If you've not got a license yet and want to know how to get one; read the first guide in the series to understand exactly what you'll need to do. Click here for the link to 'Getting your License'
Now I've just mentioned one of the scariest words in motorcycling racing... Scrutineering! (Otherwise known as Technical Control) Other than the start of your first race, this will be the most nerve-racking activity of the weekend. Why you ask? Well, one of the first things you'll have to do when you turn up at a race weekend is take your bike to Hell, sorry, Technical Control. Before you can get on the grid it's an ACU requirement for you to have your kit and your bike checked over by scrutineers to ensure it meets ACU regulations. What I will guide you through first is what additional items you'll need to do to your bike to ensure you pass. It's not really that scary, it just causes unnecessary hassle and stress if you fail.
Please note: This guide covers the ACU General Technical Specifications for Road Racing, found here, different clubs often have additional requirements for different championships. Make sure you check the Supplementary Regulations for the specific club and championship you are racing in.
In preparation for 2018 I will be converting a relatively standard 2009 Kawasaki ZX-6R Road bike into a race worthy one. This bike is what I will be using to guide you through the process of 'prepping' your bike for racing. So lets get going.
The first thing to say is that all bikes are required to have engine and frame numbers that have obviously not been tampered with or deleted, new unstamped components like frames are allowed. If you suspect your bikes numbers have been tampered with then contact the relevant authorities, if you're going to see a bike with tampered numbers... Walk away, no matter how cheap!
Step 1 - Fairings
Really the first step in preparing any motorcycle for track, racing or trackdays. Mainly to stop you damaging those precious road kits, you'll need a set of track fairings for 1 main reason; under section OIL CONTAINMENT in the handbook, it states that the lower fairing must be able to hold 50% of the machines total oil/coolant, should a major failure happen. It also allows you to get rid of the headlamps, brake light and indicators which are not required for racing and will save you serious weight. If you've already got a set of fairings, new or used, move onto the next step, but remember, fitted track fairings should be secure and handlebars MUST turn lock to lock without contacting any part of the fairing or screen.
Remember: When you remove any electrical item, make sure you sufficiently tape up all the connectors to prevent water ingress and rust/ shorting connectors.
Tip: If you buy new fairings then make sure you trial fit before painting them. Quite often youll need to drill holes and cut out sections to make a better fit. You don't want to be doing that with freshly painted fairings!
Step 2 - Numbers
Once you've got those fairings on, you'll need numbers. You can find these on ebay or a variety of suppliers, I use a really good guy called Roger Clements of Simply Signs & Graphics (email@example.com ), just send the font and size you need, he will send you a mock up of what you want and then do the rest.
So what do you need?
You need 1 main number which must be clearly visible from the front of the bike, this is usually applied to the front screen or front fairing. 2 side numbers, usually applied to the lower belly pan fairing, 1 on the left and 1 on the right.
Sizing... of much contention in the Road Racing world, some clubs are very strict, some a little more lenient. Regardless of how pretty you want them, you're best off sticking to the guidelines than being told to change them on the day of your first race
Minimum Dimensions for front numbers are a Height of 140mm and Width of 80mm per digit on a Background 285mm by 235mm.
Minimum Dimensions for side numbers are a Height of 140mm and Width of 80mm per digit on a Background 285mm by 235mm.
Colours depend on your class so make sure you know before you buy them but they tend to be:
600cc motorcycles - White Background with Blue Numbers
1000cc motorcycles - White Background Black Numbers
Step 3 - Lockwiring
This is an important part of preparing your bike for racing, the regulations state that any oil drain plugs or filters must be securely fastened and the most convenient way of doing this is lockwiring. For this you'll want to get yourself a pair of lock wire pliers, you can do it with mole grips but it's much more fiddly. I'd recommend a pair of Clarke pliers as well as some lock wire, both can be bought quite easily on ebay or amazon (see links below). The idea is to stop the bolt undoing so make sure you always fix it to something that pulls it tight.
What to wire?
Oil Filler Cap - Mandatory
Oil Drain Plug - Mandatory
Oil Filter - Mandatory
Oil dip stick (where applicable) - Mandatory
Grips - Optional
Brake Caliper Bolts - Optional
Brake Pad Pins - Optional
To lockwire these things, you'll need holes in them. The easiest way is to head over to the Pro Bolt website and pick up a full set of Race Drilled bolts, perhaps the easiest but also the most expensive. You can of course drill your own holes, but it's not an easy feat without a pillar drill.
