FAQ

Welcome to the

Newbie FAQ Page

We have created the FAQ page to try to answer some of the many questions we
have received from new racers, many of which we had when we started racing.
Before we get to the Q & A it’s important to mention a few key things first.

The Official Rules are just that, “Official”. Nothing on the FAQ page is meant to
be contradictory to the Rules but there may be some “Unofficial” opinions or
suggestions here to help new riders get out to the track for the first time and get
through the Novice period. The Official Rules can be found (here).

So lets not beat around the bush, the big question is…

Q: What do I need to do to get out and race my scooter?

A: It’s a loaded question!

The best way to learn about what you need to do is come out to the track and
check out what we do. You can bring your scoot and hang out in the pit area with
us. We are always tinkering on our scoots between races and you can see first
hand how we set up our bikes. If you’re ready to race then strap on your gear
and get out on the track!

In the mean time, what you need to do before you can race is make sure that
three main things will be protected.

  1. You
  2. The Track
  3. Your Scooter

That’s right, your precious scoot is the last thing on the list. Taking a “safety first”
approach means that the first thing you need to do is protect your body so you
can make it back for another race. Secondly you need to protect the track so that
you will be allowed back for another race. Last is your scoot, which you can
always take home to fix before your next race.

We have organized the Q & A into these three main topics. We have also
included a couple other topics which may provide some more answers or
perhaps just good reading. You can jump to the following topic headers:

  1. Rider Protection
  2. Protecting the Track
  3. Building a Race Scooter
  4. Race Day at the Track
  5. Racing/Technique/Etiquette

 

Rider Protection:

Everyone bails! No exceptions.

With the right combination of racing apparel your risk of injury is drastically
reduced. Most aches and pains are not from the bail you had but from the
exertion of racing all day. When you can rely on your gear you worry less and
can focus on your racing.

Q: What are the minimum requirements for racing gear?

A: You must have leather gloves that cover your wrists, leather boots that cover
your ankles, full-face helmet, and one or two piece race leathers which covers all
areas of your body except for your neck. In some cases synthetic boots with
armor such as for motocross are acceptable. Two piece leathers need to zip
together. Some type of spine protector must be worn even if it is the neoprene
padding that comes sewn into most suits.

The most common crash is loosing traction around a corner. The scoot slips out
from under you and you slide across the asphalt to a stop. The contact points are
your palms, elbows, thighs, and sometimes your helmet. With good gloves and
leathers you won’t even notice and will be back up quickly and continue racing.

Q: Where do I get the required gear?

A: If you’re rich you go to your local sport bike shop and get custom fitted for
everything. Typically new gear is for guys who like to stand next to their new
sport bike. In the spirit of “everyone bails” it’s best to start with used gear that is
cheap but still fits and protects properly. Good places to look are consignment
shops, Craigslist, PSRA forum, or just ask other racers who usually have spare
equipment kicking around.

It’s important that the contact points on your gear (mentioned above) are in good
shape or even reinforced to suit you. Knee pucks aren’t essential but as your
racing improves you will definitely want them.

Q: The Supermoto guys only wear light synthetics with body armor, is this
enough for scooter racing?

A: Although we often practice with Supermoto and share race days, the riding
style is significantly different from scooter racing. We don’t want to make it
difficult for people to get out and race, especially if it is only a couple of times per
season. Race leathers are the minimum requirement for scooter racing. If you’re
having a hard time finding leathers let us know in the forum and we will do what
we can to help you out.

Q: With a full face helmet do I need a visor?

A: You need some type of protection for your eyes and face. Either a motocross
style full-face with goggles or a sport style full-face with flip up visor. With a flip

up visor you may leave it open a crack for ventilation but when riding on the track
it should be mostly closed at all times.

Wind is the least of your concern here. You need to protect yourself from track
rubber, sand, gravel, nuts & bolts, etc. that may find their way onto the track.
Race tires are notoriously sticky and have a way of grabbing things and firing
them out at the guy behind you.

Q: What else do I need to do to be safe on the track?

A: Your scoot needs to be prepped so it won’t fall apart or hurt you in a bail. It’s
common sense here. Give your scoot a good once over before and after each
round on the track. Make sure all your important nuts and bolts are secure and
either have lock nuts or wired nuts, especially your rims, engine bolts, swing arm
bolt, hubs, etc. Also, your bar ends need to have plugs so you don’t take a core
sample out of your leg in a bail and your levers need to have ball ends to
eliminate nasty puncture wounds. Basically anything that might be dangerous to
you or other riders such as sharp edges and pegs need to be addressed in some
way.

