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Old 07-25-2009, 02:04 AM   #21
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Getting to the top is as much about who you know and the $$$$$$$$'s you bring to the table as it is how quick you can ride the bike, sadly
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Old 07-25-2009, 03:56 AM   #22
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Old 07-25-2009, 05:56 AM   #23
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i would say yes also....it does take money to even be competitive at the club level.

people may think i have a lot of money or make a buttload of money because of all the bikes and what not.....but anybody that actually KNOWS me, knows that is not the case. i dedicate myself to getting to the races right now, i may or may not be one of the guys that get burned out in 3 years, but what everybody said is true. i spend whatever it takes to make myself a faster and safer rider. not by the means of aftermarket parts, but as in seat time.

i have made lots of sacrifices in lieu of my "racing career". i don't have much time for anything these days other than motorcycles and bustin my in between to finance what i love to do.

so i wil say again, YES it takes money to get somewhere. if you truly are talented, and have the motive, you will find a way to make it to the races.
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Old 07-25-2009, 07:43 AM   #24
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Lot of good advise here..
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Old 07-25-2009, 08:06 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomLSTD View Post
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!
Is this where privateers come from? Besides that, this whole thread is depressing. Oh well, I started at the bottom of the barrel too, and survival through my whole freakin life is basically a miracle (AND I AM DEFINEATELY NOT FEELING SORRY FOR MYSELF). I still believe that if you want something bad enough, you can do it. I've been told my whole life I wasn't worth a and treated that way too. Now I have a job with good benefits (full time), go to school full time, and am doing everything in my power to get into racing. I am gradually becoming like the people that I once envied. I really don't give a if I have only been to one trackday, or am a noob (or half nuts when I don't take the medicine I am supposed to take). I will pester the out of every knowledgeable person I can, learn every thing that I can, and perform with every ounce of whatever amount of natural ability gave me. I will be successful or die trying, because we only get one shot at this game called life, and if you don't do what is important to you then it is all a waste of time.
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Old 07-25-2009, 08:20 AM   #26
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Is this where privateers come from?
Most of the pro's you see gridded up in the AMA are privateers. Especially in this economic climate, paid rides are few and far between.

In the strictest sense of the word, a privateer team is one that is not supported by a factory; but to me it's more a definition of a rider/ team that is paying their own way with small financial support with parts or money from lots of outside help. Most of the time the rider doesn't get paid unless they place in a money winning position. Even those with excellent support may not make enough or barely enough through contingency or winnings to pay for the race.

Now "Club Racing" is what the locals do, and it's a hobby. What a "Privateer" does is basically a career in racing and they travel all the time all over the country.
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Old 07-25-2009, 09:01 AM   #27
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My post was not to be depressing, simply the truth of what racing is.
It's an expensive "hobby", and if you're looking to make it more than that, i.e. a profession, be prepared to invest some serious cash and time to have a slim chance of making it.

Even at the WERA or AMA level, a rider can win a class championship and barely make enough money to maybe pay expenses.

I know all about being a "privateer".
I've paid my own way my entire career, and still foot the bill for the shops racing effort, although we did take a break this season.

It's one of the reasons I try to help out several riders a year, in multiple types of motorcycle competition.
This year we're helping sponsor an endurance team, several sprinters, a stunt team, and a couple of drag racers.
As many have said, if you really want to race, you'll find a way, but keep it in perspective; VERY FEW people make any kind of a living at it, and many come seriously close to having financial issues pursuing the sport.
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Old 07-25-2009, 11:38 AM   #28
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My post was not to be depressing, simply the truth of what racing is.
It's an expensive "hobby", and if you're looking to make it more than that, i.e. a profession, be prepared to invest some serious cash and time to have a slim chance of making it.

Even at the WERA or AMA level, a rider can win a class championship and barely make enough money to maybe pay expenses.

I know all about being a "privateer".
I've paid my own way my entire career, and still foot the bill for the shops racing effort, although we did take a break this season.

It's one of the reasons I try to help out several riders a year, in multiple types of motorcycle competition.
This year we're helping sponsor an endurance team, several sprinters, a stunt team, and a couple of drag racers.
As many have said, if you really want to race, you'll find a way, but keep it in perspective; VERY FEW people make any kind of a living at it, and many come seriously close to having financial issues pursuing the sport.
Patrick, I think we all respect your opinions here tremendously... I for one didn't take your post as negative at all.... more of the flat out truth this is expensive!!! There is sooo much to consider when "racing", where are you going to stay, food, beverages, tyres, fuel, tools, more tyres.... that is not including anything to do with upgrading your bike to be competitive... I second the financial stuff... I only have one bike and I have dropped 7k on upgrades (most from your shop)...

