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Want to be a professional racer? Here’s our five-step guide to get things started
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Want to be a professional racer? Here’s our five-step guide to get things started

Aninda

At Fast Bikes India, we get a lot of letters and responses on our social media channels. Some ask about bikes and scooters, some love our videos and some want to know which jacket to buy. But most often, we get queries from enthusiasts who want to go racing but don’t know how to get started. So we decided to put together a step-by-step guide for the noob who wants to go racing.

 The competition licence

This is an absolute must for any aspiring motorcycle racer. Unless you have a competition licence granted to you by The Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI), which is the National Motorcycle Federation (FMN) as per Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM), you are not allowed to ride in competitive events that are affiliated to India’s primary motorsport regulatory body.

To apply for a competition licence you have to first decide which category of two-wheeler racing you want to get in to. There are two types of races that are conducted on tarmac, the first and the more popular is road racing (essentially circuit racing) and the other is drag racing. Once you’ve decided where your interest lies, you can apply for a competition licence on the FMSCI website

Unlike a normal road going licence, even those under the age of 18 can apply for a competition licence. However, if you are above 18, you will need to have a road going licence to apply. While the physical license may take some time to reach you by courier, the confirmed license number on the above website would suffice to take part in events.

Sorting the riding gear

No racetrack will allow a rider to get on track without proper motorcycle clothing, and no, that mesh jacket and street riding gloves you wear with your jeans and ankle boots don’t qualify. You will need to have a proper one-piece leather suit, gauntlet type leather gloves and race spec motorcycle boots that will cover the shank of your leg. Most importantly, however, you will need to have a helmet that’s DOT or ECE certified and with a double D-ring clasp. Don’t even bother bringing your ISI certified lid to a race track. The marshals will only let you look at others racing. Unfortunately, all of this is very expensive. Fortunately, if you make it to the TVS One Make Race Series you will only have to get your helmet. TVS Racing will provide the rest.

 The Training

Having sorted out your competition license and riding gear, you’re now all sorted to line up on the grid. Or are you? FMSCI’s strict regulations mean that long before you line up on the racing grid you will have to be trained to race. That means attending a school where they teach you how to race on a closed circuit. This includes classroom sessions and on-track experience, knowledge about racing rules, flags and signals, marshalling and most importantly, racecraft. These aren’t things your weekend biking buddies will be able to help you with. Thankfully, TVS Racing has a school that you can attend and sort out these issues that stand between you and your dream of motorcycle racing. As a side benefit, you will also become a better rider on regular roads once you’ve attended the race school.

 The One Make Championships

Now that you’re fully trained to go racing, you really can. And this is where things have really changed since the days before One Make Championships. TVS’ Apache RTR One Make Championship is the stepping stone into the world of motorcycle racing. TVS in fact was the first motorcycle manufacturer in the country to introduce the idea of a one make series. Divided into Novice and Open categories, the one make series runs alongside the Group B category in the National Championship. If you’re under 23 years old then you’ll automatically be eligible for the Novice category. However, if you’re over 23 then you head straight into the Open category.

Currently, the machine used for this One Make Championship is the brilliant Apache RTR 200 4v. Winner of the prestigious IMOTY last year, this is a great motorcycle to learn competitive motorcycle riding on. It is powerful but not intimidating, thanks to a linear delivery and at the same time it has brilliant dynamics combined with a forgiving nature. Perfect for learning.

 Graduating

The One Make Championship series has always served as a feeder to the larger TVS Racing programme. It is from the one make series that TVS Racing chooses riders for its factory team in the National Championship. Obviously, the graduates start with the lower classes of racing before progressing into the big league but the moot point remains undisturbed. You have to show promise at the One Make level to be able to make it to the TVS Racing team. And promise in this case doesn’t just mean riding hard and fast.

Those are basics. You will also need to show that you understand how to develop your bike, show the ability to work with a tuner, work at not crashing too often and then understand how racing strategy works. No, it’s not as simple as twisting your right wrist. But once you get it correct then it’s an immensely rewarding career to aspire for.