Thinking about vintage racing for the 1st time

Discussion in 'WERA Vintage' started by RB-1, Feb 25, 2020.

  1. RB-1

    RB-1 New Member

    Ok, here's my story:

    Been riding and racing bikes of the pedal kind for 30 years, then in 2009 I decided that I wanted a bike where I wasn't the motor. Got myself a crash damaged 2009 Kawasaki 650R, rebuilt it and rode the begeezus out of it for 2 years and 44,000 miles. Got it stolen from my hotel in Redding, CA from a ride from Los Angeles (my home) to Portland, OR. Replaced it with a '99 ZRX1100 as my everyday bike. Since then, I have added a'78 and '77 KZ650, '84 and '85 Ninja 900's and finally 2 mongrel '67/'68ish Kawasaki A7 Avengers.

    I went to my first AHRMA race as a spectator at Willow Springs and talked to a bunch of guys there and especially to a guy who raced a Kawasaki A1R (250cc race bike 2-stoke) and got real excited about maybe racing one of my Kawasaki's, namely the KZ650 and one of my A7's (350cc 2-stroke) after I work on it more.

    My question, AHRMA, only has 2 races in CA this year and it is coming up fast. That's it for nearby locations. With work and family and financial restrictions, I can't travel to AHRMA's other venues. Then I found out that WERA has a vintage class and that there would potentially be many more times that I could race my vintage bikes. I looked on WERA's site and looked at the results for last years vintage races in CA, but there did not seem to be many if any people racing in the vintage classes. Would I be the only person with a vintage bike (KZ650 and A7 Avenger)? Would I just be put in a group of modern racers?

    Last question, AHRMA offers a racing class for beginners. Does WERA offer something like that for someone who has never been on a race track before?

    Thanks in advance.

    Cy
     
    jksoft likes this.
  2. kenessex

    kenessex unregistered user

    First off, if you want to race vintage, then do it. I think your two choices are great and you will have a bunch of fun, especially if you enjoy the building and fixing part. There are not very many vintage racers with WERA West, right now. That means you will likely end up gridded with the more modern bikes in one of the slower classes. Don't worry about that, just have fun with whoever you end up racing with. If you end up gridded with E or F, there should be somebody on a 250 or 300 that you can race with after the fast guys leave.
    WERA does have riders schools, look on the schedule and any weekend, like this weekend at Las Vegas, that has an rs after it has a riders school.
    There will be lots of rationals for not racing that you will see on here, but don't let lack of other entries in the class be a deterrent for you, just work at helping to build the class, by just showing up. You will get plenty of attention in the pits with cool old bikes.
    If you are up to it and can swing it, the Vintage days at Mid-Ohio are worth the trip as is the GNF at Barber. Get some of the other WERA west guys together and make the trips.
     
    JBall likes this.
  3. rd400racer

    rd400racer Well-Known Member

    I was introduced to the sport much like you almost 25 years ago. Back then you didn't have much internet and there weren't track days galore, so most of what you learned about this sport was by word of mouth. I bought a little pamphlet out of Old Bike Journal magazine that was titled "How to Build an RD400 Race Bike" and that's how I got started. Pretty much the equivalent of throwing a a baby in the water to teach it to swim. I was 38 years old when I took the plunge...the bottom line is, don't over think it, just do it. You'll meet some of the nicest people at the track that will help you with anything you need.
     
    SpeedyE, Killswitch, dave3593 and 3 others like this.
  4. cyclocrossfool

    cyclocrossfool team chicken bone

    you will most likely be in the same group with “modern” bikes but will be gridded in the back and dependent how wera does there starts maybe 2 nd wave. several times in the last 3 years i was the only one in the “vintage” class. i really didnt need to check the pre race grid , had my own row (16). got a lot of crap from the modern guys about how i wasnt racing when i was the only one out there. like my wife tells me when i get my trophy “ everyone is invited , not your fault no one else shows up” so just show up and race
     
    rd400racer and pscook like this.
  5. guzziguy

    guzziguy Well-Known Member

    depending what bike you run, the vintage classes can "bump up" into clubman, there are usually more bikes in that class, I do that sometimes.
     
