Racing vs track days?

Discussion in 'N2 Racing' started by LooseChain, May 31, 2020.

  1. LooseChain

    LooseChain New Member

    Knowing this is the N2?forum, with possible bias toward track days, want to ask about transition from track days to racing.

    Me: done about 8 track days over 1.5 years
    Moved up to a mostly stock Ninja 400 this year. 5’9” 155 lbs.
    About 60 yrs old, so no expectations to go pro, just enjoy competition from my days of autocrossing and track days in a heavily modified Datsun 510. Not expecting to podium either, just compete and hopefully pass a few people.

    1. Track time: Guessing I’d get more on a trackday than WERA or CCS? What’s the better bang for buck?
    2. Cost. From fees perspective, which is more?
    3. Bike prep: would need to do all the safety wire stuff and all, but what should I expect to pay for consumables, like tires, etc.?
    3. Competitors: what would I be up against?
    A bunch of 18 year old elbow banging Joan Mir’s or old farts like like me?
    4. Series: AHRMA might be better suited to me, but while I do most of my own work, I’d rather ride than wrench, hence the Ninja 400

  2. bmart

    bmart Control Rider

    If you like competing, have at it. It is more $ for less track time, but they provide different things. I don't have that competitive bone in my body, but I did wrap up my 300th track day today. woot
    LooseChain likes this.
  3. darth nater

    darth nater Staff Member Control Rider N2

    I’ve never raced so won’t waste your time with my answers to your questions. There are better people to do that.

    I would add though that while N2 definitely started as a track day org and that is still going strong, there is a strong presence of N2 in racing from motoamerica all the way down. I’m sure they will be glad to jump in and answer your questions.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  4. Jester

    Jester Yamahawkins Control Rider

    Answers in red, but if you have a few buddies I would also look into doing an endurance race. It is a great way of dipping your toes in the water of racing.

    1. Track time: Guessing I’d get more on a trackday than WERA or CCS? What’s the better bang for buck?
    In terms of track time you will get much more time on track during a track day for your money than sprint racing.

    2. Cost. From fees perspective, which is more?
    Depends on how many tires you use and how many races you enter.

    3. Bike prep: would need to do all the safety wire stuff and all, but what should I expect to pay for consumables, like tires, etc.?
    I would make sure your tires are in great shape for racing then after they are used run them at a track day.

    3. Competitors: what would I be up against? A bunch of 18 year old elbow banging Joan Mir’s or old farts like like me?
    Would depend on what class you are running in. There are alot of fast guys in the 600s and 1000s, and also fast kids on the 300s-400s.

    4. Series: AHRMA might be better suited to me, but while I do most of my own work, I’d rather ride than wrench, hence the Ninja 400
    I have not raced with AHRMA but it could be up your alley if you are into that.

    With the right approach you can learn a ton sprint racing. You will more than likely be riding faster than you would at a track day, however have less track time, pay more money and probably be a bit more stressed over the weekend all while arguably introducing more risk. But there is nothing like it.
    LooseChain likes this.
  5. r6blondie

    r6blondie Staff Member

    We have a couple CRs that also race AHRMA! You could get a feel for both at WERA endurance weekend. We have track day on Friday, Saturday are the 4 hour and 2 hr endurance races usually, then Sunday Sprint races. You get sign up for both Sunday race and Track day and see which you like better - or a combination of the two! Like everyone has said, if you look at time on track ratio to money spent, track days are better. If you are looking for more competition, then the races are more for you. Although with TDs once you get to know the guys in the paddock and get into the Advanced group, the fun really begins :)
    LooseChain likes this.
  6. 2blueyam

    2blueyam Member

    For the racing classes with the most mature racers outside of vintage racing, try lightweight twins. SV650 / FZ7 type of bikes. See your nearest racing organization rules before getting a specific bike.

    They are also fairly easy on tires and quite reliable if you stay away from Superbike engine builds.

    With that said, unless you get really fast, the fast aggressive kids on the 400s will likely leave you in the dust, which should leave you racing around racers that just want to have fun.

