Team LB?

There’s at least two of the LB gang who are thinking of trying to raise their game by going racing next year. We love trackdays with a passion, but always hold back because we’re on road bikes that we don’t want to crash, we also feel we’re not getting enough track time as we could do. It’s been briefly dicussed between us that perhaps we should try and become better riders by going racing. Racing is traditionally very expensive and there’s a number of logistical obstacles to overcome before being able to, namely:

  • Getting an ACU race license
  • Getting/building a race bike
  • The ability to transport it, and yourself around the country
  • Having a huge pot of cash

We’re looking at keeping it simple, establish a team and have the individual goal of trying to beat one-another, with anyone else we beat beign a bonus. This means that we can set personal rules on bike development, limiting things to keep the cost down to something managable and not let it run away from us, whilst still having a load of laughs. Obviously though we’d be looking to win the championship, but perhaps that’s a bit ambitious for a debut season We’re looking at the SuperSport 400 classes.

As riders, the two who have shown interest, Westy#11 and myself, are quite aware of our abilities and don’t claim to be the fastest guys out there, we probably do between 6-12 trackdays a year and ride in the fast group on 750cc and 1000cc inline-fours. We enjoy learning about becoming better track riders and try to get as many tips as possible off fellow riders who are at a higher level than ourselves, in an attempt to become faster. We hope racing will allow us to ‘pull the pin’ and become faster riders, whilst trying to achieve something we’ve both lusted after for a while, to be racers, whether we succeed or not.

Has anybody got any experience with this, that they’d like to share? Bike-wise, the Kawsaki ZXR 400’s seem to be the bike to race, and is the one we’re interested in. It seems to be the favoured bike because it’s an inline four engine layout, track proven and has a wealth of tuning knowledge available, not to mention being easier to work on and cheaper to repair than the other options, like VFR/RVF 400’s. Series wise, the MRO SuperSport 400 class has some great circuits in it, though there’s also the Bemsee one to look at, time for research!

Doing this means that we’d like to do it under the LondonBikers name, sporting a Team LondonBikers, with the intention of gaining sponsorship to help us sustain the effort and get better results.

This is a message from a guy whos doing it right now.

The ACU changed the rules to make it harder to get a race licence.

What you need to do is to go to their website and print out the race applicaton form. This basically explains what you need to do.

You must have a full eyesite test, this includes colour and peripherary vision.

You must have a section of the form filled out to say that you are competent, this is obtained from European Superbike School or Ron Haslam Race school - there may be others but unsure. Doing this section with ESS on Wednesday at Brands.

You have to pass the ACU written section, currently trying to organise this myself but you have to go to the ACU office in Rugby to do it.

You have to affiliate with a club.

You have to have a novice jacket, thats one of those orange string vest things (7£).

When you race you have to have a transponder, £200 from BEMSEE is cheapest found so far but some clubs hire them out on the day.

I wish you two all the best, 400 class is ultra competitive and can be really expensive. There is a seperate class for Rookie 400’s. I am going into mini-twins, thats an SV650. Got the bike, just trying to get spares and some practice at present.

If I can help in any way, just let me know. Getting the licence doesn’t seem to difficult its just the expense.

As for transport, a van is the way forward as you can carry all the tools etc required and keep them dry. Theres really 2 options, van and caravan to sleep in (it helps to get a good nights kip) or motorhome and trailer. Motorhome option is very appealing but its expensive. Personally gone for a van at present and currently a tent but am looking at options for full years racing next year.

As for your choice of bike, there are shed loads of ZXR400’s and thus there are plenty of parts and spares available. Fastest option would be the RVF400 but thats major money to pump up to competitiveness. NC30 is faster in standard for than RVF but when pumped is not as good. The V4’s are also swines to work on unlike the inline 400’s. You could always go for Mini Blade but better the Yamaha 400.

If you can get sponsorship then go for it. Be warned though, its very competitive trying to get sponsorship. I will be trying to get some myself soon. Hopefully will get a couple of races in this year and get some half decent results. This always help in persuading a bit of sponsorship.

Thanks for the insight Chuffster, appreciated. I’m quite surprised to find out they’re making it so much more difficult to get the race license, especially the part about requiring a race-school to approve you, their days aren’t cheap, at what, £300?

I have personally discounted the VFR/RVF’s, for the reasons you point out, though haven’t looked at the Yamaha option, thanks. I used to love the RVF when I was starting out in biking, would be nice, especially for the sound hehe, but it’s big money as you say, and that’s not something we’re trying to get involved in, big spending. We want to do this as economically as possible (just like everyone else, I’m sure), as we don’t expect to be serious contenders, just guys out there having some fun.

I better get booked in with a race school then, not a bad idea to attend anyhow! Best of luck with your MiniTwin racing, please keep us posted, it’ll be good to share experiences. I hope we can convince you to have a LB sticker on the bike?

Rod, we need to get more interest from the off-roaders first, get a stronger following on the site. Good idea though! When the flyers are made up, maybe you can help get them in a few off-road shops?

