This section will help you and guide you to get a feel of what happens at National level and hopefully you get some great tips.
The information is supplied by one of the 50cc rider parents on his experience and is a basic what to do and what not to do at Nationals. The information is relevant for both MSA and WOMZA for 2016 but is generally the same year on year.
You will need to decide which Federation you wish to ride. Both Federations run a National series. You can ride one or the other or both. Both federations have a series in place with different dates so its best to check what dates each series run and that they don’t clash with club races etc
Rover is currently affiliated to MSA so at the same time you will need to choose a National licence when purchasing your licence at the beginning of the year. You cannot ride a National event on a club licence , you need the right National licence.
If you choose to ride any other Federation series , you will need to purchase that Federations National licence as well.
Best advice is to start with what you want to achieve and then choose the right licence whilst keeping in mind the dates for each race event.
North vs South is a WOMZA event held in Bloemfontein , this is separate from any National series and is a really great event to attend .
Also keep in mind that each Federation has its own set of rules -KNOW THE RULES.
You need to watch the Federation web sites for when the entries open and get your entry in fast before it closes. For MSA you need to keep a close eye on www.samxnationals.co.za.
For WOMZA you need to check out www.womzasa.co.za or www.womza2wheels.com
Once you start the year in the National listing you will be notified via sms when entries open. As mentioned get your entries in early to ensure a space on the gates as they do tend to get extremely full and limited.
We all think we top flyers but when racing against riders from other clubs , things don’t often look so good. Gauge your riding skills by benchmarking times on various tracks. If you time is within a window then it’s safe to say you are ready. If you are way off the pace , gladly go for it to use the race time to gain skills. Not everyone comes 1st on their 1st year of Nationals. It can take years to perfect.
The quicker you get into racing at that level the better as it can become very overwhelming being on a full gate with 30 of the countries top riders, so start as early as you can to get used to the competitive aspects and have the mindset that it may not work out so well but you here to learn for the year…if you make the holeshot…hold tight its going to be a rough ride.
Best advice is to weigh up how you handle with Rover’s top riders in that class. If you in the mix then Pin it.
Its great to win but NOT at all costs. Know the rules very well for each federation because if you overstep the line and are caught out , you stand to be banned from racing so best is to always know the rules….ignorance is no excuse.
One Federation does not allow Race fuel for example so they do fuel testing before you step out to the gates, if you fuel RON levels are above the specified window , you will face penalties and embarrassment of course that you were trying to bend the rules. There are a few rules to race by so it’s not that difficult to stay within the boundaries.
Carb size on 50cc for example is also limited to 19mm …don’t try modifying , it will come out in the wash somehow. Blue printing is allowed so if you have the cash , try get as much power and speed as possible. Lot’s of guys try all the tricks , even down to making their fuel as cold as possible to ignite better , these are mere tricks and there are no limitations to the temp of fuel etc but know the engine limitations where specified
Read the rules book ( GCR ) which is available online of both Federations to make sure you know what the margins are which you can play within.
The best is to book as close to the National Race track as possible because it’s going to be a very early morning for you on Race Day
Documentation is normally around 3pm to 5pm the day before racing
Accommodation is a tricky one to advise on as its personal choice related, however make sure when you make your bookings that you ask if the place has a safe facility for your trailer. Another word of advice , don’t believe what web site photo’s show as being an awesome room at value prices — some Guest house leave much to be desired , on the other hand some are really great.
On Race day , you will need to get to the track you are racing by no later than 06:15, anything later and you probably won’t find parking. Best is to put up your Gazebo the day before somewhere with your Team name on.
Your arrive most often whilst still dark to ensure you get a spot for your team.
The place starts filling up and by 7am it’s a hive of activity. Documentation is already done the day before and you would have received an envelope with the race day schedule and riders in each race etc as well as arm bands for Rider and Mechanic. Visitors pay a small fee , normally around R50.
So , you unpacked and ready and the music starts. You do some last minute checks on the bike and you ensure she is full and tyres are the right pressure etc.
They will announce riders briefing. This is normally around 07:15. The place is packed with riders from all over the country.
By this time you hopefully would have walked the track to check for any changes , or dangers , new lines , and basically work out whats best route for each corners or berm..this is your game plan time.
At riders briefing you will be notified of any changes to the schedule for the day.
You need to be ready in the paddock area at least 10 min before your race , normally the guys are lined up so the race before you is on the gate and you should be in the paddock area. Fuel testing is done before going to the Paddock area, no further fiddling with fuels etc–your time is over once past the paddock gates. When you wait in the paddock area , you will be called according to your last race or current log standing position to pass through the paddocks. So if you came 5th in your last race , you will be called 5th from the paddock area to select which gate you would like.
The race before you sets off and your line up engages on the gates , cleaning out any rough spots to give you a slight edge (maybe). The guys watch time and start doing final safety checks.
The previous race ends and the Marshall will do a walk past checking your helmet clip and a nod to engage that you are ready to race.
