Want to Start Racing?

If you’re interested in starting racing, here are some of the things you need to know and we’re most frequently asked.

But please remember, you don’t have to memorise any of this, we are here to guide you through each step as required. The best person to contact with racing queries is Nino Pezzini.

Racing is not a cheap hobby and everyone has a different budget. What it will cost an individual will vary greatly over a season depending on a number of factors.

Here are some ideas on what you need and perhaps the most economical ways do things.

Race bike

The most cost effective way is to race what you already own, This is possible if you have a suitable road or track day bike. If you are buying a bike, and looking for a budget class to race with NG, there are many choices, such as MiniTwins (mainly Suzuki SV650) Street Stock, Pre-Injection etc. You can see the classes that NG races here.

Clothing

Spend wisely on your helmet, leathers and back protector: do not skimp on quality here.

Transport to and from the event

Bike trailers or Transit type vans are the most popular. Remember to budget for fuel as well.

Accommodation at the event

If you can afford a caravan great. If not, a tent or cheapest of all a camp bed and duvet in back of your van. If you are keen to stay off site, bargains can often be had at Premier Inns/Travel Lodges by booking months in advance. Remember though, if you do this you will miss out on the great NG paddock atmosphere in the evenings.

Food

You can purchase all of your meals at the circuit’s own restaurants, though pre cooking and taking your own is the cheapest (and healthiest?) method.

Remember to eat well and wisely, plus remember to keep fluids up. It’s easy to forget this with everything else you will have on your mind at your first events.

Tyres

These are quite a significant part of your budget and the cost will depend largely on your choice of machine. We won’t advocate a cheap way of doing this, apart from choosing to race a Suzuki SV 650 twin, rather than the latest tyre munching superbike.  If you choose to try and get the last bit out of worn tyres, you will certainly not be getting the best from your machine, and could put yourself at risk of sliding off and having a repair bill way in excess of the cost of say a new rear tyre.

At all of our Race and Test events we have two very well-known paddock retail outlets offering tyres and a fitting service. Plus a range of other consumables.

Transponder

This must be fitted to your machine at all times you are on the track. These cost in the region of £230 or can be hired from us at £30 per event.

Other costs you can’t avoid

These include annual ACU membership c £48 – club membership. NG Membership is currently £25 per annum. Race Entry fees vary depending on the venue, but is currently from £240 for one class per weekend (up to 4 races), if you enter a second class (gets you 4 more races) the extra is from just £100

Test days (ACU Practice days)

At NG we run two test days at the start of March each year, plus at most circuits we visit there is a test day on the Friday prior to the weekend of the event. These can be booked through us or, in some cases, with the circuit itself. The cost of these days varies depending on venue c.£120. If your pocket will stretch to these, then we strongly recommend them, especially if you are new to the circuit – remember, there is no substitute for track time. We will also have club racing “mentors” available on these days who, if you wish, will be happy to advise and assist you. You just let us know.

We have been organising and promoting race meetings since way back in the early ‘70s. It is widely acknowledged that there is no better or friendlier place to start your racing journey than with NG. We are abundantly qualified to help guide you through all the steps you need to take, from the couch to your first race meeting and beyond. Many of today’s top riders have followed this path.

In each year we generally have events at eight different venues. This is more than any other UK club. So whether you decide to just do a few events in your area of the country, or follow us for the whole season, we will be able to cater for you.

The ACU (Auto Cycle Union) is the governing body that licences and permits all motorcycle road racing in this country. You need a licence from them to be able to race. You also need to join an ACU-affiliated club such as NG Road Racing.

Here is some information to guide you through what is the very straightforward process of obtaining a Road Race Licence from the ACU.

For assistance at any time with any questions you have, contact Nino Pezzini.

The club you join will issue you with a unique code which you need to enter on to your ACU licence application form.

Here are a few more notes to help complete your form.

At the top of the first page you need to enter your details, name, address etc. Also fix a passport size photo to the top right of page; don’t forget to write your name and date of birth on the back of your photo.

There rest of the four page form is split into seven sections.

Section 1 – Categories of licence required

If you do not possess a Full Category “A” DVLA Motorcycle licence you must put your cross in the “Novice Rider” box

If you do hold a current Full Category “A” DVLA Motorcycle licence, you then put your cross in the “Intermediate Novice Rider” box.

NOTE if you put down as Intermediate Novice, you must attach a copy of your DVLA licence to your application.

Section 2 – Payment

Simply put your card details, or you can enclose a cheque.

If paying by cheque, the Licence applicants Name &  Address should be written on the cheques reverse.

