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>How to get started in motorcycle racing (road based)

They say that motorcycles are the most dangerous form of transport known to man, which is a statment I tend to support since for the last 25 years I've been falling off them on a regular basis.

Motorcycle road racing can take many forms, each requiring specialised equipment and skills. There are basically 5 different types of road based racing and its perhaps worth pointing out that some are more dangerous than others.

Summary of the road based forms of motorcycle racing

 1. Motorcycle racing: road based

Fast, scary, adrenaline pumping and damn dangerous

Road Racing: Road racing is probably the most adrenaline pumping form of road based racing. It demands concentration, skilled machine control, bravery, and fitness. Road racing is run on purpose built racetracks, converted airfields and on closed public roads (i.e. The Isle of Man). There are numerous categories for road racing catering for small capacity bikes (50cc) through to large superbikes, there are categories of classic and vintage bikes, not to mention sidecar racing as well.

As with other forms of sport, its probably best to start racing when you are young having said that I'm constantly amazed by the number of gray haired fellas I see on the track wearing novice vests (v. cool). Find out more about getting started in road racing



 2. Supermoto racing

Rider skill rules! Its manic sideways action, close racing, and huge fun.

Supermoto (supermotard): Supermotos are manic. Sometimes referred to as Supermotard, this form of motorcycle racing is conducted on tracks made up of both on-road and off-road sections. Restricted to single cylinder engines, Supermotos can be modified moto-x bikes (2 stroke racers like Honda CR's or Kawasaki KX's) or 4 stroke factory supermotos (such as CCM, KTM, Husqvarna etc) giving them dual terrain capabilities. With a mixture of terrain, this form of racing favors riders with skill and talent rather than the person on the fastest or most powerful machine. Supermoto is damn cool and offers lots of close racing, rear wheel steering, wheelies, stoppies and smiles.

To f ind out more about getting started in Supermoto racing see our new Supermoto section with interviews from top supermoto racers, and list of modifications they have done to their machines.



 3. Motorcycle Hillclimbing

Power, torque, speed and requires advanced machine handling skills

Hillclimbing: Hillclimbing is conducted on twisty paved single lane roads (usually on private property) and not purpose-built tracks with friendly gravel run-off areas. The courses are challenging, unforgiving, and in order to be successful in hillclimbing you'll need courage and excellent machine handling skills.

The bikes used in this sport vary, from ordinary classic and modern road bikes, to specialised lightweight hillclimb bikes with a low centre of gravity and oodles of torque. Find out more about getting started in Hillclimbing



 4. Motorcycle Drag racing and sprint racing

Lightening quick reflexes hard acceleration and lots of burning rubber

Drag racing: Drag racing and sprint racing are all about hard acceleration and straightline speed. In drag racing the track (or strip) is no more than a quarter of a mile long, where 2 competitors race side by side. Sprint racing is very similar to drag racing but in Sprint the strip is up to 1 mile long and can have either 2 competitors racing side by side, or sometimes with one competitor racing against the clock.

The bikes used in this form of road racing vary tremendously, from ordinary sports and classic bikes, through to purpose-built dragsters with supercharged V8 engines. Yikes. Find out more about getting started in Drag Racing



 5. Minimoto racing

Pocket sized GP bikes... close racing and good fun

Minimoto: Minimotos are perhaps the least dangerous form of road based racing and are great fun for both kids (as young as 6 years old) and adults alike and if minimotos were good enough to help world GP champion Valentino Rossi get started in racing there must be something in them.

Although these miniture bikes (approximately 20" x 36") look like toys, some of these 40cc engines once race prepped will enable these little critters to reach up to 80 mph on the straights. Minimotos are fun and fairly inexpensive to run. Find out more about getting started in Minimoto racing