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Old 07-24-2009, 06:09 PM   #1
awokenracer
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Success in Racing. Money > Potential?

Disclaimer: I just want to know what really goes down... I do not intend to disrespect anyone. I am talking about reality.

I really don't post much, but this topic has been on my mind for years. Like many of you, I take racing to the heart. Whether I'm watching it on TV, doing a trackday, karting with friends, or playing racing games at home .

My question is... to be successful in the racing world... in any type of motorsport... Do you have to start off wealthy to be noticed and become successful in the racing world? Or is there really a way to make to the charts on a budget?

I understand there is a common chain...

Poor rider > works hard and saves for tires and gear > does a few trackdays > after only 3 trackdays gets bumped up to advance group and learns more techniques > breaks something on the bike > trackdays stall because he's out of money and cannot fix the bike > he is forced to sell the bike because of debt... then the quest to be successful fails because he is broke.

Rich rider > works hard but can freely buy a bunch of parts and gear > does many trackdays because he can afford it > after 8 or so trackdays he gets bumped up to advance group > something breaks on the bike but he can easily and quickly replace and fix it > turns the bike into full track setup because he can > decides to buy another bike just for the of it and continue doing trackdays... then the quest to be successful in racing is achieved after getting a CMRA lisence and attending CMRA races and then making it into AMA races because he had the money to make this happen.

I speak for many people out there who are broke but have great potential. Lately I've found out that even though a racer may have full track fairings, an expensive track suit, and a CMRA lisense, he is still not as fast as he may come off to be.

Personally, I've been riding for less than 2 years on a motorcycle. Before that, I was riding my mountain bike back when I was 12. I've done only 3 trackdays before I was bumped up to advance group. One of the intructors/racer for that trackday organization (who I thank very much for the guidance) asked me "man, why aren't you racing in CMRA?" It killed me to say "...because I don't have money."

Its sad to say, but I became really bitter and angry that day because I realized I could never make it in a spot for a CMRA race due to my finacial burden. 3 years ago I wanted to enroll in Bertil Roos Racing school to get into road racing with formula karts... again no money! I would FREEKIN' LOVE to compete with many of you in CMRA races... but again... no money.

I have no hate for the rich. I just hate how something I am very passionate about is hindered by finacial flaws and I want to know what really goes down into making it in AMA charts?... because WSBK and MotoGP is kinda taking it too far. It just sucks to have to work so hard and save all the money you have by giving up going out with friends just to get a set of decent tires that would hold up without a tire warmer. I would like to know the truth because if its really ALL about having the money here and now, then I guess I gotta let this go. Because I find no reason to spend all this money to practice and not be able to do what I intend to do with this knowledge and skill I recieve and achieve.

I apologize for ranting like a cry baby, but I know a few of you would understand where I'm coming from.
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Old 07-24-2009, 06:18 PM   #2
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becasue money rules the world my friend, always has always will. Ever heard the phrase it takes money to make money.... If your that passionate about it youll find a way to succeed like maybe working two jobs or three jobs or four jobs. Going out and trying to get sponsers cold calling ect.. Save save save then get back into the game full force.
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Old 07-24-2009, 06:25 PM   #3
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IF you really want to race you will find a way. Most racers are maxed out on credit cards by the end of the season no mattter how you started out. Being told you have some skill by a tackday instructor should not be the defining momnet for you. Intermediate group riders will still be SMOKED by the top half of the novice class. I would suggest you find an endurance team to run with. MUCH cheaper when you split the cost 4-5 ways, and lots of time on the track to work out your style and skills. Sprint racing is expensive........period. And to top it off they are only 6-8 laps until the afternoon when they get cut to 3-4 lpas due to crashes and time constraints. That burnt me out. Travel all that way for a couple of shortened sprints will do that. And if you really want to be competitive in sprints, your tire bill just tripled for the weekend. I ran full season '04-07, then got burnt out and only ran select ravcces close to home in '08. Just when you think you are going good, you'll get bumped to expert and it starts all over. If you plan to race a 600 or 1K, you'll need a couple thousand in motor work to run with the big boys up front. I averaged 12-1400.00 per race weekend, plus travel, gas, hotels, and time off from work. Good luck, hope you figure it out. Like I said, if you really want to race, you'll figure out how to make it work. Who really needs to go out on the weekends anyway??
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Old 07-24-2009, 06:25 PM   #4
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May sound tough but that's life my friend. I was riding a ton at the track the last 2 years and this year nada....why? BC I lost my well paying job...

