over £2k so the costs vary quite a bit.

So that’s where I am right now and will continue to update this with progress when any progress is made!

Useful links:

How to start racing
ACU Licence
Cougar Leathers
BKS Leathers
Ninja 300 Series
Kawasaki Ninja Cup

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