How to go Club Racing: Prepare to crash

In How To

NO one wants to talk about crashing, but if you haven’t already gone down you’re bound to – and the better prepared you are the quicker you can rejoin the grid.

Whether you’ve slipped on invisible oil, spun up too fast exiting the garage, had a low-side at the Melbourne Hairpin or fluffed a jump on the Mountain at Cadwell, chances are you’ve hit the deck doing trackdays or even exiting your drive for a Sunday ride.

But when the competitive drive kicks in as you start to go racing, the chances of wrecking increase exponentially. So make sure you have the tools and parts to get on with the job if it happens during first practice on day one of the weekend.

Low side crashes can be the friendliest of the two, but they’ll still do their fair share of damage if you try hard enough…

If you haven’t bought a race bike yet, see if you can get one with a comprehensive spares package. Even if you get scuffed parts, as long as they function as normal they’ll keep you on track in most cases.

Extra fairings and race bodywork will undoubtedly come in handy. It may take up space in your van, but when it comes to repairs it doesn’t get much easier than slapping on a bit of new fibreglass when all you’ve done is scuffed the upper cowl and cracked your windscreen.

Not only does it keep the sponsors happy to see a clean bike with their decals still in tact, some clubs even require bikes to be presented to a minimum standard. Everyone needs duct tape once in a while, but they don’t want racers turning up round after round with a ‘backyard special’ repair job.

After fairings, some of the first parts to hit the deck are often the foot pegs or rear sets. The folding OEM controls will do if that’s all you have, but try to pick up a second-hand set or make sure yours can be bent back into shape if they don’t crack.

While you can find folding levers that may tuck away in a crash, it’s wise to at least carry the OEM brake and clutch levers (if not a spare race set) with you to the track.

Phil Crowe showing off some damage at Moto Time Attack – it’s just a flesh wound…

And the same goes for clip-on handlebars if you’re racing with them. They do tend to snap in the event of a crash, so carry two extras with you, or again, the original road set for emergency repairs.

There’s a running debate on crash bobbins – some believe they do more harm than good as they can sometimes dig into the dirt and cause your bike to flip when it goes off track.

Some racers choose to use frame, tank and swingarm guards to keep the aluminium bits from taking too much damage – so ask around and see what works, but plan to gear up in some form or another.

Most organisations require engine case guards to keep the case covers from cracking and lubing up the track with oil, so don’t expect to make it through scrutineering without them.

Anything much heavier than a few dings and scratches, and you’re probably best heading back home and taking your time with repairs – especially if it’s your first race season.

A spare helmet isn’t the worst thing to keep in your gear bag just in case, but crashing can throw you mentally off-track. So if you’re shaken up or damaged after a crash, don’t push it – there’s always another weekend.

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

How to go Club Racing pt.4 – Choose a club

*Main image: Colin Port

*Top image: Jenny Wells

*Bottom image: UK Clubsport


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