Da guys know me as CheapJack and I’d be happy to describe the range you’re looking at. If you’re interested on getting caught up, you might want to go back to the beginning of my race blog
and work your way forward. You’d be caught up quick, know who the players are, and have a path to send anybody else you know that wants to be on the track with us. You never know if 2016 becomes that season that I actually get that reality TV show going?
For your consideration of expenses:
= Race fees
(for 2 races) for the most expensive race weekend we have, the Grand National Finals at the most beautiful “campus” we race at. Average race Saturday $170 for both GP350 & GP500 races and two morning practices. (Time in the saddle is what it takes to be comfortable on your bike)
Over the course of a race season, which for the past few years has only been around 5 races unlike the seasons of 12 races in the southeast, and the GNF, your race season costs are $1,200 a year, unless you want to do some travel time for Mid Central/Northeast races, also with WERA and count toward best score going into the GNF, same prices! Unfortunately, all the northern races this year were on the same weekends we raced in the southeast.
Race Weekend Expenses: This expense can be cut in half quite easily by finding a race partner, preferably in your area, to ride with and share gas and hotel costs(Roebling Road in Savannah is quite a distance and best ridden to Friday after work). Race fuel is real cheap nowadays. $2.39 per gallon gets you gas pump premium. Non-ethanol high test is even better. Gate fee costs between $20 for regular race weekends and $40 for the GNF. Sports drinks and water along with lunch. Concessions at most venues.
$475 = Transponder (best purchased on day 1. Renting does some fraction toward purchase.) Used ones go real fast on the WERA BBS Classified section
. But actually, right now, there are a few and between $250 and $375 JUMP NOW! They pretty much last forever and never heard of any crash related failures. Almost as bulletproof as the 350 Honda twin.
RACE SCHOOL: $100 and/or Ed Bargy Racing School $500 Plus and worth it… after you have a season under your belt. As everything is around 1.0 in the beginning, I recommend you take the quick basic WERA course and have your butt on the track for the last race of the 350 Honda racing day. Time in the saddle… At the end of that season, taking an Ed Bargy race course is something that will take you to the next step, and you’ll know what he’s talking about.
$100 + or – $100 = Chest Protector: It’s an option that you should say yes to. Not necessarily this brand or price, but one simple like this with no danglies.
Some you can get into quick if you’re scrambling to put your leathers on to make it to the starting line. And something like this that forms to you and buffers the leathers. This is the kind thing you get when you want to be able to crash in the first race and still be able to enter the second after you brush yourself off.
$300 to $500 = Helmet: Must meet WERA specifications, see WERA Rule Book ECU is one of the qualifying standards.
Race Tires around $350 a set, that will, because you’re limiting yourself to 24 horsepower, last for two or three seasons, if not longer?
Keith and I started with the one piece version of the cheapy at the time @ $357 delivered for India. After our funds went into making the bike go faster and having learned how to scratch leathers well, we upgraded a bit. Different upgrades between me and Keith. I now race with something like the $209 with another layer of leather and an Icon Chest Protector.
$100 for video camera. You’re going to want to record at least the forward looking angle for posterity sake AND for your learning curve. Check with me before you buy. SJ4000 cameras are being sold on eBay that do not do what they say and most people don’t figure that out till it’s too late.
Down to brass tacks: The other “Fatherly Statement” you’ll be honestly making to all that matter to you is… “In Double Digit Racing, you’re limiting your bike to go have some fun.” Another fact you can read (and see the videos) about me is my true crash experience
. So, by running a 350 Honda in the “Stocker” class known as GP350, your actual engine displacement is only 325cc, as molded into the cylinder castings. Even when you do get around to boring out the cylinders to the class maximum, 1.0mm over bore, you will then have 335cc on a four stroke, two cylinder, 24 horsepower bike that could never reach 100 mph. That’s right, we’re racing at highway speeds, just like the rest of the family commutes at. We just get to have fun with the buddies that not matter what, barring an engine rebuild, will do what it takes to get you in the grid. After that, let’s run circles around each other? Another thing to consider about WERA Vintage racing is we’re Saturday racers. Most races can be a matter of getting up early in the morning and driving to the track and being back home at the end of the day. More time can be spent at the track with race buddies if that’s what the therapy calls for.
