How to get into motorcycle racing
Recently we’ve reviewed what it takes to become a professional race car driver, but what do you do if racing cars isn’t appealing to you, what if racing a motorcycle is what appeals to you most? Here are some tips on how to get started in motorcycle, while many of these steps are similar to the steps it takes to become a racecar driver, there are some significant differences and risks at stake.
First and foremost, make sure that you begin networking at your local motorcycle shop. While riding and racing motorcycles may seem like an individual sport, much like auto racing, it is actually a sport made up of teams. Getting to know people at your local motorcycle shop is the first step in getting to know what could potentially be your future team. Be sure to ask them if there is a race track nearby that has a motorcycle track day. This is the safest way to get acquainted with going at high speeds on your bike. Be prepared though as there most definitely will be track fees to pay.
Once you have secured a spot to begin racing and have begun networking, it is imperative that you acquire protective gear. Gloves, leather pants and jackets that zip together with extra protection on the knees, calves, elbows, and forearms, a hard back/spine protector, racing boots, and a full face helmet are all of utmost importance. These are not tools that are optional in races, these are mandatory for your own safety.
Next, manage, memorize, and constantly inspect and upgrade your bike. This is your greatest asset and you will want to know every square inch of your bike like you know the back of your hand. Certain tracks may have specific requirements concerning your bike; most common are removing mirrors, new tires and brake pads, and possibly replacing engine coolant with water since coolant can be slippery on a race track. There are a myriad of other things that different tracks will ask you to do to your bike before you race with it, so make sure you check with your local track.
Learn what each of the different racing flags means and what you will need to do in order to respond to them, you will be going by them in a flash, so it is important that your reaction to specific racing flags becomes instinctual.
Finally, hydrate and get a good night’s rest prior to your first race. Learning how to race a motorcycle can and should take a lot of time, but eventually, with enough knowledge and practice, you’ll be seeing those checkered flags at the finish line when you’re winning.