I agree 100% that it is a pipe dream to come out here and think your gonna make it big in this sport... Some do though, and who knows who the next big star is going to be... Maybe some guy from this forum, how awesome would that be

Anywho this is great insight from someone with a lot of experience... Tom is barking up the right tree too! Oh Patrick I will take some of that help with an endurance ride next season Or even a mini ride would be sweet
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Old 07-26-2009, 03:58 AM   #29
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wow there is alot of "REAL" insight here. Tom, and Patrick thanks alot for those 2 posts.

i think alot of people really get caught up in the whole racing world, and its all very cool and exciting, until you realize just how much it costs, just think about what else you could be doing with that money... not even counting the bike and gear and the giant initial investment the cost of going to races is 1000-1500 on average per race weekend. And jumping into it at 20some is similar to jumping into any sport at 20some, there are probably 9 year olds out there that are better riders than you are, all the people you see in motogp or whatever have been more or less "bred" for the competition, and yeah either their parents had alot of money, or they were racers themselves.

Nothing is impossible, but it seems breaking into anywhere is very highly unlikely, making money besides contingency is probably out of reach for most of us, so what you're left with is ... basically a hobby, and a of an expensive one at that.

I guess doing track days and dicing it up with some friends is the bang for the buck way of doing this, and really about as good as its going to get.

And think about this, what IS a pro racer's job? Its just like any other job out there, you are told what to do and you have to perform and try and not **** up, and if you do good you'll get paid and get benefits and stuff. In essence you are just a very highly skilled complex machine operator... and you're there to get points for the team, alot of those guys never get to win and stand on the podium and spray champagne and stuff.

You've basically got 4 levels of this...

1. track rider - riding the track having a good time

2. club racer - more or less an expensive hobby for the majority of the people there, except those trying to get to #3, but everyone's losing tons of money.

3. ama privateer - a more skilled club rider who is putting up money to be part of a team and is beginning to have to perform to get sponsorships and money coming in, and hoping to get a factory ride. And i'm guessing most of the teams are striving to brake even.

4. pro racer - a guy that gets paid a salary to operate a motorcycle at its very limits.

SO it looks like the only place ur actually making money is #4, and it seems like its a of an expensive and long way getting there. I guess the question you have to ask yourself is ... is it really all that important? Your racing career COULD be your kid's college fund...
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Old 07-26-2009, 07:42 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shoshin View Post
wow there is alot of "REAL" insight here. Tom, and Patrick thanks alot for those 2 posts.

i think alot of people really get caught up in the whole racing world, and its all very cool and exciting, until you realize just how much it costs, just think about what else you could be doing with that money... not even counting the bike and gear and the giant initial investment the cost of going to races is 1000-1500 on average per race weekend. And jumping into it at 20some is similar to jumping into any sport at 20some, there are probably 9 year olds out there that are better riders than you are, all the people you see in motogp or whatever have been more or less "bred" for the competition, and yeah either their parents had alot of money, or they were racers themselves.

Nothing is impossible, but it seems breaking into anywhere is very highly unlikely, making money besides contingency is probably out of reach for most of us, so what you're left with is ... basically a hobby, and a of an expensive one at that.

I guess doing track days and dicing it up with some friends is the bang for the buck way of doing this, and really about as good as its going to get.

And think about this, what IS a pro racer's job? Its just like any other job out there, you are told what to do and you have to perform and try and not **** up, and if you do good you'll get paid and get benefits and stuff. In essence you are just a very highly skilled complex machine operator... and you're there to get points for the team, alot of those guys never get to win and stand on the podium and spray champagne and stuff.

You've basically got 4 levels of this...

1. track rider - riding the track having a good time

2. club racer - more or less an expensive hobby for the majority of the people there, except those trying to get to #3, but everyone's losing tons of money.

3. ama privateer - a more skilled club rider who is putting up money to be part of a team and is beginning to have to perform to get sponsorships and money coming in, and hoping to get a factory ride. And i'm guessing most of the teams are striving to brake even.

4. pro racer - a guy that gets paid a salary to operate a motorcycle at its very limits.

SO it looks like the only place ur actually making money is #4, and it seems like its a of an expensive and long way getting there. I guess the question you have to ask yourself is ... is it really all that important? Your racing career COULD be your kid's college fund...
Good summary there.

The one thing I mentioned that I hope isn't going overlooked is the TMGP I suggested. Mini racing is by far the best bang for the buck as far as being on track.

Not that there aren't folks spending a bunch of money in minis too, but the "bunch" of money spent is still about 1/3rd the money spent in racing big bikes.

Good observations and insight guys! Since the OP seems to have dropped out of this thread, I hope it's being absorbed from a distance
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Old 07-26-2009, 12:21 PM   #31
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TomLSTD - Haha I haven't dropped out of the thread. I am just reading everyone's insights and I appreciate them all. This is really good information and advice. Its pretty surprising to see what others have had to do in the past.

As far as TMGP, Ill have to check that out... sounds like fun.

Like I said before, this really hits the spot (no BS) after seeing the truth and reality of the racing world.

I remember about a year ago, Volkswagen was having a driver's search and I was super stoked... until I read the part where you have to drop a $20,000 deposit to get it. I remember there was also a Redbull driver search here in Houston, but I guess there was a catch similar to Volkswagen's.

Although it will take extra hard work and saving to do so, hopefully by next year I can get into club racing. Shoot, it might even take a few more years till I can actually work my way into this.

Thanks again guys!
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