By AJ Jacobsen
It Sounds So Simple
That’s because, really, it is. The hardest parts of getting into racing versus a track day is usually just the flow of the day and understanding the steps you need to take to get ready and to your race on time. IN that vein, here’s a quick run down of an average race weekend and what it might look like…
- Prior to the weekend, you can hopefully register online or via email, saving you from standing in line the day of the races. This also relieves a bit of pressure once you’re at the track.
- Arrive in plenty of time, ideally the day before you actually start riding so you have plenty of time to unload, get set up, and prepare for the weekend.
- Once unpacked, head to registration to get any paperwork you may need. Typically, there will be a ‘tech slip’ and perhaps other valuable information such as a printed schedule, track maps, etc.
- Next up will be getting your bike and gear through technical inspection. If this is your first race weekend, you are probably going to need to get everything (gear, bike, belly pan) all through tech. It’s great if you’ve got a cart and someone to help carry things, otherwise, it may require multiple trips on your part.
- Once you have been through tech and have your stickers, it’s time to prepare for the races. Give the bike another final once over, make sure everything is ready to go, tire warmers are on, etc.
- Be sure to get your grid position when they have posted them for your race(s). Most racers will write this down on a sticker or tape on their tank so they can reference it when pulling up to the grid after a warmup lap. You’d be surprised how easy it can be to forget your spot, and you’ll have a whole grid of mad racers if you’re holding things up because you can’t recall which marker is yours (or worse yet, you’re in someone else’s spot).
- Prior to your race time, you will want to be sure your tires are up to temperature, pressures are set, fuel is in the tank, and you are otherwise mentally and physically prepared. Stay hydrated!
- When your race is approaching, start getting geared up. After first call, be sure your leathers and boots are mostly on, gloves and helmet, ear plugs, etc are all laid out, and you are focused. This is a good time to warm up the bike if you haven’t already done so.
- Second call is time to finish gearing up and being prepared for final call.
- Final call, pull your warmers, jump on the bike, and head out to the grid for your warmup lap!
Once you’ve gridded up, started that race, and rolled across the finish line for the first time, there’s a really good chance you’re going to have found something that, to be frank, makes the rest of life boring. Granted, racing isn’t for everyone. It is a dangerous sport, and one of the most unforgiving sports in the world. That is why so many racers invest in coaching, top of the line safety gear, and are adamant about following the rules.
The racing family, however, is just that – a family. Like any other dysfunctional family there are good, bad, and great people involved, but push come to shove, the racing family is one of the best you will ever have. Racers may be competitive and driven, but they also want to see their fellow competitors on the grid, and the support from fellow racers can be astounding.
Hopefully this has helped clear up some of the mystery behind making the transition from a casual track day enthusiast or street rider to getting on a race grid – we hope to see you out there with us!