How to start racing:
If you're new to the sport of Grasstrack Racing and would like to have a go, Wimborne MCC has put together this guide to help get you started. So, if you're tempted to have a go at this friendly sport, where do you start? Well, we have tried to put together some information which will certainly get you on your way to the track. We hope you'll find this information useful but of course, if you still have any questions after reading through our tips then do contact us.
What Can I Enter?
Grasstrack consists of both Youth and Adult classes, starting from the age of 6 years on 50cc automatic bikes right up to 1000cc sidecars in the Adult classes. Whilst you won't see every class run at every meeting, here is some more information on the classes available and a summary of the class restrictions as imposed by the Auto Cycle Union, the sports' governing body;
|Youth Classes Auto Cadet||Ages 6/7 years||50cc Automatic|
|Cadet||Ages 6/8 years||65cc 2 stroke - 110cc 4 stroke|
|Junior||Ages 9/11 years||100cc 2 stroke - 200cc 4 stroke|
|Intermediate||Ages 12/14 years||150cc 2 stroke - 250cc 4 stroke|
|Senior A||Ages 15/18 years||250cc 2 stroke - 350cc 4 stroke|
|Senior B||Ages 15/18 years||350cc 2 stroke - 350cc 4 stroke|
When a rider reaches the maximum age for his or her group, they may continue in that group until the end of the calendar year, or upgrade on his or her birthday. The ACU measures ages that the child was on January 1st of the year in which they race.
No rider may compete before his/her 6th birthday. Riders may compete until the end of the year in which their 18th birthday falls. A rider may be upgraded to compete in Adult competitions on or after his/her 15th birthday, up to a maximum capacity of 350cc and may only revert to Senior Class Youth competition. There are no restrictions to the type or level of youth event that a rider may enter. All riders must be capable of sitting on their machines at the start line (unaided) with the machine in an upright position with one foot firmly on the ground and the other on the footrest. Production Motorcross machines will not be allowed in any other Grasstrack class apart from the Cadets which must not exceed the stated capacity.
1000cc Left Hand Sidecar
There are also classes for “Vintage” and “Pre ‘75’s” but you will find that only a few clubs run these classes in grass track racing.
The ACU issues their handbook each year which contains the up to date regulations on each class and event as well as information on licences. You can view their handbook in pdf format Here.
What About Licences?
In order to compete, you must have a licence. These can be purchased as a “One day” licence on the day from the Secretary of the meeting, usually to be found at the “signing on” caravan. Alternatively, you can apply to the ACU for an annual licence and the forms can be obtained either from the ACU or from your club secretary. The present cost is £43 for an annual licence and normally about £15 for a one-day licence. You will need to become a member of an ACU affiliated club, this can be one of your choice, and your licence form will need to be countersigned, usually by the secretary before it can be sent off.
You start riding in the restricted class, which is for beginners and those who have not earned enough points to obtain their national licence. If there is an “Open” class, then restricted riders can enter these too.
To upgrade to a National licence driver must obtain signatures to demonstrate that they have finished in 6 finals at lower level events. Sidecar passengers wishing to upgrade to a National licence must obtain signatures to demonstrate they have finished in 3 finals at lower level events.
You will need to kit yourself out with the appropriate protective wear for racing and we have listed below some examples of what’s acceptable;
One piece leathers with built in body armour, or a Kevlar race suit, one piece, again with built in armour. If your suit does not have built in body armour, you can use body suits underneath, for example, the moto cross type with armour in it.
Moto-Cross clothing, this should be the body armour tops and trousers with the over shirts and over trousers.
Back Protectors Are Compulsory!
Leather boots, mid-calf length as a minimum for solo riders and sidecar drivers, and sidecar passengers should have boots which cover their ankles as a minimum.
Helmets must be ACU approved, gold or silver stamps are acceptable. Whilst you may be able to get away with a lot of second-hand kit, we recommend you spend wisely on new helmets when you race – it is your head you’re protecting after all!
Goggles need to be worn and you can purchase these from any off road motorcycle clothing retailer. There are many makes available and you may want to consider buying roll-offs or tear-offs for those moments when the mud is flying well!
Leather motorcycling gloves, or moto-cross style gloves are acceptable, but again, make sure you have a reasonable level of protection in them.
Wherever you are, there is more than likely a good motorcycle shop nearby who may stock some off-road gear, certainly helmets and gloves. You should also take a look at our Sponsors pages and the Links as a lot of our sponsors supply items in relation to the sport, just remember to tell them where you found their details!
What About Getting a Bike?
Well, when you have decided which class you want to compete in, take a look at our Links page and you will find the very useful site “grasstrack.net” where there are classifieds and usually a number of bikes, engines and spare parts for sale and wanted.
Other options include;
Ask around at your club, this is a friendly sport and generally people put the word about if they have items for sale.
Check out E-bay and try searching “Grasstrack”. Lots of grasstrackers use this to offer their items for sale.
Go to a meeting! If you go to a Grasstrack meeting, you may well see a bike with a for sale sign on it, and if not it’s a great chance to ask around.
How Do I Enter a Meeting?
Firstly, you will need to obtain the correct entry form, available from the secretary of the club which is running the event you wish to enter. Alternatively, these can be obtained from the monthly magazine “The Sporting Motorcyclist”. Contact Mr. A. Wood, 30 Westways, Edinbridge, Kent, TN8 6AA about this publication.
You will also find that most clubs have a website (see Links) or try www.grasstrackracing.com where you will find all the dates and venues and information available. There is also a “Whats on” section in the Speedway Star magazine which is available at selected newsagents every Thursday, or you can visit their website and take out a subscription.
Entry fees do vary from club to club, however, generally you will find the following as a useful guide as to what to expect;
|Fee Guide Youth Entries||£15.00 each|
|Solo Entries||£25.00 each|
|Sidecar Entries||£30.00 each|
Remember though, these are guidelines only and if you’re attending a larger or internationally attended meeting, you may find that the entry fees could be a little more.
Once you have completed your entry form, you will need to post it to the secretary of the meeting as published along with a cheque for your entry fee. Most clubs won’t bank your entry fee until the meeting has taken place.
What Happens On the Day?
A race meeting will normally get started at about 09.30 – 10.00am with scrutineering for examining your bike and clothing. You will also need to get “signed on” at this point so that you can race. Remember to take your ACU Licence or purchase a “one-day” licence.
Once you have signed on, the secretary of the meeting will give you your practice tickets and a program which will tell you which races you are entered in for the day ahead.
Most clubs start the practice sessions at approximately 11.00am, for which you will need to be fully kitted up and ready to go out. It is compulsory to complete 2 practice laps before you can race.
Racing will start at about 1.00pm and at the end of the day, any trophies or prize money will be presented by the club officials and any guest presenters they may have organised.
After all this you can begin your journey home after what will have hopefully been a fun and exhilarating day!