I'm trying to get back but it's tough and until I can afford it I will remain on the side lines.

Then again....you could just rack up an obscene amount of credit card debt and roll the dice.

Life sucks but then again at least you have tasted what few will ever.
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Old 07-24-2009, 06:49 PM   #5
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There is only one sure way to make a small fortune racing!


Start with a big one!
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Old 07-24-2009, 06:58 PM   #6
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If u have no talent, all the money in the world won't make you win. Not on a motorcycle.

Better question, why to people with no talent, spend thousands racing every year as back markers?
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Old 07-24-2009, 07:01 PM   #7
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Ahhh sadness. I would so stack up on credit cards just for this if I could. Apparently I owe U of H alot of money and since I got this bike through a loan, this $210/month full coverage on insurance isn't helping me either.

Damnit! This blows...
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Old 07-24-2009, 07:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdill35 View Post
If u have no talent, all the money in the world won't make you win. Not on a motorcycle.

Better question, why to people with no talent, spend thousands racing every year as back markers?
Good one. I question that too.
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Old 07-24-2009, 07:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdill35 View Post
If u have no talent, all the money in the world won't make you win. Not on a motorcycle.

Better question, why to people with no talent, spend thousands racing every year as back markers?
because it's still fun no matter how you are placing...
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Old 07-24-2009, 07:18 PM   #10
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Buck is dead on. I used to work at Cycle Gear and saw him, and many other racers coming in all the time and ALWAYS spending money. And that was on odds and ends, not tires or motor work, etc. I was tracking it up alot when I saw myself getting in trouble, I had to bow out. I finished school and got a good job, but it has cost me almost 2 years off the track seriously. I get out to trackdays out of state while I am working, but am just now getting back to a point where I am contemplating racing again, but, again, as Buck said, get a team together, way more manageable, fun, and realistic. And another thing, alot of the top guys also have sponsors to help deflect some of the costs of racing, so it's a little easier for them, but not to take away from the fact that they bust their . Good luck man!
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Old 07-24-2009, 08:10 PM   #11
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To make money in racing is very hard. You have to be very good and have all the proper connections.
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Old 07-24-2009, 08:22 PM   #12
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It can be done with next to no money, but you'll be sacrificing in a lot of other places just to do it.
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Old 07-24-2009, 08:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awokenracer View Post
I have no hate for the rich. I just hate how something I am very passionate about is hindered by finacial flaws and I want to know what really goes down into making it in AMA charts?... because WSBK and MotoGP is kinda taking it too far. It just sucks to have to work so hard and save all the money you have by giving up going out with friends just to get a set of decent tires that would hold up without a tire warmer. I would like to know the truth because if its really ALL about having the money here and now, then I guess I gotta let this go. Because I find no reason to spend all this money to practice and not be able to do what I intend to do with this knowledge and skill I recieve and achieve.

I apologize for ranting like a cry baby, but I know a few of you would understand where I'm coming from.
Brotha man, I am no preacher or motivational speaker so take this with a grain of salt. But money has very little to do with desire and being rich. Define rich? If you think having money is rich then you should quit and stay at home. A smart man once told me that if you think going fishing is about catching fish you should stay home. Life is the same way, if you think the goal is to wind up with more cash at the end then guess what, just shoot yourself now and save yourself the grief. Yes some people get wealth handed down to them and great for them but so what... Be happy for them.... And when you pass there on the track feel great that you did your way....

How do I know all this ? I came from the projects in South Baton Rouge LA, juvi, rode to nowhere fast.... Then one day I just woke up and decided that I was going to make it out and there was no-one that could stop me.... I don't have a college degree, and I was just named the youngest professional engineer in software at Sun Microsystems Inc's (soon to be Oracle) history. I have worked for 2 startups where I was a key contributor that got acquired by Sun in the last 6 years.... On the way here I had a child at 19... I have always paid to support him, even if it meant I didn't eat... and sometimes I didn't eat or have a place to stay.... I changed tires, drove a Schwann's truck, worked at a BBQ joint, waited tables and then one day I saw this drafting thing and AutoCad and through the years made my way into Motorola as a electrical designer... There a guy told me the future was in this programming language called java so I marched my down to the book store and picked up a book and learned it... Never programmed anything in my life, barely knew anything at all about OOP or what a virtual machine was but I was able to convince a company 360 Commerce (retail point of sale now owned by Oracle) that I knew what I was talking about and the rest is history. No-one bothered to tell me when I was a kid that I couldn't do it I guess....

