RACERS have nearly endless options these days when it comes to machinery, but choosing the right bike could make or break your first club racing season.
Many riders come to racing after years on the road or plenty of trackdays under their belts, and are comfortable enough with what they pilot regularly.
So if you’re a road rider on a 600 or a trackday rider on a 1000, stick with what you have. You’re more than likely going to be comfortable enough on the bike you ride normally, either on your commute or on trackdays, to be just fine on the grid.
But if you’re a 1000cc road rider, consider moving down to a smaller displacement machine. The big bike club racing ranks are nothing short of cutthroat, and you may be biting off more than you can chew going up against the likes of Lee Williams or Josh Day – at least in your first season.
That being said, the 600cc club racers are anything but slouches, and even if you’re the fastest of your mates up to Hartside, you might be surprised to learn how far you actually are behind the middleweight aces of British club racing.
And this brings us to my absolute favourite of all classes: the 650s – Supertwins and Stocktwins. If ever there was a recommendation I could give, it’s ‘get yourself a twin’.
The Super- and Stocktwin ranks have been growing with every passing season over the last five to 10 years, and they don’t look to be slowing down. If you want to get the most out of your first club racing season, both in knowledge and enjoyment, you can’t go wrong with a 650.
There are plenty of top drawer Stocktwins available for under four grand. But if you’re itching for something a bit faster that you can get technically creative with, be prepared to open up your wallet to nearly double that for a decent Supertwin.
Pre-Injection machines are, in my opinion, the ultimate low-cost racing solution. However, like any class, the racers at the front of the PI 600 and PI Open categories aren’t always running with £700 race-ready machines. If there’s an allowance in the rules, you can almost guarantee that someone is spending money to upgrade their bike.
There is always the option to run something smaller like a Ninja 250 or 300, but for adults there’s always a default answer: get a CB500.
The 500cc class is arguably one of the most popular in Britain, and it’s proved to be both extremely competitive and a training ground for future talent. Even former National Superstock 1000 champ Richard Cooper, who was brought up through the CB500 ranks as a young racer, still saddles up on a little Honda whenever he has the chance.
So take your pick. Some bikes may have higher starting costs than others, but at the end of the day, fuel costs the same for each one and if you’re riding hard enough, you’re probably going to use the same amount of rubber.
*Main image: David Dorward
*Laureys image: Alex Laureys
*Bottom image: John Manclark