Here We Go – Budget Racer!

I’ve committed to try racing the 2020 season. I’m going to join the Central Racing Association and spend a bunch of time at the Brainerd International Raceway this summer.

In a previous post I estimated what it will cost to do this. I was, um, optimistic. Which is to say I could go cheaper but some of the savings increase risk, and I am much more risk averse (smarter) than I was when I was younger.

Also, a category of expense I missed was a trailer, aka Small Garage on Wheels. I got to see a bunch of other riders and their gear on my track day last Labor Day and it illustrated how important this function is to the endeavor.

The expense categories now are:

  1. Bike including modifications like Hot Bodies race plastic/sliders, performance enhancements and consumables including tires.
  2. Trailer including tools/tool box, awning, bike stands, gas cans, bicycle and riding gear storage.
  3. Gear. This accounts for the biggest shift in my thinking and the budget. Talking with other racers and reading informed resources has convinced me to spend more on riding gear. From a purely money perspective, even with insurance an ambulance trip and medical copays are more than a good race suit with an airbag. Good armored and articulated boots are cheaper than casts and crutches. Not to mention, I have learned that being ambulatory is more fun and easier than using a wheelchair. And, if I’m honest, I don’t like pain. Yeah, tough guys and stoicism and macho and all but I’ve got the benefit of some years and I finally enjoy simple things and if I can help it, I’d rather not get hurt. Old guys don’t bounce.

The bike. Shopping around and talking with racers I found I could go one of two ways, buy a stock bike and modify it for racing or buy a race bike from someone moving up a class or retiring from the sport. I opted for the more time-consuming stock bike route. This way I can learn the mods myself and that’s a big part of the fun for me.

I picked up a 2017 KTM RC390 with 3,000 miles in Denver on New Years Day and brought it back home. I ordered a Hot Bodies kit which should arrive in 6 weeks and I’m doing intermittent reading on potential performance mods.

The trailer. There are very few used enclosed trailers available. I found the perfect blend of function and price in a new one. Specs for the 6 x 12 enclosed trailer include a v-nose for tool/gear storage, a fold-down rear door for a ramp, a single axle with plenty of weight capacity and it’s tall enough to stand up inside. Hey, by the way, how tall is it? 7′ 6″? But the underground garage is at most 7′ tall and some of the pipes and wires hang down below that. Crap!

So, I decided to give up the ability to stand up straight in the trailer for the ability to park it inside and work hunched over (or sitting down) in my “stealth shop” in the basement so I ordered one with a 6′ 6″ height. I’ll need to add a bunch of LED lighting throughout but that will help trackside as well.

The Gear. I’m going to get an airbag vest. People who know more than me recommend it. So there. Tech-Air 5. Also, because of my misshapen back I’m going to get a custom race suit fitted. The International Motorcycle Show is in town soon and I’ve got an appointment at the Heroic booth to get my order in time for the season. I’ll get some of their gloves and look for some boots at the show as well.

Here we go!

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