    Old R1 pilot
    LooseChain likes this.
  7. tdelegram

    tdelegram Control Rider

    So far all good advice and spot on. You’ll definitely get faster in racing sooner than track days. I would recommend a quality school first like ycrs it will really help your racing. One thing not covered here so far you will want to look into is the number of races you and your bike qualify for and the average size of grids for the classes you’ll be racing. Just turning laps without people a little faster than you to help pull you to faster times won’t help you get faster, you need a carrot. Most orgs post results and times somewhere which will help you gauge where you should be and the number of peeps you’ll be fighting. I personally prefer CCS for sprints for the larger grids and lower costs, I also race Wera for the endurance rounds and a few sprints on those weekends. If you can get your pace high enough you can petition for an expert license your second year where you’ll find a lot less sketchy riders.
    LooseChain likes this.
  8. fonz82

    fonz82 New Member

    i 2nd all lot of responses here. you'll get faster sooner racing than with trackdays. Trackdays definitely will get you more miles for your $$. Typically most of the fast riders are in the 'popular' classes e.g. 600s (C), 1000s (A), 750s (B), but can vary. Racing is a lot of fun if you like competitiveness and the community is very helpful. take a riding school and some sanctioning bodies have a provisional novice as well as a novice class.
    Tires prices can vary, but typically is it 400-600 for a set (maybe less for 400s & 300s). one set will run you a weekend or less, depending on your skill, how competitive you want to be, and how many races per day you enter. You'll also want to invest in tire warmers if you dont already have them as well as a quality generator for those venues that don't have power. there are racers out there that just want to be a bit competitive and have fun, then you have the really fast, competitive guys.

    Good luck with your decision! Accolades to you for still wanting to be on the track:like:, i hope i'm still able to and have the desire when i'm in my 60s.
    LooseChain likes this.
  9. TimTheAsian

    TimTheAsian Fresh off the Boat Staff Member

    Someone obviously hasnt had Rocco Landers come around the outside of them in a race elbow on the deck on a nina 400 aka a machine with less HP - And it shows :)
  10. 2blueyam

    2blueyam Member

    Or Brendan Paasch or most of the MotoAmerica Jr cup riders. It is humbling for sure.
  11. fonz82

    fonz82 New Member

    yes i agree w/ faster riders on smaller bikes. What i was referring to was the actual classes and/or races A, B, C? Typically those are the most competitive classes. a 400 or 300 cc bike can race in the C (600) or A (class) if the rider is significantly faster and feels they can be competitive with those bikes on their smaller machine. Very humbling when a Garrett Gerloff or Hayden Gillim almost laps you in a race, back when they were still teenagers...:unsure:
  12. andykurz

    andykurz Member

    If you have a 400, you may prefer racing. Riding a 400 at a track day is difficult because track days mix all different bike sizes together. One great thing about racing is that you are always racing with people on similar sized equipment. Note: that is not true of endurance racing where many bikes are mixed together.

    You will learn a huge amount and will almost certainly beat your best time in your first race. The competition in the UL class is FIERCE. Very, very talented riders in that class. It's a clean group and I highly recommend giving it a try. You will learn a huge amount and have a fantastic time.

    I definitely do not agree with the comment above about competition. If anything, there is less competition in the higher classes than in the small bike classes. You'll see huge gaps between riders in that class. In ultralight classes, the group will be much more together and the racing will be closer. Again, a lot of talent there as well - young and old.

    Lastly - you don't have to be competitive to enjoy racing. Many of us race due to pure enjoyment and prefer the structured nature of a race with riders on similar equipment starting at the same time than a track day which is a much more open-ended format.
  13. fonz82

    fonz82 New Member

    Andy i agree w/ your last statement. alot of us do just race just for the enjoyment and the tends to drift that way as you get older and/or start a family. Correction, typically the more competitive riders also race, quite often, in the the A, B, C and unlimited classes. ex. a talented rider on a 600 will compete and place in a A (1000cc) or UL race due to their talent/experience. The gaps are greater, yes, because you have the fast, fast talented guys competing at the front, then you have the ones w/ those bikes that just want to have fun, on a budget, etc. racing as well. Been part of both. i can also see where in the lower cc classes, the competition is closer together. I too have thought about/may want to compete in those classes as time goes on. It seems like a lot of fun on the smaller bikes ;) and i'd assume be more budget friendly.

    Bottom line: Racing is a great opportunity and you'll encounter nice, cool, helpful people! Have fun out there no matter what you choose!
    LooseChain likes this.
  14. vinny337

    vinny337 Vin is in...Beastmode! Control Rider

    A lot of great info covered, once you go and experience a race weekend you'll know if it's for you. Enjoy!
  15. Menotomy

    Menotomy World's Okayest Racer

    Probably the best summary in this thread.

    Regarding AHRMA, they don't have a class that the Ninja 400 can race in. CCS and WERA do. At least in CCS the 500 class (where the Ninja 400 goes) is a great mix of people and the fastest growing class.
    LooseChain likes this.
  16. D-Zum

    D-Zum Alex's Ohvale Mechanic

    My son and I just got back from Nelson Ledges. We raced WERA Minis there on our Ohvale GP Zero's last weekend.
    We've been racing MiniGP quite a bit the last years and with everything going on, Ohio's been running ROAD TRIP!