  6. RB-1

    RB-1 New Member

    Thanks for all the replies guys! After reading your replies and the goals that I have, my plan is to take the AHRMA race school in April at the Streets of Willow weekend or Willow Springs weekend, depending on when my bikes gets finished being race prepped. I will race my 1977 Kawasaki KZ650 that weekend or both weekends. Later in the year, use my KZ650 in WERA West races to get more seat time and improve/upgrade myself and the bike slowly throughout the year. I am hoping to get my friend with an RD400 to join me at AHRMA and WERA. While racing the KZ650, I will work on my '68 A7 Avenger and turn it into a A7R replica throughout the year and hopefully race it at the end of the year or next.

    I turn 50 next year and would love to race at Barbers, could be this year but realistically, next year. I want to race on my KZ650 or my A7R replica.

    Hopefully I can get my friend involved and maybe get others to race Vintage in WERA west.
     
    VFR#52 likes this.
  7. Eight Screws

    Eight Screws Well-Known Member

    Good to get a new guy out

    Might I suggest trying Brady Walker’s classic track days out, there is one at both Streets and Big Willow upcoming
    Lots of the AHRMA racers participate so you can get the feel of the bikes on track before race school

    I will hopefully be at the Big Willow event if I can get myself and it repaired from crashing at the Laguna round a few weeks ago

    I’m in the LA area PM me if you need assistance navigating anything
    Cheers
     
  8. Buell1965

    Buell1965 Well-Known Member

    Hmmm. as you get older and realize that keeping up with the kids and when I say kid there is a 13 year old girl just ripping up tracks here in the south and running 1:00 around tally and other tracks and the little assassins initials are KY one does assume that riding older semi fast bikes has its appeal . have fun and stay safe and verse yourself on flags so as to not get ran over . I my self am looking forward to the upcoming and somewhat warmer race dates to turn my old turds loose and have some fun .
     
  9. RB-1

    RB-1 New Member

    Eight Screws - thanks for the tip about Brady Walker's classic track days. I am contacting him now about taking either his March 7th or April 4th classic track days. My KZ650 may not be ready yet as I am busy cleaning carbs, coating the tank and safety wiring amongst other things. I will probably have to use my ZRX1100 for the classic track days, a pig I know, but it is what I have ready.

    Heal up and let me know if you need any help prepping your bike, watching you do your bike would probably inspire me better and faster on mine. I live in Monrovia. What bike do you race on? Otherwise I hope to see you at Willow Springs. Cheers.
     
  10. Outsider V6 V7

    Outsider V6 V7 Well-Known Member

    RB-1 with the recent changes in V7HW, your ZRX1100 is now legal for that class. Not legal for AHRMA, but in the event you don't get the KZ650 finished don't let that stop you from attending the WERA race weekend.
     
    compmoto likes this.
  11. Outsider V6 V7

    Outsider V6 V7 Well-Known Member

    If you're not familiar with WERA, it's one of the more modern vintage classes and there's a huge thread posted about it in this forum. You may have to race Zx7's and SRAD's but hey it gives you a class to get comfortable racing and getting passed. And for the record, we've all been passed and continue to get passed so don't worry about that. Have fun and be safe.
     
    compmoto likes this.
  12. Eight Screws

    Eight Screws Well-Known Member

    I’m in La Canada so just up the 210
    AHRMA will run race schools at the Willow events and thanks to WERA’s cross licensing you can use it to obtain a WERA license

    Expect to have the ZXR750 finished at the bare minimum, then we will see which of my other piles of parts coalesces themselves into working motorcycles

    Will definitely be at WERA for all the rounds from June onwards
     
    Outsider V6 V7 likes this.
  13. 2Big4Bike

    2Big4Bike Well-Known Member

    Hey RB-1...I've got a 1977 KZ650 that is ready for WERA that I'll sell you if you don't want to have to finish yours...:D
     

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  14. hinshaw929

    hinshaw929 Well-Known Member

    If you need help with your A7 give me a holler. I kinda specialize in the Kawi 2 strokes. Don't worry about your age - I didn't take the grid for the first time until I was 51 and I've done fairly well and had a lot of fun. I'm one of 3 members of a new WERA Vintage Committee this year so let me know if you are other west coast racers need any help with WERA. Both my son and daughter live in southern California so I am out there frequently. Also race with AHRMA so can help with that as well. Happy to have you with us.
     
    RB-1 and yamageezer like this.
  15. #156

    #156 Well-Known Member

    We have a vintage committee again ??
     

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