In the last week or two I have had discussions with lots of people about the cost of racing
Their interest has ranged from people thinking of starting racing through people thinking about helping out and then just general interest
I had to think long and hard about whether I should share this for fear of people judging and suggesting that there may be better ways of using the money
I too looked at this through those same eyes when I was “just” racing in 2011-12. We prayed about the situation throughout 2013 when we weren’t racing and I agreed with my wife that we would only continue racing under certain criteria
The family is taken care of financially
Our Church and Charity giving are taken care of
There is a mission purpose to the racing
All three of the above criteria are met.
I have created a budget spreadsheet for keeping track of the costs and each year I have added lines for the things that we have had to purchase unexpectedly so that they are included in future plans.
The sheet keeps tally of regular costs per meeting and one off costs like repair bills, It tallies the cost per meeting, it tallies the cost per month, It tells me the total that we plan to spend and how much of that is still outstanding.
We race for as little cost as we can. We don’t have new tyres every race or even every weekend, where I feel that I can I only do a half day test day rather than the full day, we don’t do any trackdays testing within the season and so far only one pre-season.
We run in the Thunderbike Extreme class in the British Motorcycle Racing Club and although that may sound “extreme” it is an friendly class made up of all sorts of motorcycles from pre 2002 so we aren’t talking £50,000 to buy a bike. My current motorcycle is a 1995 Honda Fireblade, 893cc and cost £1600, with an additional £1200 we uprated the suspension to a race level.
We run in 8 meetings spread from April – October , May being the month with two meetings.
The largest costs after the bike is the entry fees, these range from £235 - £300 depending on the circuit. This year we have been to 6 circuits we visit Snetterton and Brands Hatch twice and at Brands Hatch we have one meeting on the indy circuit and one meeting on the GP circuit.
The next highest cost are tyres, now as I have said we don’t throw tyres at the bike every race, that would be 4 sets a weekend. We only change the tyres when they have no usable racing life left, this is somewhere between 4 and 8 races. Also then we have to take into account requiring rain tyres for when its wet. It becomes a big headache when as per usual in the UK we have a race that starts wet and is bone dry by the end. Nothing destroys a rain tyre like 118Bhp and a dry track. A Set of tyres costs £250
The next highest cost is the testday, Testdays aren’t compulsory but racing is competitive sport and also dangerous the best way to be up to speed and safe is to get time on the bike at the circuit. Testdays are between £125-175 you can do just a half day to save cost but if you have any bike issues you have less time to get them resolved and still get enough time on the bike to get up to speed.
Then we have other items that all add up, Transportation to get to the meetings £25-£100, Race fuel £45, Oils and lubricants £20, Brake pads £50 a set at least twice a year, and maybe replacement parts £0 - £1000.
Currently we have decals on the motorcycle from several Christian groups that we partner with for publicity and awareness, CVM and their “Code” and “Crazyway” initiatives and Sorted Magazine.
We have Decals from our series sponsors ELP and Steve Jordan Performance who provide spot prizes to competitors.
Finally Vehicle Manager Online, They very kindly pay for the Oils and Lubrications that I mentioned.
My wife and I pay for everything else out of our own pocket as most club racers do. Only a few get a sponsor that will pay for anything let alone everything.
I was offered a tyre deal a few months ago but when I worked out what I was going to save over what I currently pay buying the tyres from A&R racing who provide paddock support it amounted to 50p. I stuck with Alan in the paddock.
As I said earlier in this piece there is a mission purpose to my racing. This year I have been able to open up many conversations with people in the racing paddock that I wouldn’t have had before. I have attended The Gathering to support CVM. I have had people seek me out in the paddock as I am “the” openly Christian racer. I have had one Church men’s group attend a meeting and I have people along from the Motorcycle club that I am a member of.
Our mission is to further the reach of the Gospel message to men and groups of men who may otherwise never be in contact with men of faith by providing outreach opportunities to Church and other Christian groups. And Support partner organisations in their outreach activities by attending events organised by those groups.
If you feel you can help in this mission, please pray into the situation. I don’t need commitment to pay for everything for a full season, but every help is appreciated. Use either the Support the team page or the Get in touch page
I will be adding a page to the website where I can acknowledge contributions. It will start with the one entry for Rowan Berks from Vehicle Manager Online
Bless you all