I have been in almost every major corporation in the US (that may be a stretch but I get around) I am requested around the world to architect software systems for things I sometimes can't believe I am doing... I have traded brain farts with the best there is and they have no idea I am just a redneck from LA that doesn't even have a degree... MIT, Harvard, Sandia National Labs... defeat is a state of mind! Intelligence is subjective, and limited by perception... aka if you believe in yourself enough other people do too!

So if you want to get out of the not making money thing, change it! You want to race, make it happen! The only one stopping you is you!

Someone laughed at me a bit a while back cause on my bikes tank i had the words "you will never amount to anything" I wont tell you why I put it there, that's for me, but you have to find what motivates you and use it as a crutch when everything / everyone else tells you to give up! Cause they will and trust me it sucks to be on the beaten down end of a stick....

Am I rich, ehhh maybe? I can tell you I have the perfect life, yes I make good money, but that isn't it... I could never ask for anything more than what I have right now, beautiful family, kids, and the money to do things like racing a motorcycle... Guess what, all that matters is today you may not get tomorrow... Don't let a stupid thing like cash stop you from your dreams!!!

Anyways....Sorry, didn't mean to write a book and tell my life story here! I just hate to see / read defeat in someones voice when there is so much opportunity, we get so hung up on this money ...
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Old 07-24-2009, 08:29 PM   #14
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If you're asking the question: "Is having money the only way to get on a top AMA team, providing you have talent?", than the answer is yes.
There's tons of talented riders, but without significant financial backing, they will never get a good AMA ride. I can name a half dozen riders off the top of my head that on unequal equipment are faster than some guys with AMA "team" rides.
Most of the mid level AMA team riders PAY for the ride out of their own, or more often than not, their daddys pockets.

If you're just asking does it take money to race at the club level, once again, the answer is yes.
It's one of the reason CMRA members, and many other clubs members, have a 3 year cycle.

1st year; spend a little money, go racing, make some of the events, ride your converted street bike, maybe place top 5 or better, maybe not.

2nd year; max credit cards, build mondo bike, make all of the races and maybe take home a few trophies.

Or worse, get bumped to expert racing against AMA guys cherry picking club events and become discouraged.

In which case it's a 2 year cycle.

3rd year; make a few races, decide it's too expensive, sell bike / gear and "retire".

Mind you, that doesn't apply to all racers, but it does apply to many.

IMO, track days are the way to go.
Less cost, in terms of entry fees, tires, equipment, and travel and typically for more seat time.

Endurance racing USED to be a good way for a novice to get seat time, but you'll need to lose your yellow shirt first, which between corner working and sprint racing, is a 4 weekend investment, providing you don't go down / get taken out
Then you have to build a bike / team, work out logistics such as who owns the bike, who pays for crashes and maintenance, who fronts the entry fee, etc.

Track days imo are a much better alternative.

My 2 cents, ymmv.


Timme,
Big props to you!
I only wish more people wopuld take responsibility for where they are in life instead of looking for someone else to.
Much respect!
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Old 07-24-2009, 08:36 PM   #15
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Timme- Dude that was awesome... very motivational. I'm 22 and about to have a child in about 7 months with a girl who already has a daughter. I am currently an Army reservist and studying AutoCAD on the side.

I guess I'm just being impatient when in fact I DO have a great opportunity ahead of me. I just have to make something of it.

Thanks man.
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Old 07-24-2009, 08:44 PM   #16
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Patrick - thats exactly what I wanted to know... how it really goes down. Thank you.
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Old 07-24-2009, 08:45 PM   #17
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Timme you suprised me here. good story, there are lots of us "uneducated" folks out there making the world go round as a better place. You are 100% correct on this one. 99% of the time it's only you that holds you back. Wise man once told me....." life is mostly attitude and timing."
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Old 07-24-2009, 09:20 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Timme- Dude that was awesome... very motivational. I'm 22 and about to have a child in about 7 months with a girl who already has a daughter. I am currently an Army reservist and studying AutoCAD on the side.