- The one bolt I suggest you do buy pre-drilled is the oil sump/drain bolt. That's a big bolt to drill a small hole in
- Check your oil filler cap, usually it's plastic/nylon which you can easily drill and save yourself £15
- Buy an oil filter with a nut on the end, they already have holes in to put the wire through and are usually priced similar to the OEM filters. I use K&N but I believe HiFlo do them as well
Pliers - Clarke Lockwiring Pliers
Wire - Lock wire
Sump Bolt - Pro Bolt race drilled sump bolt
Step 4 - Coolant
Simple one this... You can't run it or water wetter. Only water is allowed in the radiator.
Empty it out, flush with fresh water and refill with distilled / de-ionised water. Cheap from Halfords
Step 5 - Brakes
Specifically brake lines. For bikes with 2 front discs, which is most modern machines, you will need to fit brake lines which split at or above the lower yoke. That's either a race line (2 lines from the master cylinder) or a T line (1 line from MC which splits into 2 at the yoke)
Note - Although most never use it, you must have a functioning rear brake, they will check it's working during scrutineering. I'd recommend Goodridge lines, UK based manufacturer for pretty much every bike, a nice touch is they make them to order and are available in loads of colours.
Step 6 - Chain Guards
These are commonly known as sharks fins, think you can work out why! They are a mandatory item on race bikes for the purpose of preventing a riders fingers or other limbs getting trapped between the chain and the sprocket, should the rider become detached from their machine. You'll most likely need to drill and tap your swing arm so make sure you have the tools to do it. Chain Guards are readily available from GB Racing or R&G, or you could always make your own. Here are some pictures of the GB Racing one I fitted to the ZX6R.
Step 7 - Rear Red Warning Light
All bikes must have a functioning red light fitted facing rearward on the machine to be used in wet races or as instructed by Race Control. Ideally it should be mounted under the rear seat unit approximately on the machine centre line. These are easily available from ebay and can be battery powered, for solo racing the on switch can be on the unit. (Endurance racing it must be on the handlebar) I purchased one from Parkitt Racing, really easy to fit with just 3 bolts in a nice neat unit.
Rear Rain Light Link
Step 8 - Levers, Bars & Rearsets
Although not mandatory, I'd strongly recommend you buy a set of fixed peg adjustable rearsets and handlebar clipons. The rearsets will give you the ability to adjust footpeg position as well as the ability to replace parts in the event of an accident. Clipons in the same manner, a set of maxon or SES clip ons give you the ability to change the handlebar tubes which are usually the first things to bend on impact.
Remember - ACU regulation means that levers, footpegs and bar ends must have a rounded end to prevent an apple coring type affect if they land on your fleshy parts!
Step 9 - Side Stand
This must be removed mainly for safety, it's a relatively simple task but there is something you MUST remember to do. On most if not all of the bikes you choose to race there will be a side stand switch, this is to stop you moving away with the stand still down. Obviously when you remove this switch, the bike will always think the stand is down, this is what you need to do.
- Cut the plug off from the main harness
- Remove the wire insulation to reveal the copper
- Solder (if you don't have solder simply twist together) the two wires together
- Wrap with insulation tape or heat shrink to protect from the elements and zip tie out the way
This will trick the bike into thinking the stand is always up, just make sure you do remove it and keep it off as I've seen some nasty accidents in the pit lane with people forgetting
Step 10 - Wheels
Although it's not strictly in the regulations it is common practise to fit metal dust caps and tape over your wheel weights (to stop them flinging off if they come unstuck!) Again this is more common practise rather than mandatory but it could cause you to fail as many Scrutineers like it so it's worth doing.
Step 11 - Supplementary Regulations
There may also be supplementary regulations outlined by your club, it is your responsibility to check these regulations prior to attending a race meeting however there are two main items that are mandatory in many clubs and if not, are well worth your investment
- Front brake level guard: This is to protect the brake lever from being pulled accidentally in case of a bit of elbow rubbing or fairing bashing! There's a link below to the Tracktanium guard, this is what I have fitted and it's decent value for money.
- Secondary engine cases: These are usually plastic based covers which are fitted to the engine to prevent the cases from breaking during a crash and spilling oil over the circuit. They are well worth the money and are much cheaper and readily available than replacement cases. R&G and GB Racing are the main suppliers, both of which I've personally crash tested!
Lever Guard - https://parkitt-performance-motorcycle-racing.myshopify.com/products/tracktanium-brake-lever-guard
|GB Racing Engine Cover|
*these were bought used hence the missing letter paint
Well that's it, simples right! Thanks for reading, I hope this guide has been useful in helping you to prep your bike ready for racing. If you have any questions then please drop me a message.
Look out for the next blog... What to expect at your first race
Big Thanks to Parkitt Racing who have done a lot of the tuning and suspension work and supplied some of the items I've mentioned above. If you need advice these are the guys to ask!