DISCLAIMER: This turned into a pretty long post, scroll to the bottom blue text for cliffs..
I'm starting this thread to share an account of my progression from not owning a motorcycle to getting involved with the racing scene. The reason that I post this is to show any new riders out there that it is possible to get involved in the racing scene in a short period of time (meaning you don't need years of riding experience to get started).
I considered getting a motorcycle almost a year ago. It was around this time in Jan/Feb where I started researching what I needed to get a bike onto the road, what safety school I should attend(ended up at prs), how I could get licensed etc etc. I could probably do a separate thread on getting started but I'll leave it up to the new riders to do their research as there is a ton of info available online.
In June 2011 I picked up a Ninja 250r and fell in love with riding. I rode the streets for a thousand or so kms (hitting the sea-to-sky often). After getting a taste of what riding on the street was like, I wanted to try racing/learning to ride on a closed course. I saw that nancy organized track days at Pitt Meadows for $100 for the day and decided to check it out.
Here is a video of one of my first times out there on my 250. Video 1:
After I tried it, I was hooked. Street riding was fun and all, but for me nothing gave me the thrill of trying to push my limits on a closed course with some friendly competition. I attended 2 or 3 track days at pitt meadows and learned TONS every time. The best thing about it was learning how to actually ride my bike in a safe environment. You simply can not explore your bike's ability safely on the street, but on a closed course -no problem.
It was nearing the end of the season and I wanted to get one last "track" day in. I heard that there was a taste of racing event being held at mission and the forcast showed nothing but sunny days. The day for riding mission finally came, and to my dismay it was lightly raining outside. I headed down to the track anyways since I had pre-registered and in the morning there was only a drizzle. Besides, what could go wrong with a bit of rain right?
Once at the mission, my first run on my bike I tucked the front end going into turn 7 travelling at a pretty slow speed (if I had to guess ~15km/h). The lowside was a result of not letting my tires warm up, braking too hard, and having little-none experience riding in wet conditions. Not gonna lie, I was pretty bummed the rest of the day. Although the damage to the bike pretty minor and only cosmetic, I could no longer call it "Mint". The one thing that did brighten my day up was the amazing sense of community I felt by the racers/staff at the track. Everyone was helpful, friends lent me a ride home, and Pacific Motorsports were kind enough to trailer my bike back to their shop (still very grateful for that, thanks guys!).
That was the end to my season, and although slightly bummed I wasn't discouraged. I did however come to the realization that as a college student, racing a motorcycle (even if just a 250) wasn't too practical financially. It could be done, but was a bit of a stretch. I put my bike away for storage and bought any parts that needed replacing to get the 250 back to normal throughout the off-season.
I didn't think of motorcycle racing until recently where I discovered the mini racing that takes place at Greg Moore Raceway in Chilliwack. After doing some research, I decided that racing a smaller bike like an NSR50 on a go-kart track was exactly what I needed to get involved in racing. If you are not familiar with the type of bike, here are a few NSR's and other similar bikes racing at GMR. Video 2:
Since the track is small and the bikes are small, everything is to scale and really translates into racing bigger bikes. Additionally, the bikes are cheap to buy, cheap to maintain, and safe to learn on since your not travelling at warp speed. I haven't been out to the track just yet, but I will be joining them this upcoming season. Once my ninja250 is sold, I'll be picking up an NSR and heading down for some fun.
With the unfortunate circumstance of events going on at mission (check wmrc forums for more info), I imagine more racers are considering coming out to Greg Moore Raceway. There are several classes that are raced, and new ones might be added. For more info goto http://www.miniracingbc.com/ or PCMRC on facebook. (I'm not trying to spam or promote and am in no way affiliated with the club, just sharing what I've learned about it recently). If racing is something you have wanted to try but never got into due to cost and danger, I highly recommend checking out this organization.
At pitt meadows track days, I met a racer whom many of you know - Spero. He was on one of these bikes as well and said that he enjoyed riding it almost as much as he did riding his full scale bike. I actually spotted him in this video here (shows up at 2:30, gets passed shortly after haha). Video 3:
Anyways, that sums up my journey from where I started to where I am at now. My progression from being a brand new rider to one that has been bitten by the race bug has been an awesome experience. I'm looking forward to becoming a better rider in the future and becoming more involved with racing as my experience builds. I hope this post wasn't just a long rant but rather has at least some information that is of use to my fellow riders.
Sorry for the terribly long post, here are the cliffs.
1) I started riding in June 2011. Street riding was fun but I enjoyed track/closed course racing 100x more.
2) I tried riding at pitt meadows track days and mission taste of racing. It was very fun, and a great experience. I wanted to pursue racing further though, and racing my bike wasn't too practical for me financially. Video 1 is of me on my ninja at pitt meadows
3) I discovered a local organization called PCMRC that races smaller bikes. Racing with them seems much more practical and as a result I am selling my 250 to pick up a smaller bike. Videos 2 and 3 are of racing action at Greg Moore Raceway in Chilliwack
4) Regardless of whether you are a new or seasoned rider, if you want to try racing in a safe and economical manner, this may be a viable option for you!
Just to make it clear, I am not trying to discredit other race tracks/organizations. I am only showing an option for those who may want to race on those tracks in the future, but to get started might want to try racing smaller bikes.