Section 3 – Medical Information

Please put a tick in all the relevant “yes” or “no” boxes.

You must answer these questions honestly, then sign and date at the bottom.

If you are fit and well, then all answers will be “No”

Section 4 – Eyesight Report

If this is your first application, you will need to arrange an eye test, this can be done by your Optician or your own Doctor. Get them to complete the section, sign and stamp in the appropriate box on the form, once they have completed the test.

Section 5 – Medical Report

You are not required to get undergo a medical unless you have answered “yes” to any of the questions in Section 3 – Medical Information, or you are 70 years of age or over.

Section 6 – Declaration and acknowledgements

This is the legal stuff, you must read all paragraphs and sign at the bottom to acknowledge that you have read, understood and accept them. If you are under 18years of age, you must also get your Parent to read and sign the last paragraph – “declaration in respect of minors under 18 years of age”.

Section 7 – Road Race Course and Assessment

Leave this blank, this section is for use by ACU Training body (NGRRC) to confirm you have successfully completed the compulsory courses: Classroom and Basic On Track Riding Assessment. See below for more on these.

When you join NG you will be issued with a unique to you nine digit code. You will need to keep a note of this, as it will enable you to log on to the members area on the ACU website.

Classroom Training Course (CTC) and Basic on Track Riding Assessment (BRA)

All first time applicants for an ACU Road Race Licence must undergo under-go the Classroom Training Course (CTC) and the Basic Riding Ability Assessment. (BRA)

On the day you attend the courses, you must bring with you your completed ACU Licence form, passport sized Photo, copy of your DVLA Licence (where applicable). Also, don’t forget your eye test.

CTC

During the classroom presentation, we will ensure that you get an full understanding all of the critical basic safety and organisational requirements to participate in road racing,

This is followed by the multiple-choice test, which providing you pay attention to the course is very very simple.

A typical timetable is 0900 – 1200 including registration and break.

BRA

The Basic Rider Ability Assessment is to show us you have the ability control a motorcycle and to follow the instructions given in the pre on track Briefing.

You must show you can control a motorcycle safely and be able to hold a reasonable pace on track in a group of others.

To take part in this assessment you must have the use of a motorcycle, and a full set of protective clothing including one piece leathers, a helmet bearing an ACU gold stamp, suitable boots and gloves.

You can ride any motorcycle for the Basic Riding Ability assessment; it does not have to be a race prepared motorcycle, though must be of a safe standard.

A typical timetable 1230-1430 including on track sessions, briefing and practice start.

At the end of the day if successful, you will have your licence stamped by the club and this will be forwarded to the ACU, you will then receive your licence usually within two weeks.

NG organises and run these courses at the start of each season at Pembrey, and then roughly once a month throughout the season at Castle Combe. You can check dates and book your place here.

On these days in addition to the courses, our NG Technical team, NG Club riding mentors and a Suspension Expert will be among others on hand to give you advice and answer questions.

A list of dates and venues of other organisations running these courses can be found on the ACU web site.

If you are over 18 and you do hold a current Full Category “A” DVLA Motorcycle licence, i.e. you have an “Intermediate Novice” licence there are no restrictions on what you are allowed to race.

If you do not possess a Full Category “A” DVLA Motorcycle licence and therefore hold a “Novice” ACU Licence there are certain restrictions on what you are allowed to race.

Very briefly, if you are 18 or over on a “novice” licence you cannot race a machine larger than 600cc 4 cylinder, 675 3 cylinder or 750cc 2 cylinder.

If you are under 18 you are further restricted – there is a full list on the ACU site here.

You can see the list of classes that NG races here.

The one(s) you enter will depend on the machine you are starting out on. If you already own a suitable bike, then this is probably the most cost effective way to start off.

All of our classes are Novice friendly, though unless you are regularly in the fast group on test days, it is perhaps best to avoid the Open and Powerbike classes, although even in these you will almost certainly find others at your pace or slower.

Engine and frame numbers

Please check your bike or the bike you are thinking of buying, has engine and frame numbers that have not been tampered with, changed or defaced in any way. Our technical team will fail any machine that they find that does not comply. New “unstamped” engine and frames bought from the manufacturer are allowed. If in doubt, contact Nino Pezzini. You will need to enter the numbers onto the technical card that you will receive when you enter an event. It’s a good idea to make a note of the number and put on your phone.

OK, you have successfully applied for your ACU licence, and now you have to decide where you are going for your first race.

There are many clubs who run events at circuits around the country, you will have joined one of these (NG of course) in order to qualify for your ACU licence.

