If you have the money and time then maybe you can turn a great hobby into how you make a living from racing bikes.
Our top findings are summarised as:
1. Before you can race a motor bike in the UK, you need a racing licence from the Auto Cycle Union (ACU).
2. To obtain an ACU licence, you will need to be a member of a racing club and pass an eyesight test.
3.The British Motorcycle Racing Club (BMCRC) is the UK’s biggest racing club, though you can also join a local organisation.
4.There are 4 different levels to the ACU race licence: Novice, Clubman, National and International.
5. Once you’ve competed in 10 separate race meetings on at least 4 different circuits, you can move up from Novice level.
6. A National licence will allow you to compete at BSB level and to also take part in prestigious events such as the Manx GP.
7. Always invest in the best quality protective equipment that you can afford; don’t try and scrimp and save as at some point you will have an accident.
8. Finding a sponsor is critical if you want to be a full time racing bike driver.
What You Need to Know
Get Qualified and Licensed
Before you can even think about trying to become a racer, you’ll need to learn how to ride on two wheels, and a good place to start is by completing the Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) course.
If you pass this, and also pass a theory test, you will be qualified to ride a motorcycle with an engine size of up to 125cc and then, after 2 years, upgrade to riding more powerful bikes.
If you are already a competent ride, however, then your very first step should be to obtain a race licence from the Auto Cycle Union (ACU). If you want to race in the UK, then a race licence is compulsory. The ACU organises test days throughout the year and you will be tested on your eyesight as well as your ability to ride properly.
At the same time, you will also need to join a racing club. You can join any club you choose, though most beginners either opt for a local organisation or the British Motorcycle Racing Club (BMCRC), which is the biggest – and some say best – organisation in the UK.
Most clubs charge small annual membership fees and then you will be asked to pay extra for any meets or races you take part in.
There are 4 different levels to the ACU race licence and you will need to invest significant amounts of time, money and effort into progressing as a racing driver.
These 4 levels are:
- Novice: Regardless of how much experience you have on 2 wheels, you will always start out as a Novice. Novices are restricted to racing bikes with no more than 600cc and are always required to wear an orange bib while racing. Once you’ve competed in 10 separate race meetings on at least 4 different circuits, then you can ditch the bib and upgrade to the Clubman licence.
- Clubman: As a Clubman rider, you are free to enter any club-level race, though extra entrance fees may apply. A few BSB (British Superbikes) events may accept Clubman racers, but competition for places on the starting grid can be fierce. To move up another level, you will need to finish in the top half of the field in 10 races or more and on at least 4 different circuits.
- National: The National licence level is when things start to get really serious. This type of licence will allow you to compete at BSB level and to also take part in prestigious events such as the Manx GP.
- International Licence: After holding a National licence for at least a year, you are free to upgrade to an International licence, which will permit you to enter races outside of the UK, provided you are fast enough to qualify, of course.
Invest in Protective Equipment
Buying a super-fast bike may seem like a logical first step, but it makes more sense to invest in high-quality protective equipment first.
After all, the chances are, you will crash at some point at the start of your racing career, so it’s best to spend what funds you do have on buying the best quality helmets and leathers.
Never be tempted to scrimp on safety gear, even if it means you have less to spend on your bike.
As well as investing in protective equipment, you should also get in shape before you start racing. The sport can be incredibly physically demanding and being in shape can not only help you go faster, it can also help minimise any damage you might sustain if – or when – you fall off.
Invest in a Race Bike
Before you spend any money on your first racing bike, you need to decide what class you want to compete in. Do you want to push yourself at 600cc level, or start off at the equally-competitive but less dangerous 400cc level?
Fortunately, for both classes, there will always be a large number of used bikes for you to choose from, and it makes far more sense to buy second-hand than to buy a new road bike and converting that into a racing machine.
Check out the classified adverts in Motorcycle News (MCN) or on the BMCRC website, though ask an experienced rider for help if you’re not too sure what you’re looking for.
Once you’ve started progressing in the sport, and hopefully started winning some prize money, then you can start to think about buying a faster, more powerful bike.
When you’re starting out, you should also start learning about the mechanics of your bike as, at club level, you’ll be carrying out your own repairs.
One other thing worth bearing in mind is that you will not be able to ride your bike to a track and then race on it. Instead, you’ll need to find a way of transporting your bike to and from meets. This may mean investing in a trailer or, better still, buying a van or even sharing transportation costs with fellow racers from your area.
Once you’ve got your protective equipment and a track-worthy bike, then it’s time to get racing. To get started, your local racing club should be your number one source of information and will either hold events of its own or be able to point you towards nearby meets.
Alternatively, both the ACU and the BMCRC websites have events pages informing racers of meets up and down the country, while the pages of MCN can also help you find your next race.
Find a Sponsor
Motorcycle racing is an expensive business. Not only do you need to buy a bike and expensive protective equipment, you will also have to pay to get to and from races, as well as fork out for extras such as insurance, mechanics’ fees and club memberships.
If you are serious about racing and do want to make a living out of it, then you should try and find a sponsor. Local biking gear shops, garages and clubs may be a good place to start, though in many cases, sponsors will come looking for you if you start clocking up the podium finishes.
otherwise it maybe simply an enjoyable but expensive hobby.
Read up on how to get your motorcycle licence for road riding Here.
If you dont have the passion or time and money to invest in a dream of being a racing driver, most of us dont, as most of us need help finding a simply job to pay everyday bills. If you need to find work a.s.ap then visit our Job Centre Online and find your local jobcentre.
We also have more Career Guides for ideas and inspiration or if you know what kind of work your looking for then simply perform a job search with UK Jobs Guide.