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My 250cc Racing Experience May 5th - Long Read

Discussion in 'Racing, Motorsports, and Track Days' started by RedNinja, May 8, 2007.

  1. The thing about racing is everyone thinks it's too hard, too expensive and above all, just plain mad. You know, they're right and wrong, there is a race class for every type of rider and budget, so don't be put off, but it is mad.

    This is a first hand experience from someone's first day racing, me.

    Let's set the scene. Just over 7 months ago I was doing Super bike school at Philip Island, I was having the best day ever, knee down, smooth and fast, lap after lap, God I was so happy. Unfortunately it didn't stay that way. In the later part of the day things changed horribly. I made a small steering mistake, caught my left foot-peg at high speed and lost the rear, leading to a complete loss of control.

    Result… a spectacular crash (no accident, no piano fell out of the sky on me, I just plain screwed up).

    My bike basically look like a twisted heap, nothing on it was spared, a few flips and the kitty litter really did a number on it. I couldn't believe insurance paid up, lucky.

    Myself, at first I felt ok, apart from the searing pain my right ankle and left hand. Nothing broken, but lots of soft tissue damage, Hyper Extension. The Sports Doc told me on a scale of 1-10 and 11 being a break, yours is a 10. After a few months of Physio and exercises, I walked again without any visible sign of the accident, I can even run now. It's about 85% of its former self.

    Needless to say I was terrified of returning to the track and didn't have much desire to. I however had no such problems with road riding, which I returned to 5 weeks after the crash.

    ~3 weeks ago…

    My riding group of friends are all racers, 250cc Production and 125 GP Classes. They have been at me for years to go race with them and I've always said "No". It wasn't because I was scared, I just didn't want too, I felt I was happy with what I was doing and had nothing to prove by racing.

    My friends had arranged a race ride for me on a 250cc Yamaha Zeal and there was no way not to accept, they wouldn't hear of it. As far as they were concerned, I was going racing, track demons or not. In the end I caved and just accepted, I bought the best boots I could afford..

    The day…

    I have to say the stress for me on the lead up to the day and getting everything sorted (because I didn't know what I was doing or what I had to do) was huge. I didn't feel relaxed or in an enjoyable mood for most of the day at the track.

    My girl Renee was a huge help on the lead up to and on the day (I am sure given half a chance she would've donked me on the head and taken the bike out herself). I found additional help at the track really is something you need, support with racing is very important.

    First warm-up, we line up at the dummy grid, flag goes, we're off. I stay right back, flick through the gears, break hard for the first corner, slip half way up the tank, barely lean in, wallow round the corner, lose all my revs, go wide, eyes wide on my visor and get through the corner. Phew.

    Repeat this brown trouser moment every corner for 4 laps. And I wasn't even racing yet, dam what had I gotten myself into this time?

    I also figured out why "Crash Corner" is named so, as I nearly went off the track the first time through it.

    I finally stop in the pits, get off the bike, drenched in sweat, not sure if I want to go out again and muttered something to Renee about how I didn't realise how fast a 250cc was on the track. I'd just seen 250cc's as the annoying bike you had to have to get your full licence. Wrong! They are also an evil track weapon.

    The long and the short of it is I started to get used to the track (Broadford), during the races and eventually even figured out that monster known as the Zeal. By my second last race of the day, I was flying, not the fastest there, but smooth and consistent, knee down, milking the corners for more speed. I felt good again, last years crash a million miles away.

    I found myself wanting more revs like other 250's seemed to have on the straights (CBR/ FZR's and stuff), but mostly I needed a different foot peg position, as I couldn't get my right foot far enough back to execute right turns the way I wanted too (I think this was a result of the damage I did to it).

    End of the day, I was pumped to finish the last race and to have fished all my races. I had a real sense of achievement. I even had a beer as we enjoyed the winners presentations and felt like a racer myself, secretly thinking "Boy I'd like one of those cups"….

    I'm not sure what's next, but I've got some good ideas hehehe…

    Biggest thanks to Renee and all her support through my negativity about the day. Thanks to all my friends for the support (badgering) to go racing and organising a loan bike. Also to Keith from Victorian Motorcycle Wreckers for supplying the bike and the encouragement.

    Will put some photo's up soon...
  2. Thanks for sharing. I was there on the day you raced and thought the 250cc race looked very fun!