Doing ESS at Brands and its cost me the paltry (ahem) sum of £211. Now if you wait until next season there should be a day at Silverstone or Pembury where you can do it all together, thats the race section and written section together. I know this years Snetterton one ran like that but it was absolutely freezing and even started snowing. So if you prep over the winter you should be able to go in as a Rokkie next year.

As for stickers, just send them my way. Have 3 bikes to slap them on. Don’t mind doing some advertising for you.

if you want anything stuck up at boxhill just pass it on. Down there quite often as I am part of the forum. Theres some off road people in that forum as well.

If you want to run cheap and stand a good chance of competing, mini twins is the way to go. Bikes are relatively cheap and you are extremely limited as to what you can do. Capped at 72 hp and no engine mods. Rules are strict and as I bore witness to yesterday, bikes are randomly checked to stop cheating. Bought a K4 version ready prepped for £3500. If you wait till season end there will be some punted out. If interested let me know as I can put the word around. Spannering for a mate at the mo in that class so getting to know lots of peeps etc.

You will find that there is virtually no difference between an SV and a 400. BEMSEE mix them up in a clubman shootout at their rounds and its pretty even. North Glocester run them in Sound Of Thunder, thats the up to 1 litre twins and tripples. Ok, they dont win but they can sure keep up with the average rider on Dukes and Milles etc. Great fun.

hi jay, how many bikes are you thinking of running? for cost purposes id recomend that you all run the same bikes that way you dont have to double up on spares levers bars etc i would however point out that the yamahas and the kawasaki 400s have an appetite for conrods (i have seen some spectacular blow ups… if your intention is not to win but to have fun, the hondas are bloody bullit proof and probably have the edge on handleing besides, the power deficit will make you a much cleaner rider .wp do a really good rear shock for the NC30 and 35’s

and vairous spring combinations for the forks… let me know how you are geting on and i might even join you myself with my 30 now i can use the ZX7R for the road…

oh yeah, ignore the baby blades as the front brakes arnt really up to much, im pretty sure they are the only bike in the class to use twin piston sliding calipers on the front circa MK1 cbr600… and im pretty sure the rules dont allow caliper modifications as nothing else bolts directly on

Hi jay,

Have you thought about the minitwin series? My friend’s running 5th in the championship at the momnent on an SV650.
Say’s it’s a very good championship, reasonably cheap, the bikes are nearly standard, also cheap to buy and maintain and lots of spares.

Just a thought…what ever you choose it’s gonna be wicked!!!

250’s are very nice, but they take up ALL your time with rebuilding. And they go bang a lot! Not really my thing, despite the attraction in riding a two stroke. The 400’s and MiniTwins are the two series’ being considered here.

If your friend can do Brands in 24.8, then he must be on some sort of next-generation motogp bike! The best BSB boys do it in 47 seconds, most trackday fast boys think 50-60 seconds is a good pace.

Cmon Jay, Mini Twins is the way to go, you know it makes sense. Mine should be at Brands on the 23rd, if you are there I may even let you take her out to see what its like.

Try going to Snetterton on 13/14th August or Brands Hatch 3rd/4th September and watch the racing, Brands is only£12 for about 20 races.


They run a rookie series within the minitwins championship as well as the normal placing, also is much cheaper due to the ammount of parts about for Sv’s against 400 machines which have to be imported.

Thinking maybe of being a sidecar passenger one of these days


Brands Indy in 24.8 Seconds… Boloks !!

Sorry Mate but that is just not possible… I am racing in an endurance race with Paul Young from BSB and he does it in 45… The top lads in the SS600’s MRO are doing 48’s… Are you talking about the go cart track behind the Kentagon…


Bemsee Rookie 600 rider #20

Hey Oli, nice to have you onboard, and even nicer to follow your lines through some of Snettertons corners (before you buggered off into the horizon)!

Fair enough mate… Just saw your original post and replied without reading rest of the thread…

Still trying to work out how 52.48 was mistaken for 24.8… Anyhowz… Thats a good time for a 250 …Fair play… I am doing 50 / 51’s on a GSXR 600…

Its amazing though… It is all about the rider… There is a class at bemsee called Forza Extreme which any bike can enter… They are mostly 1000’s / some 600’s but there is one fella there on a GP 250… He normally finishes 1/2 way up the pack… Fair play to the man.

Peace y’all

And sorry for not being as elloquent as Jay… Whatever that means… I say it as I think it… sometimes to my detriment… Still learning you see…

Hey Jay…

Yup was a fun day and good to meet you guys… Loving that new bike of yours… just thinking of the fun I could have on that…

gotta do some work now.