I guess I'm just being impatient when in fact I DO have a great opportunity ahead of me. I just have to make something of it.

Thanks man.
First off THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!

Second thing is that 22 is way young, at your age I was just learning AutoCAD and drafting and it was a great profession for me! I just wanted more and I have a nack for math it makes sense to me... so did programming... just clicked. For you it may be something different but I could have done just fine with electrical designing forever... impatient is that that keeps you going!!

Good luck! Maybe I will see you blowing by me on the track soon!
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Old 07-24-2009, 09:27 PM   #19
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Timme you suprised me here. good story, there are lots of us "uneducated" folks out there making the world go round as a better place. You are 100% correct on this one. 99% of the time it's only you that holds you back. Wise man once told me....." life is mostly attitude and timing."
Thanks bro, you know even a knuckle head can sneak up and surprise you sometimes I have also heard " life is mostly attitude and timing." and I am a firm believer! I have to admit that I got lucky with this Sun gig... I just happened to go with my gut and take a job with this startup over a more stable gig and wow what a ride it has been... timing has everything to do with it!
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Old 07-24-2009, 10:45 PM   #20
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When I was 17 I got hit hard with the racing bug and got in to it without any help (or knowledge really) by my parents (insert long story here...). My Dad never had any interest in cars or bikes, but I got the bug at about 14 and never lost it. Bought my first bike at 15 (for $750) and rode it as a daily driver until my friend Kevin Ward (top CRRC racer then) took me to Oak Hill and I took the "rider's school" with Charles Brothers, and that was all it took.

Since I was doing this on the sly and without any support from my parents, it was a short lived gig and ended a little over a year after it started.

Was a bummed? Oh yeah. I also could have done a lot of things to help myself get back on the track but I realized that it just wasn't meant to be and I had to find a different plan; although I thought I could have done something with it (as in a career in racing). I had some folks supporting that idea as well, similar to what you're relaying here.

Over time I grew up and got more responsible, I realized that in reality only about .00001% of the folks who try to break in to racing actually succeed and even less are successful at actually making money with it.

So, I still rode on the street and eventually I got to the point where I could financially get back to the track and do a few track days (this was about 15 years later...). It didn't take long for me to get back to the CRRC (now CMRA) and start endurance racing (like after my 2nd track day).

Now, I'm a lot more capable of taking care of my addiction and still able to fulfill my urge to get on the track. It took a lot of patience, but it was worth the wait.

I personally don't subscribe to the "max out your cards" way of racing- but I can understand those that actually have a shot at having a career doing that. By the time you're in your 20's, you've pretty well lost that ability to get a career in Pro racing. However, in your 20's you're prime for club racing and for racing National events if you've got the speed, don't crash, and have some cash to throw at it (or another person's cash). Guess what, those in their 30's and 40's are "prime" for club racing too! I've got plenty of friends that are top racers in the CMRA and are in their 30's, 40's, 50's.... You just have to decide if it's worth it to you to do that.

I believe in the philosophy "take care of your family/ career/ self first financially before spending your money frivolously". Racing is a frivolous expense.

Now, all that said, there are alternatives to the financial doom and gloom picture I've painted a bit here:

As Patrick mentioned- track days. Bang for the buck and most of the excitement you can get racing. Yeah, you'll still spend some cabbage doing them, but not nearly as much as racing.

Second is TMGP or mini racing! For 's sake, it's almost impossible to have more fun on 2 wheels than mini racing. Cost? Next to nothing if you want it to be. Some bikes use 1 set of tires all season long. You can get a well prepped bike (like an XR100) that is all ready to go for about 1/3 the cost of a cheap SV that is in similar race prepped condition and race that for years to come. Mini racing has all the bar banging, out braking, out maneuvering, and competitive facets of the big bikes, but for 1/10th the cost and 100% of the fun!

The CMRA will always be there (it was for me), just bide your time and get to a financial spot that allows you to commit. In the mean time, if you can afford it, do your track days or for goodness sake visit a TMGP race and see how many folks 8- 80 y/o, are having the time of their lives!
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