    You want to race....go race. Prep the bike you have and give it a shot. You have absolutely NOTHING to lose. Then you can say you did it.

    I think WERA's grids are a little lighter, so if you're worried about the congestion of the drag race into T1 at the start, maybe that's a place to start.
    I've been in a 25 bike grid mini start that seemed like total chaos going into T1, and every bike made it out into T2. You definitely feel "Alive" at that moment.
    One start last year on my Grom at Sandy Hook I got a Lorenzo start and went from 2nd to last on the grid to like P6 into T1 three wide. Talk about an OH SH*T moment.
    But as hell.

    You get two 15 minute practice sessions in the morning for the class you sign up for, then an 8 lap sprint race or races if you sign up for multiple classes.
    PJZOCC was there and he raced 3 events each day on his Ape.

    Looks like there may be a couple more WERA rounds at Nelson this year as well based on the schedule I see. Sean and Evelyn Clarke are SUPER nice people (They run WERA).

    The mini 50 and mini 80 and Grom cup classes had a total of 5 racers on the starting grid.
    Ages 9,9,10 and 12, and 49...I was older than all the other racers combined...and probably heavier, than their combined weights as well. But, we had a blast. Got 2nd place trophies for our events both days, and Shorty's got his plaques on the wall and he's all kinds of proud of them.

    First WERA trophies at 10....I mean how can you beat that?<%=linkvars%>

    8/29-30 Nelson Ledges Road Course, Garrettsville, OH-N,N2,
    9/11-13 PIRC (full Course), Wampum, PA-N,N2,V,
    9/26-27 Nelson Ledges Road Course, Garrettsville, OH-DH,rs,V,
    LooseChain likes this.
  17. LooseChain

    LooseChain New Member

    Thanks for all the replies ... very helpful. Thinking I will stick w track days for now - more bang for the $ for sure. Back in the 80's, when I was autocrossing and track day'ing a heavily modified Datsun 510, I thought about SCCA racing, but what changed my mind was when I was in the pits at Summit (back when Bill Scott still owned it), and two kids in front of me were talking and one said "Yea, we were gonna get an in-ground pool this year, but my dad spent the money on racing instead".

    That said, bikes are a whole lot cheaper and easier, and more fun, IMO. Thanks!
  18. pjzocc

    pjzocc Member

    Late to the party but...

    Many good responses so I won't be too redundant, but yes more laps/$ track days, but racing just has a different vibe to it. You ride with a different purpose, with more urgency and focus. There's nothing like gridding up for the 1st time waiting for the 2 board to go to 1, and getting that first launch! And the checkered flag gives you a bit more of a feeling of accomplishment - whether you came in first or last. Most races are multiple classes, so even if your particular class is light on numbers, there's usually someone out there to race with. And it does make you faster.

    You'll need to be good about finding your own reference points, turn in points, brake markers, apexes, etc... there's no cones at a race weekend to tell you where to turn. That was a big adjustment for me. It's weird how comforting and dependent you become on those cones to give you a reference point. But, it also allows you to race your line and find your own way around the track.

    Track days are a bit more relaxed, not as much the urgency. TDs you tend to focus on a specific task each session (body postion, particular corner or sequence of corners, etc.) and work on that. It's all still riding around a racetrack at racetrack speeds, but each has it's own end point and goal in mind - if you take that approach to it, you can have a shit ton of fun in either setting.

    As Dzum mentioned, I did 3 races on Saturday and Sunday at Nelson last weekend. That was enough. 4 races a day might be pushing it a bit for a first timer or rookie season. I ran A-SBK, Formula1, and Senior Heavyweight novice classes on my RSV4R. I put a fresh front on for Sunday (the one that I ran Saturday probably could've run Sunday), and my rear tire has 4 track day sessions from last year, and then the whole weekend at Nelsons. Still has at least another day on it. (Pirelli SC1 rear SC2 front, slicks). So, race weekend gives you 2 practice sessions in the moring (15mins or so) and races in the afternoon. So for me, 4 practices, 6 races, 1 set of tires.

    Don't know where you're from or what you schedule is looking like but I'll be at PittRace next month with N2. If you're local(ish) or are going to be there, come find me or DM me here and I'd be happy to answer anything that comes to mind for you.

  19. pjzocc

    pjzocc Member

    I’m pretty easy to find

  20. D-Zum

    D-Zum Alex's Ohvale Mechanic

    The racing was a better use of the money than the pool. You lose back yard to the cement pond, and many people that would be potential buyers with small children won't consider a house with a pool.

    The Lion's QB Matt Stafford is selling his house in Michigan because all of a sudden his wife is worried about the kids falling into the pool and drowning. Well, if you pay attention to what the hell your kids are doing, that won't happen. But I digress.....

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