Protecting the Track:

Most of the tracks we race on have specially designed asphalt surfaces which
are smooth to ride on and provide excellent traction in the corners. Needless to
say they are very expensive to install and maintain. The owners, track managers
and other racers all want to keep the track in the best possible condition so it can
be enjoyed for years to come.

Q: What kind of damage could I possibly do to the track with my scooter?

A: The three most common types of track damage are gouging, corrosion and
slicks. Sharp corners, nuts, bar ends, etc. can all leave gouge marks in the track
if you bail. Gasoline and other liquids can corrode the track making it rough and
exposing the slippery aggregate. Lubricants spilled on the track can make for
slick spots which are very difficult to clean up.

Q: What do I have to do to my scoot to prevent damage to the track?

A: Same as for protecting yourself, your scoot must be prepped so there are no
sharp corners or bolts sticking out. The best way to do this is to add “sliders” to
your scoot. These can be made out of anything softer than the track surface such
as aluminum plates, skateboard wheels, vinyl blocks, etc. If you add sliders to the
“high points” on your scoot the rest of your scoot won’t make contact with the
track. Most scooters have plastic or metal bodywork that encloses the frame and
components such as leg shields and side covers. These inherently work well but can take a beating in repeated bails. You should also remove your kick start (if it
sticks out) and kick stand.

To eliminate leaking fluids you must have catch bottles on all your overflows.
This is easy to do and makes a big difference to eliminate leaks. A small plastic
container and some vinyl tubing will do. Attach the tubing to your carburetor and
battery overflows and run it to a catch bottle. Also, all oil fill and drain plugs must
be wired or have some type of locking mechanism. Any hydraulic lines need to
have the banjo nuts wired and plastic hydraulic reservoirs need to be taped up.
For large frame Vespas you must protect the shift box in some way so that you
don’t grind a hole in it when cornering and dump oil on the track.

Here’s a good test. Take your scoot and slowly lay it down on each side. As you
lay it down note where it makes contact with the ground. These contact points
should not be sharp or present a gouging concern. Stand the scoot back up and
inspect it for leaks, especially around your carb, case, battery and gas tank. If it
leaks, fix it or put a catch bottle on it.

Building a Race Scooter:

Most of us race scooters because we got into scootering before racing. Making a
scoot go fast seams to go against all the laws of nature, and that’s the thrill.
When you decide to race your scooter on a track you need to realize that it’s
totally different than street racing. Your scoot needs to be modified for safety and
to endure extreme cornering, speed and crashes. If you only have one scooter
and it’s your “baby” you need to think twice before racing it.

Most racers have a dedicated race scooter which doesn’t go back and forth from
track to street. Typically paint is of no concern and all non essential parts have
been stripped off. Bodywork is done in the pit area with a hammer and pliers.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t bring your street rod out to the track, it just
means you’ve officially been warned.

Q: Can I bring my street legal scooter out to the track and race?

A: Absolutely! (refer to warning above) Then read the FAQ on protecting the
track from your scooter. After that it’s just a matter of dealing with the things that
make your scooter street legal. Typically these are just your lights and
accessories. For the most part lights can be taped up with duct tape to keep
them together if they break. Signals and lenses that stick out should be removed.
All accessories such as mirrors, horns, baskets, tassels, flags, cases, back rests,
sheepskin seat covers, highway bars, sissy bars, drink holders, GPS units, hood
ornaments, pet carriers, etc. need to be removed.

Basically you don’t want to break things on your scoot because they are
expensive to replace. We don’t want you to break things on your scoot because

we don’t want the shrapnel bouncing around on the track. Common sense
prevails here, you won’t be allowed out on the track with your Mod tribute
scooter.

Q: What can I do to protect my scooter?

A: Lots. If you want to protect your paint and bodywork, install sliders on all the
contact points of your scoot. As mentioned above, sliders can be made out of
many materials as long as they are softer than the track surface. Probably the
cheapest and easiest material to work with is plastic cutting boards. They can be
cut with almost any saw and easily fastened on your scoot with wire or screws.
Another good one is skateboard wheels. They are great for fastening on the ends
of axel bolts and pegs. It’s not a fashion show out there so it doesn’t need to be
pretty, it just has to work.

If you want to protect your engine from wear and tear use only synthetic
lubricants and high octane fuel. You will be pushing your engine to higher RPM’s
that it’s used to so ensure it’s ready by maintaining it properly and inspecting it
often.

If you’re confident that you have built a fast scoot then you need to seriously
evaluate your breaks. You need to stop as fast as you can start. Nothing will
wreck your scooter faster than shooting off the end of a straightaway.

