How to go Club Racing: Choose a club

In How To

PLENTY of clubs await you in your first foray into racing, and no matter what your aims are or what your budget is, there’s a place for everyone.

With almost 20 standalone clubs running events all across Britain, locating your nearest one probably isn’t all that difficult.

But finding one that’s a perfect fit, well that’s – erm – to be honest that’s not too difficult either. And don’t be fooled into thinking you’re going to learn more or less at one or the other – just get out and race.

Double GP1 title holder Lee Williams triumphed over former National Superstock champ Josh Day in Thundersport’s epic 2016 trophy battle…

In terms of speed and popularity, Thundersport arguably comes in at number one. On most given weekends, it has the fastest racers in Britain outside the BSB paddock, and often attracts National and International-level talent.

Road racing stars from Michael and William Dunlop to Gary Johnson are known to frequent its shores for both signatures and testing time. And although they aren’t registered as a club with the ACU, we’re calling it the fastest club in Britain… but keep in mind they have classes for everyone from brand new racers to ex-National champions.

The British Motorcycle Racing Club (BMCRC or Bemsee) has history over 100 years back, but they’ve evolved with the times and graduated some of the fastest racers in Britain, who started with the club as stone cold rookies.

It’s seen the rise of everyone from six-time British Superbike champion Shane Byrne to club legend Peter Baker, as well as a host of other stars on everything between TZ250s and Minitwins. The bosses at Bemsee are known to frequent Brands Hatch – their home circuit – so if you’re in the London or Southeast area, keep them in mind.

NG Road Racing is another to check out, and like Bemsee they’re not short on talent or class diversity. Apart from hosting the ACU 125 and 250GP National Championships, the Streetstocks championship and the Formula Prostocks Championship, among others, NGRRC was the training ground and is still the stomping ground for both National champs and BSB paddock regulars.

Former National Superstock 1000 champ and British Superbike ace Richard Cooper showing off his skills on a little CB500…

There is no question who you sign up with if you love cake – No Limits Racing. A sister company to the No Limits Trackdays organisation, NLR is known to stock their media centre with luscious puddings. The club not only hosts the ACU National Endurance series – with races between three and eight hours – but it’s also home to the Pirelli Super Series, the Metzeler Newcomers and the brand new Twins Challenge sprint racing series.

With any of the clubs above, whether NLR, NGRRC, Bemsee or Thundersport, you’ll do a fair few miles in your van as you’ll likely travel to at least six tracks across England throughout the season.

Darley Moor, East Midland Racing Association (EMRA) and Tonfanau Road Racing all run track championships, meaning they only compete on one circuit, but that doesn’t mean the competition is anything short of fierce. Drop in on Darley or EMRA on any given off-weekend and you’re likely to see a number of National-level racers out keeping sharp.

And if you happen to be in or near Wales, look into Tonfanau (run by the Crewe and South Cheshire MCC) or the Wirral 100 Motor Club. While the latter holds a round at Oulton Park each year between a number of weekends at Anglesey Circuit, Tonfanau sticks to the same track in Gwynedd for at least four rounds each season.

Northwest racers also have the option of Aintree… no not the Grand National, the Aintree Motorcycle Racing Club. They’re another track championship, with all rounds at the famous Aintree Racecourse, and again one that’s been the training ground for a number of stars on two wheels including multiple World Superbike champ Carl Fogarty.

Aintree Racecourse isn’t just for horses, it’s also for motorbikes…

It might often be called a one-track series, but the Preston and District Motorcycle Club has a few different configurations of its home arena at Three Sisters Karting that it can take advantage of. The tight, technical Wigan circuit hosts every size of bike from 50cc GP machines to Open 1300s.

If you call the Isle of Man home, Andreas Racing Association is where you want to be. Not only do some of the TT’s fastest call Jurby Airfield their training ground, but the club also puts on a four-hour endurance race each year.

Scottish solo racers have at least two clubs to choose from that are relatively close to home – KMSC and Melville  Motor Club. And for the cream of the crop, there’s even the coveted Scottish Championship to fight for.

Knockhill Motor Sports Club (KMSC) puts on a finely-executed show at least four times a year, with track direction at the Fife circuit altering between clockwise and anti-clockwise to give racers a change of pace. Melville is another track championship, based at East Fortune Airfield in East Lothian, but again the racing is just as cutthroat whether the Scots are on one circuit or 10.

The Tyneside-based North East Motorcycle Racing Club (NEMCRC) will run one round at North Yorkshire’s Croft Circuit in 2018, but otherwise it sees quite a few of the same racers as the Scottish clubs due to its two rounds at East Fortune.

The NEMCRC’s 2016 season opener at Croft was less than tropical, but it didn’t keep the Northerners at bay…

Auto 66 Racing is perhaps best known for running the famous Oliver’s Mount races at Scarborough, but they also host the Northern Clubman’s Championship with a handful of rounds at Cadwell Park and at least one at Croft. If you love the Mountain, there’s no question this is the club for you.

Classic racers have a few options, including the Vintage Motorcycle Club’s British Historic Racing (BHR) series and the ever-popular CRMC. But outside of dedicated classic competition, most clubs run at least one or two classic racing classes on their weekend programmes.

So you can be as picky as you want when selecting your club, or you can mix and match as much as you please. Just choose one and get on track.

How to go Club Racing pt.1 – Choose your weapon

How to go Club Racing pt.2 – Count your cash

How to go Club Racing pt.3 – Get your licence

*Main image: EDP Photo News

*Thundersport and Aintree images: Colin Port

*Cooper image: Terry Bishop

*Bottom image: Glyn,s Photos

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