At this point,in the 50cc races , the mechanic is given an opportunity to “rev out” the motor to clean the jets etc. You will be signalled that your mechanic time is over ..no further revving and everyone must be behind the line. There is normally a marked line which only the rider and his bike may be in front of. Make sure that your mechanic or parent is not in front of that line as no further touching or changing or pushing is allowed after that point.
Parents or mechanics are not allowed in front of the gate drop drop area. You are allowed to clean up behind the gates and spit and polish behind the gates but you not allowed in front of the gates , that area belongs to the Race Marshall’s.
At this stage you should be confident that you have filled up and that your choke is off and your bike is ready for action …and you of course.
The flags will go up indicating the engagement of racing and if the Clerk of the Course is happy to continue he/she hands the course to the assistance steward who basically immediately hands to the starting girls.
This is when your 15 second board goes up. 10 seconds later the 5 second board goes up.
At this point the riders engage visual with the gates for launch for when the gate drops.
So when does the gate actually drops. Well,the rules state that from when the 5 second board goes up the countdown from 5 obviously starts but the gate can only drop after that 5 seconds but before the next 5 seconds. In other words anytime between 5 to 10 seconds after the 5 second baord went up.
At this point your adrenalin is running at peak and you launch into an experience for the next 10 to 20 min(depending on which class you riding).
During the race , there is digital timing as well as the manual lap scorers.
The leader sets the pace so if the leader laps you but you get the checkered flag just behind him -no you didn’t come second , once the leader passes the checker flag , everyone gets the checker flag but the timing identifies how many laps you have done compared to the leader.
Coming off the track becomes a nightmare, and here’s the advice most people don’t hear. Invest in a small petrol bike washer as you need to get the dirt and mud off your bike as quick as possible , not because you want a fancy looking bike , but because the mud cakes up and causes major problems apart from adding weight to the bike , gritting up the brakes , slugging down the chain , sticking on the forks and possibly scoring the seals and a host of other problems so get the dirt and mud off quickly and the only way is with a petrol washer, don’t expect electricity on site to power up the wap…you have to have a petrol one.
get your bike cleaner and a quick lube and fueled up and ready to race again.
Rest up , while you wait for your next race
The results are normally posted up about 10 to 15min after your heat so best is to check how you did on lap times as well as what position you came so you know who your closest rival is.
When races are all over , there is a jury meeting for the stewards and marshalls and clerk of the course to resolve any issues. After this period is over , prize giving will start. It’s always best to stick around and support the guys from your club , region or mates in the same riding class as you , as next time you may be standing there on the podium with no support, so support everyone alike is good sportsmanship.
Its always good to have a good attitude and not be grumpy if you didn’t get the position you wanted. Maybe that day things didn’t work out as planned ..but thats racing, some days are good , some days are bad , learn to take the good with the bad.
Note that this is only a guideline of which places were really cool and best suited for the event , and in no way is associated to or limited to Rover or anyone else , purely to help anyone trying to get more information. You not obliged to take this advice , its merely a preference of one rider who had took the time to make notes for the rest of Rover club members.
One thing we did notice is that most tracks are not as well organised with information as what Rover is. Some clubs barely have a Facebook page running let alone trying to find someone to contact to find out if the track is open for practice , so yeah , Rover is one of the top clubs in SA.
Don’t believe what you read regarding directions on other clubs web sites or Facebook pages …rather use this information as the latest and greatest and will get you there much quicker than trying to find it alone and mostly the signage is non-existent in a number of places.
Ask around among the members at Rover who has done the Nationals and find out from them about various tracks. The guys will more than willingly help with information on which tracks ride well and how to get to tracks etc.
Best advice is to make sure you read the rules for each federation so you know what is expected of you. Any misbehaviour or disobeying rules will get you disqualified from the race or season etc –so rather know the rules and abide than spend your money on nothing.
If you have a younger rider , make sure you convey the rules to them and that they understand –riding fast in the pit areas will cause problems or incorrect behaviour on the track and so forth. Rather stay on the right side of the rules than try act ignorant.
The National level racing points work the same as the Club race points
Scoring work as follows:
1st Place 25 points
2nd Place 22 points
3rd Place 20 points
4th Place 19 points
5th Place 18 points
and so forth all the way down on placing
If points are tied at the end of a race day between riders , the last race best score decides the rider position.
Example : Rider A gets 44 points and Rider B gets 44 points but Rider B finished in a better position on the last race , then Rider B gets the better position finish.
The best advice is to make sure you have the best safety gear you can afford and don’t skimp on getting any damaged safety gear fixed quickly. To fix a velcro strapping for R50 is a lot cheaper than trying to fix a rib should it come off for some reason so always take safety as a top priority
With 2017 upon us , if you going to give the Nationals a go …Go All out and GO FOR IT
Good Luck to any Rover member as we stand with our riders to go out there and do their best
When deciding on the cost >> this is what you need to consider
Travel and Accomodation / Licence / Entry Fee / Race spares / Practice Bike
Per event in 2016 , it worked out roughly R8000 to R10 000 per event outside of PE to cover all costs
If you need any information , riders can gladly contact me direct — Neville Townsend 0829902547 or Neville@trackmyride.co.za