The Cheapest way to get the Therapy you’ve been looking for. is also family cost conscious. “CheapJack”
As for the bike…
The 350 Honda twin has seen great improvement in it’s price over the past decade. There was a time when I would sell the bare bottom, mechanically sound, probably in need of new tires, running and rideable, 350 Honda for $500. The last was to my race partner’s son. Keith now owns the bike that has travelled with him, to and from work, for more than a month now… in the back of his truck.
This would be your best case scenario for my best recommendation, starting from scratch:
PULL: headlight, fork ears, mirrors, turn signals, tail light, horn, center stand, speedometer & cable, side stand (and cut the side stand mount off)
REPLACE: OIL!, brake shoes, ALL cables, chain, tubes, race tires, battery, carb kits, points, plugs, condensers, Felt Oil Pad,
Rebuild: Fork seals, carburetors, tank if necessary, brakes, bearing checks, repack steering bearings? Consider upgrading to tapered steering bearings (recommended sooner than later), valve adjustment, PROPER cam chain adjustment,
You would then have created Race Bike 1.0 (fill in the name when the personality of the bike is determined)
Ready for the race track. In this configuration you would have a positive charging system in place and never worry about charging your battery. You electric starter would still function. You would still have what AHRMA refers to as a Novice Historic Production Lightweight bike. Leaving all the “street stuff” on the bike is what qualifies it for AHRMA. Removing what you can in the WERA rules for GP350 racing disqualifies the bike for AHRMA racing unless you want to race with 350s with twice the power.
As a newbie, you could increase your numbers of races (time in the saddle) by racing both AHRMA and WERA.
If you’re like one of the new guys in our GP350 class making the V1 (350 Honda with double the horsepower) upgrade for his second race season because AHRMA kicked him out of that class after winning it, you could learn the process faster while you’re in the learning curve. I couldn’t recommend anything better and more exciting than your first year in racing participating in both racing organizations that I’ve race with. I learned with AHRMA. Even if your second season was without AHRMA the half dozen with WERA each year would be a leveled off learning curve. More for playing around.
And, if you’re a newbie, (we don’t learn as quickly as we used to) you still haven’t reached Racer 1.0 yet. Getting time in the saddle you may decide to upgrade the shocks. No doubt the 45 year old seals may be a bit worn. This could be anything from just a new set of street shocks? Or, you may want to make that one time big league jump as recommended by most. I’m still running the NOS Red Wing shocks that came on my CL350 almost ten years ago. After having seen the difference in the 35mm front end change upgrade, I think I’m ready for an upgrade in rear shocks.
Verson 2.0 could involve any or all of these: removing fenders, maybe changing tanks, pulling air filters, switching to rear set footpegs, fiberglass cafe seat, 35mm fork conversion, clipon handlebars, tapered steering stem bearings (recommended 1.0), reinforcing the frame, aluminum rims, CB77/CB450 200mm front brake drum set, new bearings, 1.0mm overbore pistons/rings, teflon cam chain slipper tensioner upgrade, stainless steel Allen screw upgrade, electronic tachometer, electronic ignition or PVL igniter system, new coils, Ballistic battery if not PVL,
Consider this list as any or all or eventually. When you have it all and experience under your belt, you’re ready to consider the V1 upgrade. The 350 Hondas with double the horsepower. That would be Version 3.0. That would also mean no longer double digit racing.
There are those who would recommend going straight to Version 2.0 to have the best bike you can have from the get go and only have to concentrate on your racer learning curve and not the bike’s evolution. I take comfort in the knowledge of how the difference between 33mm and 35mm forks feels… stout and stable at 35mm. I like knowing the difference.