Lastly, if you don’t want to bail in the corners (most common) then you need to
have good tires at the right pressure. Sure you can bring your street bike out to
the track with a few tweaks but your all-weather street tires just aren’t going to
cut it. You should have track tires or bear minimum good street race tires. You
will want to ride at lower pressure than you are used to, typically around 18-20lbs
for 10” tires.

Q: Can I expect regular wear and tear on my scoot?

A: No, you can expect extreme wear and tear on your scoot. You will be
accelerating faster, cornering harder and breaking harder than on the street. That
cable that has been hanging on for the last few months will break on the first lap
out on the track. Any screws, nuts and bolts that aren’t perfectly torqued down
will loosen off right away. The best way to figure out the weak points on your
scoot is to bring it and your tools out to the track. Go for a couple of test laps,
inspect everything, repeat. Always make sure to bring spares with you including
cables, tubes, spark plug, leavers, etc.

After your first trip to the track you will have a good understanding of what needs
attention on your scoot. Once you get things just the way you want them you will
be spending less time wrenching and more time racing.

Q: Do I need numbers on my scoot?

A: Not for practice but definitely for racing. You should have your numbers on the front and each side (three places) of your scoot. The numbers should be contrasting to the background colour and be visible from at least 50’ away. You can have two or three digits in your number but not 01 through 09, as those are reserved for people who have earned them. Contrary to the Forum posts, you can’t reserve a number until you have raced your scoot at least once. Don’t worry too much about numbers the first time you come out. A bit of electrical tape will fix you up until you can make it permanent with spray paint.

Race Day at the Track:

 Here are a few Q&A’s about what to expect for a typical day at the races. If you are new, you will most likely find that the morning practice time isn’t long enough. Talk to your local PSRA racers or contact the track directly about practice days at the track. A full day of practice and tinkering will give you the confidence you need to have fun on race day.  

Q: On race day what time is the track open?

 A: Each track is different but typically the gates open sometime around 8:00 and the track goes “hot” after 9:00. Going “hot” means that you do not start any engines, whether in the pit area or on the track, before the specified time. After the track goes hot you can start your bike but don’t go on the track until you have registered.

 Q: What do we do when we arrive at the track?

 A: Typically there is a parking area for spectators and then there is the pit area directly adjacent to the track. In the pit area the parking spots look bigger than normal. If you are a racer then drive directly to the pits and look for other scooter racers, park by them. If you are the first one there then try to get a good spot in the pits near the track entrance.

 Q: Who do we register with on race day?

 A: Again, each track is different but the best thing to do is to head to the pits and find other scooter racers. Get your scoot offloaded then talk to the PSRA guys about where to register and pay. Typically track management will be set up in an office or covered area. You will need to sign a waiver, pay the entrance fee and register for the classes you will be racing in. The classes may be confusing for first timers as there are more than just scooters and mopeds. We may run several classes together so best to ask the PSRA guys about which races to sign up for.

 Q: How much are the track fees?

 A: Track fees range between $60 and $100 for the day. This includes pit pass for the racer and vehicle as well as entrance for all the bikes you may be riding. Look on the PSRA forum or email one of the PSRA guys in your area before each race to find out the exact amount for the track you will be racing on and whether or not to bring cash, debit or credit. In Canada at GMR there is a yearly membership in the Canadian Motorcycle Association with an annual fee of $70 that is required for insurance purposes. This fee is separate from track fees which are typically on the lower end of the scale, making it quite affordable.

 Q: What happens after we have registered?

 A: Usually there will be a practice period once the track goes hot. This may be “open” practice for everyone or be broken up into classes such as Supermoto, Scooters & Mopeds, GP, Pocket Bikes, etc. This is the best time to get out on the track and get a feel for your bike and learn the corners. You will want to do a few intro laps then head back to the pits to give your scoot and equipment a once over and make minor adjustments, then repeat. Practice may be anywhere from half hour to a couple of hours so take advantage of it while you can.

 After practice there will be a rider’s meeting where the race line up will be explained and safety will be discussed. We try to keep this as short as possible so if you are new save all your questions about starting, flags, gridding, etc. and just ask one of the PSRA guys to go over it with you.

 After rider’s meeting is racing. There will be a board with all of the races and a starting grid (order of riders) for each race. Find the races you are in and keep an eye on the order. You are responsible for getting yourself to the start line for each race.

 Q: Is there any food or drinks at the track?