Having decided where you are going to race, you enter your first event via our online booking system. If you prefer to enter by post, please contact our secretary, Denise Webb.

Once you have completed and sent your entry, you will be contacted by our secretary to confirm your entry and give details of the timings etc of the event.

NOTE to ensure your entry is dealt with in a timely manner; you must take care to accurately give all of the details asked for on the form.

Remember, the earlier you enter an event, the less likelihood your preferred class will be full. No money is taken from your account until two weeks or less before each event. So, as many competitors do, you can book months in advance should you wish.

All machines have to undergo an inspection by the club’s Technical Officers before being allowed on track at each event. The club has its own team of Technical Officials who have been trained and licenced by the ACU Governing body.

Assuming you are converting a road bike into a race bike you will have to make the following mods. (If you have bought a bike from an existing racer, you just need to check it complies). This means:

  • Removing lights, mirrors and stands
  • Fitting a shark-fin finger guard on the rear of the swinging arm to prevent a finger going between rear sprocket and lower chain run.
  • Ensuring there is only water in radiator – no antifreeze or other additives are permitted
  • Lock wiring the sump plug and oil filter
  • Fitting your racing numbers. Your number will first have to be agreed with our race secretary
  • If you have twin front discs, checking the brake lines to each calliper split no lower than the lower fork yoke.
  • Ensuring the rear of the lower fairing is “dammed” in such a way as the lower fairing will hold at least half of the engine/gearbox oil and radiator coolant.

Fuller details if required can be found in the ACU Handbook. If you have any queries you can contact Nino Pezzini.

You will also be given a machine preparation talk, if desired, when you attend your CTC/BRA courses. This is a great opportunity to see exactly what we are looking for, and if you wish, a techy will look your machine, and advise on any work it may require prior to turning up for your first event.

Also depending on where you live, we can probably put you in touch with an existing member locally, who will happily show you a bike with the conversions.

The techies may also give your bike a cursory safety inspection, but remember the safe condition and road worthiness of your machine is your responsibility.

The techies will also need to check your protective clothing and helmet conforms to the ACU Technical Regs. For further information, again see the Technical Regs in the Road Race section of the ACU Handbook. You are also required to wear an identity disc on a suitable chain around your neck, inscribed with your name and your date of birth.

Once your protective kit and bike has passed inspection, they will sign your technical card and place a signed “sticker” on your helmet and bike, you can now take your signed Technical Card with you to the race office to “sign-on”.

Should you fail the Technical Inspection, a note will be made of the reason, and you will have to remedy the fault. Our techies aren’t allowed to advise you how to do this, though they might tell you what they would do in your circumstances. You will also soon find how helpful and friendly the NG paddock is, there is almost bound to be folk who will point you in the right direction to assist with getting your machine fault free. Once any faults / non-conformities have been rectified, you must return to Technical Bay for re inspection.

After successfully attending Technical, the next place to visit is the Race Office. Here you will be asked to show your completed Technical Card and your current ACU Licence, You will be required to sign on a sheet containing a legal disclaimer. You will then receive a Race Program containing the race order for the event, and you will be told which practice session you will be in.

This is a common question and perhaps the best answer is “virtually nothing”. For most riders in their first races, the way to learn to go faster is by lots of track time. We have many very experienced racers the NG paddock who will be pleased to advise you on your riding. Please ask us and we will introduce you.

A relatively cheap, and very sensible place to start with your bike, is setting up your suspension correctly. We have a suspension expert on hand in our paddocks at all of our events, who will be pleased to look at your bike and advise you for free and work on your set up for a fee. You can have masses of brake horsepower, but if you can’t get your bike into, around and out of the bends you will always lap slower than those with less power but a sweet handling bike.

Many items on this list will definitely sound obvious, but we promise you, each of them will have been forgotten by someone over the years.

  • Your ACU Licence – you will not be able to sign-on and race without this
  • Your passes to gain admittance to the circuit – our secretary will have sent you these.
  • Your technical card – our secretary will have sent you this
  • Your bike(s)!
  • Ignition key(s) for your bike(s), if required
  • Spare fuel (in a suitable container of course)
  • A minimum 2kg dry powder fire extinguisher (it’s the law to have one of these at race meetings)
  • Some basic spares, consumables, tyres
  • Food and any cash you may need

Tips

  • Get a large sports type bag to keep all your regular kit in
  • Have a list of all you need to take with you, keep the list in your kit bag, and check before each trip
  • Keep all necessary paperwork, licence etc in your kit bag
  • Get to the meeting on Friday for the tech inspection
  • Take a friend or partner with you, especially if he / she can change a wheel etc. It is not advisable to attend on your own