“If you ride it, we race it.” WERA has a place for just about every racer with up to 10 competition classes (to equalize for different engine sizes and types) for sprint races, an endurance series and multiple vintage classes. With separate scoring for Novice and Expert riders, WERA offers a vast number of opportunities for competitors – and an equal challenge for scorekeepers.
The typical amateur racer in his or her first season is rider, tuner, mechanic, driver, and food services all rolled into one.
Paddock camaraderie, even in a highly competitive series, leads to strong friendships that improve the depth and quality of the series. Competitors give advice, a helping hand, tools, and even the loan of parts to keep a racer on the track. Not surprisingly, mutual aid and the sense of community contributes to the safety of the racing.
Mutual support might simply be setting up trailers next to each other in the paddock area, or eventually combining forces to create an unofficial team with shared logistics – and aspirations.
Race prep is not limited to the machine.
It is said that the length of an amateur racer’s career is determined by the size of their credit line. Practice sessions and races can eat up a $400 set of tires in a weekend. To take some of the sting out of the cost of racing, motorcycle and accessory manufacturers provide contingency money, or free product, based on a rider’s race results. WERA staff meet riders after each race to verify a rider’s finishing place and sponsors for filing those contingency claims.
Four experienced sprint racers discuss combining their efforts to enter as a team in a WERA four-hour endurance race at Grattan Raceway in Michigan.
An amateur pit typically consists of the bike hauler (van, trailer or motorhome), a pop-up shelter, a place to lay/put/drop (and lose) tools and gear, and a folding chair. Arrangements vary in sophistication.
As a racer gains experience and the funds to keep racing friends or a partner may develop enough interest to transcend spectatorship to take on full support-crew status.
Having a qualified team member (above) to help with race prep can be the difference between lining up on the grid focused on the start, or the less confident “last-minute-I-hope-I got-this-covered” pre-start check.
Good race prep has its rewards (and pays contingencies). Here, it’s a first-place finish.
Summer heat, the adrenaline rush from competing in multiple events, and a drive to the track that probably started at 5am, all add up – to a nap.