Cool dude… I am all about enthusiasm when it comes to bikes… And realism too… lets keep it real and true… Otherwise whats the point… (Not a chippy reference to your typo by the way)

Well as you’ve asked this is my experience:

Well after riding a GSXR thou on the road for 3 years, which I have to admit while it lasted was great, left me with a 4 year ban, £1700 fine, and a 4month electronic tagging curfew… Was lucky not to go down to be honest… Riding for me was about stunting… But after 2 due care and attentions, 3 dangerous drivings (Wheelies, wheelies & more wheelies & then one at 120mph)… I have decided that if you cant control yourself (Like I cant) then the track is the place to do it… My world felt like it was falling apart when I realised I could no longer ride anymore… Well I could but if I got caught it is not even worth thinking about… I was standing at Paddock Hill bend watching the WSB boys go round and suddenly it hit me… This is what I should be doing… So it was decided… I was going racing… Having never even ridden on the track at this point I thought I should do some practise… So 3 track days I managed to do and I found myself on the grid at Snetterton for the first time… Was the most terrifying, amazing, beautiful day of my life… I am now pleased I got that ban because now I see how little I actually got to ride my bike the way it was built to be ridden… I am so hooked… And going in there with such little experience was a big deal for me… I thought. If I can just not come last and finish the race that would be a touch… As it turns out miraculously I have not finished below 1/2 way down the grid all season… And the last 3 meetings (12 races) I have been inside the top seven every time with 3 fifths and a fourth too… I have proved to myself that I can do this with a certain amount of competency…there is a long way to go but I know that I can do it know… Just got keep pushing those boundaries bit by bit and I know that I can achieve… If my personnel goals are to be known then I am not content being a club racer… God willing and I am still fit and well… I will do MRO in 2007 and I would like to race a season in British Supersports / superstocks …And if the speed and funding are there then BSB too… I know they are big aspirations but if youdont have goals how you gonna hit them… If you don’t believe you can do it … well you never will… I am not saying I will get there but I’ll bloody die trying…I am extremely fortunate to have the financial backing it would need to get there so the weak link at the moment is me… But hey…Rome was not built in a day…!!! But I never had something make me feel so alive in my life… On that grid life makes sence… and life is far too short not to live life to the full… I was supposed to be on the tube around the time of the Liverpool st bomb… You know what I mean… Just live life…live your dreams if you can as you’ll regret it if you don’t… Racing is awesome as I am sure you’ll appreciate but it has its downsides… Its ridiculously expensive, can be thankless, painful… and sadly something that I didn’t REALLY take into account… Life threatening… The only reason I bring this up is that I have been really surprised the amount of fatalities that we’ve had this year… Its been 2 in five meetings which is not a good rate of stats…(1 18 yr kid in his 2nd ever race (400’s) & another chap on the WARM UP LAP in the minitwins) Then at Pembrey last month my team mate ran over a friend of ours neck giving him multiple fractured neck, suspected brain damage, and a coma… After 3.5 weeks of nothing they were ready to turn the life support machine off… he opened his eyes… They then did an 11 hr operation and the guy is wiggling his arms and legs and is smiling again… I can tell you I haven’t cried from relief like that… ever I don’t think… he was a close pal and I really needed to / the club / every racer there… needed to have that happen. It really didn’t look good at the beginning… Bloody amazing… they think he will make a full recovery and so I went out there four days after that and had the best race weekend of my life at Brands Hatch GP which was just awesome…I could really go out there and enjoy myself and went and got me another 5th… Yeh!!! Sorry to put a negative to this but as all us bikers know its not all roses out there…Its just the reality of what we are doing… Same as road riding / rock climbing / big wave surfing… You either accept the risks and get on with it or if you don’t then go fishing / play chess or something… But you have to put stuff like that way way far from you mind if you do decide that you want to do it… This is an incredible sport… hardcore but absolutely beautiful!! … and the pro’s definitely out weigh the cons don’t get me wrong…

I would advise anyone who fantasies about racing to give it a go… If your wallet allows then get out there and suck it up… I promise you wont regret it… Your wife / g-friend might when all your holiday money goes on yet another set of Ohlins front shocks and another tune up for an extra 5hp… but hey if you are not obsessed and addicted then you have no business there anyway…

I look forward to seeing you guys in the paddock…

Take care, ride hard, and keep smiling…

Oli, what class are you in? I must have seen you this year as I have been to the Bemsee meets other than the French round when a friend died. I am spannering for a friend in Mini Twins and shall be competing myself next year. I will not be based at Snetterton, have prior commitments but will be at Brands round. Perhaps we can meet up there, even better, maybe we can get the LB’ers along for support etc.

By the way, nice piece of writing and from the heart.

Hi mate…

I am doing the Rookie 600’s (Light blue Gixer #20)

Have done all rounds except France too… Snet next weekend!!! Chomping at the bit mate

See you at Brands…

I have also decided (Pure fasination) to enter myself into the SS600 class for the last round of the MRO at Brands on October 15&16th… Just to see how I do… If I can not come in the bottom 5 then that would be like a win for me… But its all experience and thats what i am hungry for… I also think that if you ride with faster guys than you they tend to drag you along a bit.


Oli Henderson #20

Ok mate. Will watch out for you. Now all we need is our social representatives, thats foxy and jay to organise an LB outing to support you at the Brands round. Good luck at Snetty mate. See you at Brands.

Make you right on following fast guys, you learn bucket loads. Its also good to watch other classes from the side, see different lines etc. Glad you are enjoying it and best of luck for the MRO if you go for it.

Yep, LB can support any of our racing members, distance permitting! I love going to Brands personally so count me in for any of those!