    I don't understand but I thought I saw an RS250 and RGV 2-stroke racing with them? Was there 2 strokes racing with you, surely they would have an unfair advantage?
  3. Yes confusing isn't it, but I wasn't racing the two-strokes, they are just on the track at the same time as my race class. Did you also see the 400cc's bikes out there at the same time?

    The way this works is bikes are broken into classes and many classes may race on the track at the same time. You are only racing against other members in your class though, so racing equal-ish machine types.

    Many classes make up a formula and I was in the formula 3 races.

    Was a lot of scary fun :)
  4. Ok that makes a hell of a lot more sense now. Do you know of any website that has the different class listings and what rules and regulations they must comply with? My dad and I are interested in building a bucket racer but need to know the various rules first.
  5. Best bet would be to speak to someone from one of the clubs. PM sent with details for one.
  6. What parts of the track did you enjoy the most? Those superbikes got some serious speed up on the back straight. The chicane looked like great fun before the pit lane corner.
  7. I actually liked the big left before the straight, could really get my knee down there.

    Crash corner was fun too after I figured out how to take it.

    The straights on the Zeal were painful as I watched everyone else vanish.

    after the last race, I just wanted to go out again :grin:
  8. Good write-up RedNinja :grin:

    I'm pretty sure I saw you out on the track during a couple of my races.
  9. Great write up, inspiring to boot.
    Glad to see the demons vanishing.
  10. I am sure you did, because I saw you go past me :grin: I am sure glad they wave that blue flag to let you know someone is coming... :)

    Sides got some photo's of you too, so PM her your email if you'd like them.
  11. Great write up!

    Glad that the demons are going (if not gone!). Problem is now that you'll want to buy one and go racing. :)
  12. Ta Cejay!

    The day was great and yes I want to do it again. I am unsure what type of class I want to race in tho. So many choices... Depends on what you want to do with the bike and $$$ you want to spend.
  13. I'm selling the Fireblade and then going to join Nova and others in the Twin Sprints. At least that's the plan this week! If I could find a class that's fun and cheaper than the Sprints I would look at doing that as instead or as well as.

    MA licence arrived yesterday, so just need a bike...
  14. Cejay,

    Well I have to say the 250's were heaps of fun and seems to be very cheap to make happen. It takes a lot of skill to ride them well to get the most out of them.

    It also isn't a cluttered class of riders either.

    Not sure about the 400cc class, but parts for those are getting harder to get and the starting cost is about $3k higher than 250's.

    250's would be good I think if you want the racing experience for a few years, with all the fun and low cost. That is if you have no plans to go big time. Otherwise, you'd probably be better off starting on a bigger cc bike first.
  15. Nice writeup.

    Which mates of yours race 125GP?
  16. You'll get a good 400cc race package (spares, stands, warmers, etc) for around $5k:


    That wasn't directed at you cejay!
  17. nice write up- glad u had fun. I was their racing in formula 3 to. On a 400 though. No.91. Ended up coming 5th on the day which i was pretty happy with.

    As for 400 racing its probably the biggest growing class in australia at the moment. Their are heaps of riders starting to get into it and take it pretty seriously. The interstate side of it has just been boosted by the introduction of the www.mrrda.com These guys are running realllly quick lap times and their are some great riders.

    As for club level its a little bit more relaxed. U get anyone in their, from runnin sub 1.50's at the island to 2 min pplus.

    400 will set u back anywhere from 3000-8000$$$ depending on what kind of a bike you want. The higher end ones have obviously had aloit of work put into them. I got mine for around 4g and it has been great. Im still getting faster. They are a cheap class to get into. Spares are everywhere, especially in the UK and japan.

    As for racing in the interclub series.... if you have a bike, they will have a class for you! They want anyone to race!
  18. Just caught this thread. Great to see that you're on the bike at full volume again man!

    Nice write up.

    Say g'day to sides.


  19. Ta mate, it's good to be back.

    News is now I have my own bike a CBR250R :twisted:

    I've pulled it down to just the frame and am doing the whole race prep thing, so much cleaning. It will be great to go to the next meet with my own bike and give it a good go :grin:

    Racing was seriously a lot of fun and the 250's were much faster than I would've thought. Given the little $$$ to get into the class, it was a no brainer.

    Cheers All, RN