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Debating racing? Do it. A post from a middle-aged track day guy.

Discussion in 'Information For New Racers' started by Yamaboy, Aug 30, 2021.

  1. Yamaboy

    Yamaboy Member

    I completed my first race weekend about a week ago. It was a blast and something I certainly want to do again. Thanks to everyone that made is such a great experience - the folks at registration, the corner workers, and pit neighbors.

    A little background - I started doing track days at the end of 2019 and quickly got hooked. Age 45 at the time. Sportbikes and following racing were always a passion even though I had a 15+ year hiatus with family life. I never did a track day before 2019. I felt it was important to get to a reasonable pace before jumping into racing. I didn't want to present a danger or moving roadblock to others. So, sold my street bike, bought a track bike, and started learning.

    Fast forward through multiple track days and onto the racing. Track days and racing are similar in several ways, but different in a couple key areas;

    1. Pace of the day. A typical race day seems to have more downtime. For example, if you race 2 classes for the day that's basically 4 track sessions. First 10 minute morning practice, a second 20 minute practice before lunch. Race 1. Race 2. The overall pace of what you're doing throughout the day is slower, but the track time is more intense. Intense = fun.
    2. Cost. Depending how many classes you enter and how competitive you want to be, the costs can add up. There are gate fees, race fees, tires, etc. First timers get great discounts through WERA on membership and transponders so it really helps. My experience is a race weekend will probably cost you more than a track day. If you have a budget and plan well it's completely feasible without breaking the bank.

    Much like track days you'll meet great people willing to help and share their experience with you. The process part may seem a little overwhelming at first between registration, tech, the rule book, and rider's school, but don't let it scare you off. Like I said, the overall pace of the day is slower. You aren't going out on track every 40 minutes like you are used to at a track day so there's time to accomplish the tasks at hand.

    Hopefully this is useful to someone out there. Rambling aside, the point of my post is to encourage anyone who might be on the fence about it to try racing. Don't be intimidated by the process. Remember, everyone at the even has been through the exact same thing. Honestly by Sunday of the first weekend I knew exactly what to expect throughout the day and felt comfortable - almost like it was routine.

    I'd classify myself as slow to average. Several people shared with me they went faster on a race day than a track day. I found it to be true in my case too. Not sure how or why, but I'm hoping the trend continues. I have no delusions of smashing lap records, but simply enjoying the competition and the experience as it's own reward. After so much fun, going back to work on Monday was a bummer.

    Stay safe and have fun.
    Maxtrap, Laz, Jessica Posa and 13 others like this.
  2. mattys281

    mattys281 Banned

    I appreciate your post. My story is similar.

    I raced a little in my early 20’s, got involved with some gal, married, kids, cheating, divorce the whore, small business, career, etc etc now at age 43 I’m heading to Willow Springs next weekend for the Ca Superbike School, I have two track bikes sitting in the garage and can’t wait to get back on the track.

    I literally told my self for decades that I was too old, I had too many responsibilities, on and on… but I could never stop thinking about it. You only live once, you gotta have some fun
    pro69ss, DmanSlam and Yamaboy like this.
  3. DmanSlam

    DmanSlam Well-Known Member

    You kept the track bikes all that time? Smart move. Most of us, in a similar situation, would've likely sold the bikes long before deciding to return to the track.
  4. mattys281

    mattys281 Banned

    Nope, not smart enough for that. I bought an R6 just to 'play with' a couple months ago, and then when I decided I wanted to go back on the track I went ahead and bought another R6 that was already built very nicely and ready to go.

    Anyhow, since I wrote that post I've been to Willow Springs & done level 1 & 2 of the Ca Sbk School, liked it enough that I already booked to got to Vegas & do level 3 & 4 with them, and taking that nice R6 down to Chuckwalla to do the new racer school this month.

    Good times!
    Maxtrap and DmanSlam like this.
  5. Poorna

    Poorna Active Member

    who is running the new racer school at chuckwalla? And when?
  6. Mongo

    Mongo Administrator

    There is one this coming Saturday at Vegas. No clue on CVMA stuff.
  7. mattys281

    mattys281 Banned

    there should be a link on this page to register. It’s on Friday 9/24. I think they’re also having a school during the October race weekend. Cost was $225 and I think they said that also includes your race license for the season

  8. mattys281

    mattys281 Banned

    My receipt is from motorsportreg.com and they say to call 760-227-3100 with any questions
  9. Poorna

    Poorna Active Member

    Thanks all.
  10. bilet69

    bilet69 Well-Known Member

    Im on my way back to the track as well Age 47 lol
  11. Yamaboy

    Yamaboy Member

    Welcome back. Good to see more fellas at the track who's bones aren't quite as bouncy or bendy as they used to be.
  12. dave3593

    dave3593 What I know about opera I learned from Bugs Bunny

    There are plenty of guys over 60 that are still racing although probably in vintage classes.

    Too fun to stop!
    cyclocrossfool likes this.
  13. Jessica Posa

    Jessica Posa New Member

    Thank you for this post! I did a bunch of track days this year and planned to attempt racing next year so the insight is handy!
    gapman789 likes this.
  14. Maxtrap

    Maxtrap Well known member

    Yamaboy tells it like it is. I was 50 when I did my first track day and high sided my R6 in the morning because all my years of street riding gave me the false confidence of knowing how to ride motorcycles. After plateauing on my S1000RR, my knucklehead friends (required for real life) suggested we race Ninja 250s so we would learn to corner. At 57, this was the best use of a riding season! Learned the race weekend without spending an arm and a leg, made lots of friends, vast improvement in corner management, and had more fun than I dreamed. Next year is the big bike in the “old, and not too bold” division. Highly recommend the experience before the rocking chair.
    mpusch and Gixxerguy855 like this.

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