So you want to come racing with us?
Before you can make loads of noise and pollute the countryside of England and Wales with two stroke fumes, you must obtain a race licence from the Auto Cycle Union (ACU). A licence costs around £25 per year. You must take an eye test, belong to the British Racing Motorcycle Club (BEMSEE) and complete a Competence To Comete (CTC) type test to get a race licence. The folks at Bemsee are particularly good at making the obtaining a licence process as easy as possible, send off for an application form for your ACU licence from the ACU, complete it, get an eye test and send it all off to Bemsee with their club membership application. The club will forward your ACU application to the ACU for you. Easy!
Bemsee hold a rookie open day, normally in December where you can get your eye test done as well. You will need a couple of passport type photos, bear in mind it will be on your license forever, so no funny hats, wigs or comedy glasses. You no longer need a medical to get a race licence.
The CTC consists of two parts. There are various ways of doing the required tests. The easy way is to attend the Bemsee CTC day, held in February, where the Saturday is in the classroom and the Sunday out on track. The classroom stuff is the ACU requirement which is a lecture and test on the ACU handbook, flags and safety issues, it's pretty laid back to be honest and I don't know anybody who has managed to fail it! If eleven year old Superteens can cope with it I'm sure any prospective YPMer will be more than able. The Sunday is an on track assessment, normally overseen by one of the designated YPM assessors. Basically it's a slow track day, which the purpose is to make sure you can actually ride a motorcycle and are not going to be a danger to yourself or those around you. It's a good weekend and an excellent way of meeting most of the club who turn out en-masse to welcome you. It also gives the hardened campaigners a chance to offer advice, regale you with racing, crashing and drinking tales and generally poke fun at your motorbike.
You can also if you wish attend the classroom part of the test at ACU headquarters in Rugby, www.ACU.net for more details of available days, and then have your riding assessed at a track day by an approved instructor or on a Bemsee test day with a Bemsee instructor.
There are different levels of ACU licence - Novice, Intermediate Novice, Clubman, National. For your first year of racing, most will apply for an Intermediate Novice for which you must have a full motorcycle road licence and enables you to race any capacity machine. A Novice licence requires no road licence but restricts you to 600cc. As a Novice (or Intermediate Novice) licence holder, you must race wearing an orange bib.
These are available for an extra £5 when you apply for your licence. You may drop the orange bib after you have 10 race signatures on your ACU card. You can obtain 1 signature per day of racing, so a maximum of 2 signatures for a weekend no matter how many races you compete in. The signatures have to be at 3 or more different circuits. At this point you can upgrade your licence to Clubman status.
BEMSEE are the biggest, and without a doubt the best, racing club, offer the most meetings and race at circuits mainly in the South of the Country, Brands Hatch, Snetterton, and Cadwell Park, with the odd trip to Wales and the North of England. There are of course other racing clubs and once you have your licence you can race in their meetings by joining the relevant club, normally available as a one off meeting charge.
So you have your licence, what else do you need to do?
Buy, beg steal or borrow a bike! Get something to transport it and carry your stuff, buy one piece leathers, boots, gloves and crash helmet. You will need dog tags with your name and date of birth on, but it is no longer necessary to have your blood group on it.
The Club bike: Under preparation at the moment is the club 'taster' bike, Available to prospective YPMers our club bike is available to hire with a couple of experienced helpers to give advice and look after the machine. Aimed squarely at prospective racers, this is not a birthday present day out from your partner, more an actual race weekend, with all the excitement and drama involved
A brief overview:
Bike: Have a read through the how to prepare guides, come to a few meetings and ask around the paddock (follow the two-stroke fumes, you'll either find us or the MZ club, if they try to persuade you to race the idiosyncratic German bikes, tell them you prefer reliable (!) Yamahas and look for something with two exhausts). Join the forum; there are normally a few machines up for sale in the closed season. Or you can go down the frustrating but ultimately rewarding process of building your own from a road bike, a read through the technical section will point you in the right direction and advice is freely available form members of the club who have done just that.
Helmet: It will need to have a current ACU sticker and be free from major damage, a chat to current YPMers will be able to offer some suggestions on suitability for racing, there have been some long threads on the forum on the subject that are worth a read through
One piece leathers, gloves, boots and a dog tag.
Transport. In theory you could ride your bike to the meetings, take off the relevant road stuff and race it. In reality these days it will normally involve a van of some sort or at least a car and trailer. Gives you somewhere to sleep and saves you putting a tent up in a gale at Snetterton in the dark. A van really is a better proposition and gives you the option of towing your $100 ebay bargain caravan as well.