 A: Usually yes, but it’s best to come prepared, or be prepared for a gut bomb. Don’t underestimate how much water you will drink so bring lots. Power drinks are great to get you in the mood for racing but don’t overdue it. Most tracks are in remote areas due to the noise so you may want to just bring whatever food and drink you will want for the day.

 Q: What else should I expect to bring for a day at the races?

 A: Even when it’s cloudy it can be hot and you can get really burnt. Be sure to bring sun screen every time. A lot of racers bring portable shelters which are great for shade or the occasional shower. Also, bring a folding chair or something to sit on.

Racing/Technique/Etiquette:

 This section is a catch-all for Q&A about racing, riding, entering and exiting the track.

 Q: Do I have to do anything special when entering the track?

 A: Just use common sense. There is no riding in the pit area so walk your scoot to the queue. The queue is like an on-ramp where you can speed up before entering the track. Make sure that there are no special flags being waived and that no one is walking around on the track. You will usually enter the track at the end of a straightaway so check to make sure there is no one barreling towards you. Merge onto the track at speed.

 Q: Are there any rules about passing or being overtaken?

 A: Not really. Rule of thumb is not to cut people off intentionally or be a track hog. For new riders it is best to concentrate on riding smoothly through the corners and avoid swerving and erratic behavior. Experienced riders use the body language of people ahead of them to figure out when to pass. If you have smooth lines people can safely pass you quite close and vise versa. Avoid looking behind you, if you hear someone behind you then stick to the outside of the track and leave a bit of room on corner apexes for people to pass. As you become a more aggressive racer you will learn when to block and when to let people pass. Kicking out at other racers or ramming them in the corners is a great way to get beaten up in the pits and ejected from the track.

 Q: Are there any special techniques for track racing?

 A: Many. People have written entire books on the topic. What it all comes down to is practice, getting to know your scoot and learning the course. As a novice you can do a few basic things to ensure you stay on your scoot long enough to learn the track. Do all of your braking before the corner. Avoid using your rear break as it locks up quicker than your front. Shift your body to the inside before the corner and avoid shifting your position as you corner. Look through the corner with your head and upper body, your scoot will follow. Accelerate smoothly through the corner. Once you get into the groove you will figure out where you can make changes and improvements.

 Q: What if I bail?

 A: Most people bail in the corners due to loss of traction or breaking at the wrong time. If you go down, don’t try to stand up until you come to a stop or you will tumble and injure yourself. Slide on your butt or side, don’t try to get your arm under you. When you do come to a stop waive one hand in the air if you are ok, even if you think no one is watching. If you are still on the track pick up your scoot and move to the inside of the corner as quickly as possible. If you have left the track then dust yourself off and push your scoot to a safe place to reenter the track. Do not reenter the track until you have started your scoot and it is in good order. If your scoot is not in good order then wait until the race is over before crossing the track to the pits.

 Q: What do the flags mean?

 A: There are a few variations but here are the basics. Checkered flag obviously means finish. Complete the (victory) lap and exit the track. White flag means you have one lap left before the checkered flag. Green flag is the start flag and also means all clear, keep racing. When starting, the green flag will be held out by the starter in both hands. You don’t go until the tip of the flag leaves the starters hand. Yellow flag means caution and is usually because someone has bailed. Continue on with caution but not at race speed and no passing until you have cleared the problem. Red flag means there is a serious problem on the track and you need to safely come to a stop. Black flag, usually being pointed at you, means there is a problem with your scoot and you need to exit the track and deal with it.

 Q: What do I do when exiting the track?

 A: At the corner before the exit to the pits, slow down and raise your left hand. This lets other riders know not to pass you on the outside. Always raise your hand when exiting whether you are racing or practicing. Again, there is no riding under power in the pits so either turn off your engine and coast or just walk your scoot.

 

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4 responses

24 04 2014
JJ

Any thoughts of a motorized bicycle class, or a showroom stock scooter class? This would give some an easier entrance into the sport without a lot of investment. Kind of a way to recruit more members.

6 05 2014
dlonglade

I’m sure if you brought something out we could find a place for it.

8 08 2011
lee

hi my name is lee devenish i have been raceing in the no buget cup on super sports bikes and iam now wanting to try something different like moped racing and wanting to no how i would get into racing mopeds i live in bradford west yorkshire would it be possible to send me some info on cost and how to get started meny thanks lee.

9 08 2011
dlonglade

Hi Lee,

I’m not too sure what is up with moped Racing in the UK. We are based in the Pacific Northwest of the USA. There is a very active scooter racing sceen in the UK tho. Post up on our forum if you have any other questions.

Cheers

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