Get your old bike fixed up and GO RACING!

Not open for further replies.


Jan 15, 2008
Country flag
If you've ever thought about racing an old bike, let me tell you - IT'S EASIER THAN YOU THINK!

Just find a regional roadracing club in your area, talk to the folks that race there, and get a hold of thier handbook. Study up on bike prep, get a set of leathers on e-bay (and a Snell approved helmet), and sign up for a racing school (some are weekend schools, others are one-day classes).

If you ride reasonably well, don't over-do it and fly off the track, and don't clobber another rider, you can get your license. I got mine at a one-day course with CMRA, through LoneStar Track Days at Texas World Speedway in College Station, TX.

There are tracks dotted from coast to coast, with several series that include classes for our beloved classic Nortons, particularly the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association (AHRMA), which is the biggest vintage bike racing association in the U.S.

In order to help new riders enter the sport, I'm sponsoring AHRMA's novice class, Novice Historic Production, in the Heavyweight division (over 500cc - 750cc). --Sorry, 850 guys, there is no novice class for you.

There are no cash awards in the vintage classes, but I am awarding gift cards from several national chain stores such as Target, Lowes, Home depot, etc., and gas cards that are as good as cash.

Even if you don't get out there and race, if all you can do is ATTEND ONE RACE, sit in the stands, walk through the pits, buy a t-shirt, a hot dog & a beer, YOU HAVE DONE WHAT YOU CAN, TOO; you have made an impact by helping the promoters cover thier costs, encouraging the racers, and helping the vendors make a nickle or two.

By the way, Norton is not yet represented in the N/H/P/H class, and the BSA guys are slathering all over themselves to top the Triumphs, so throwing a Norton or two into the soup might be just what the series needs to wake some people up!
I don't know, paul. Falling is a part of racing, and at my age bones shatter like glass. It sounds like fun and all, but going under the knife again to have my broken body screwed back together does not sound like fun. Been there, done that, still have the Ti hardware in my bones. YMMV I suppose.

old and brittle

In the Novice Historic Production classes, you run a basically STOCK APPEARING PRE-72 bike (or newer bike of "like design"), with unmodified frame and swingarm, OEM wheels (a rule that is bent at every race), and stock seat & tank. As I read the rules, ANY Norton 750 would be eligible.

Engine mods run wild with some of the racers, mine is a box-stock 650 Bonneville. Suspension mods are allowed, you can bob the seat, and exhaust systems should be muffled (yeah, right), and can be raised and tucked in for cornering clearance.

Handlebar MOUNTS must be stock, but you can use any configuration of bar that will mount on the original mounts. Footpegs are supposed to be original, but can be re-oriented for additional cornering clearance (no rearsets, no clipons).

Fairings or windscreens are not allowed, electronic ignitions are allowed. All oil-retaining fasteners must be safety wired, as well as suspension and brake fasteners. An oil retaining catch pan that holds 2 quarts must be installed and able to catch any engine spillage, and a breather catch bottle must be employed.

There's not much else to prepping an old bike to race, the actual race prep on a running bike can be done over a weekend (I did it in 2 days).

SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? See you at Daytona!
Debby: You can get out there and have fun without getting in over your head, I have still got chicken strips on my tires after 4 races. The instructors at racing schools will pull you off the track if you are too slow or exhibiting dangerous behavior in your riding style.

Still, racing is a dangerous activity, and you can always get T-boned by somebody else, or take a spill in someone else's oil; so you do have consider the consequences.

My lifelong dream was to go motorcycle racing, and when my wyfe first looked into sending me to California Superbike School a few years back, I knew I would be in WAY over my head on a modern bike. Classic and vintage bikes offer an excellent alternative for us "more experienced" riders. the final part of my dream is to race at Daytona in March, so you can bet I'll be taking it REAL EASY at Roebling Road at the end of February, so that I can at least take the green flag at Daytona!

So far, I've been able to stay on the pavement and not get in anybody's way, have maintained a respectable pace (even though I typically get lapped by the winners), and my old Bonnie hasn't blown up; so I'm still beating the odds, and I've managed to beat a couple of guys that had thier bikes blew up and flew into corners too hot for thier brakes.

"A man's got to know his limitations" (in the voice of Clint Eastwood as "Dirty" Harry Callaghan).

P.S. - Debby: There are very few women racers, it sure wouldn't hurt the sports image to increase that number by at least ONE. Oh, and by the way, AHRMA's director is a nice lady named Cindy, whose husband, Andrew is a champion racer.
track school and the adreneline rush of it all

A few months ago i spent 2 days at the Freddie Spencer High Performance racing program in Las Vegas.

Although it was very pricey - it was an absolute blast!

I thought i knew how to ride a bike before I went (after all, I've been riding for 30+ years!).

Quickly realized i had a few bad habits and didn't really know the first thing about the dynamics of cornering with control and speed. What a difference afterward.

Haven't been back to the track yet, but fully intend to.

By the way, the Freddie Spencer school puts everyone on 600 Hondas. What amazing bikes - rev to 13,000 RPM and haul ass. For hours at a time on the track in 90 degree weather. Practically indestructible. I can't imagine my trusty Norton even surviving a day of what those Hondas take.

Keith in Encinitas
My old '69 has been hammered harder than any old bike I've ever owned, it's holding up fine with less oil drippage than any of my previous bikes. It just takes a bit of careful assembly and some gasket sealer to keep it that way.

As long as the engine is BUILT to take it, it'll take it.

Racing can be as addictive as a drug habit (and nearly as expensive). I raced 4 wheels in my younger days (on some one elses buck thankfully). We used to say speed costs how fast can you afford?

I have a couple buddies that got started with AHRMA and WERA. One started with the old Harley 883 class because you couldn't do much to it. You bought the bike, made it "race safe" and went racing. That lasted a year and a broken collarbone. Ten years later he is racing a new Thruxton and a Triumph 675 in which he has invested more than he will admit.

The other fellow started by taking his Ducati F1 out with Airtech bodywork. He is a very good, smooth, fast rider but he dropped the F1 because it had 16 inch wheels and old tires. We convinced him that the F1 was too rare to risk tearing up and to build a Norton. After a couple years the Norton had to have a five speed, lots of Steve Maney's goodies, and wherever he raced Tim Joyce's immaculately prepared T140 was his biggest competition! When he wanted to do as much of the tour as he could to compete for the points championship, his wife had to reign him in. The cost of a weekends racing is NOT inconsequential.

My point is racing may not be for everyone. However, track days and racing schools can be fun and much easier on the budget and body.
Not open for further replies.