How to start out in Mod Bike
Have you ever considered drag racing your bike ?
Maybe you’ve attended a few Whoop Arse Wednesdays for some social laps to compare time slips with your mates. This is a great way to safely test your machine and yourself in a legal and low pressure environment.
If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to take it to the next level and step up to fair dinkum, proper drag racing, then you should read on because I’m going to give you a rundown on just how easy it is to get started in racing.
1, You don’t need a drag bike to race in Modified (Mod) Bike.
Contrary to what you might think, you don’t need to spend a fortune to race, and win, if you want to go drag racing on a bike. You certainly don’t need a specialised race bike to get started. In fact, what you have in the shed might already get you on the track.
If you and your bike can run under the class cut off of 11.99 seconds, then you are fast enough and can be competitive.
For example, local racer Paul McNamara used a bone stock Kawasaki ZX12R to win three WA Modified Bike track championships in recent years. On top of this, Paul took home the 2015/16 Rider of the Year award for being the most successful racer at the Perth Motorplex from all three bike classes for that season.
Bryan Finn, two time (and current) back to back Australian National Drag Racing Association (ANDRA) National Modified Bike Champion also took out both titles on what is essentially a stock Honda CB1300.
Sure, you can spend as much as you like on your race bike, but the handicap system in Modified Bike means you can compete against all budgets, even on a stock bike just like Paul and Bryan.
2, So, what is Modified Bike?
The ANDRA Rulebook (the rules we race under in WA) describes it perfectly.
“Modified Bike is the bracket racing or “dial your own” handicap equivalent of Competition Bike, covering classes from supercharged competition only bikes to street ridden machines with little or no modifications. It’s the perfect entry level for motorcycle competitors”
The term “bracket racing” is the key, setting your own dial in means you can compete against the fastest bike in the field or the slowest bike in the field. Being able to cut a good reaction time and run close to your dial in is where it’s at, not scorching the earth with a million horsepower drag bike.
It’s not who has the quickest or most expensive race bike, the dial your own system evens the playing field and anyone can win.
3, How do I get started?
With regulations for bikes and safety gear under constant review, the specific rules and requirements must be checked on the ANDRA website at the time you decide to get involved.
But at a basic level, you’ll need…
A bike (well duh) Preferably the one you already own. It needs to be in good repair and pass scrutineering at the track, if you’ve already done Wednesday nights on it and it passed then, chances are it’ll pass now. You may want to invest in some tie down straps for the forks and a set of adjustable lowering links to lower the rear suspension if you run a monoshock type rear. These items will help but it’s not a cost you need to incur right away.
You’ll need a race number which comes with your ANDRA race license (more on that later) and a way to write your dial in time on the right hand side of the bike (try Ballisticperformanceparts.com.au for a dial in board) or you can use a white marker as long as it can be read easily. You’ll also need to mark your bike with the class you’ll be racing in. These classes look like this.
Prefix 4 Cylinder
A/MB 1061cc and over
B/MB 801cc to 1060cc
C/MB 641cc to 800cc
D/MB Up to 640cc
Prefix Triple Cylinder
A/MB 1101cc and over
B/MB 901cc to 1100cc
C/MB 721cc to 900cc
D/MB Up to 720cc
Prefix Twin Cylinder
A/MB 1201cc and over
B/MB 1001cc to 1200cc
C/MB 801cc to 1000cc D/MB Up to 800cc
If you’re lucky enough to have some sort of supercharging (supercharged, turbo or nitrous) then you double the Prefix.
Eg: your mad Turbo Busa will be AA/MB or your nitrous 600cc R6 will be DD/MB.
Specific locations and sizes for numbers and markings are in the ANDRA rulebook, but generally, you need your race numbers loud and clear on both the front and the right hand side of the bike with you dial in number on the right side also, so they’re clearly visible from the control tower.
You don’t need to look like a Power Ranger to be compliant, but you do need the right gear. To ensure you are compliant, go to ANDRA.com.au, look for the TECHNICAL tab and download the rulebook. This will fill you in helmet safety standards and the type of riding gear that is acceptable.
*Cost saving tip* You may already have a suitable leather jacket. A pair of leather riding pants can be purchased at a reasonable price and a specialist leather shop like Reids Bootmakers in Victoria Park can install zips to make it into a compliant two piece race suit.
You’ll need an ANDRA license. In Mod Bike, for an unmodified bike running slower than 9.50’s ¼ mile, or any other bike running slower than 10.00’s ¼ mile, you can use a Super Street license. This is obtained via ANDRA and all the forms are located on the ANDRA.com.au website under the COMPETITOR tab. Once you get your race license, you will be issued a race number, this will need to be marked on your bike in accordance with the ANDRA rulebook (which you’ll receive with your license).
Technical inspection Unmodified motorcycles can run as quick as 9.50’s without requiring a technical inspection.
But a Technical Inspection is mandatory for any modified motorcycle running quicker than 10.00’s ¼ mile or any motorcycle with a modified swingarm (including bolt in extensions), frame or brakes. This is easily organised via ANDRA and relatively cheap.
Perth Motorplex log in Register on the Perth Motorplex webpage. Entries are done via the Motorplex website and it’s important to know when the cut off dates are for entries as the cost goes up if you enter late. The cut off dates are on the Competitors page for each event.
That’s about it, you’re ready to go.
4, What else do I need ? You may be required to do some licensing passes before you can compete, these can be done during qualifying and once you’re signed off by the ANDRA Stewards at the track, you will be able to join the main qualifying and race. You may also choose to use one of the occasional test and tune days to do your licensing.
I highly recommend you bring shade, tools you may need, some chairs and fluids (non-alcoholic of course). If you ride down, give someone a crew ticket and crew parking pass and get them to bring the gear along for you. Be sun smart.
Tools can usually be borrowed, within reason, until you get yourself set up. Nobody expects you to turn up to your first race meeting with a fully equipped race transporter.
5, What do I do when I get there You’ll likely be pitted amongst other Mod Bike racers so there will be no shortage of advice on what to do and where to go on your first meeting. Don’t be afraid to ask for someone to guide you through the process. Pit allocations are published on the website prior to race meetings so you know where to pit.
If you are interested in joining the ranks of Modified Bike and want to know more, you can contact this webpage and a WADRA bike racer will be happy to provide you with advice.
Alternatively, you can contact ANDRA through their website or by phone and they will also provide you advice, they are our sanctioning body and it’s very much their priority to encourage new racers.
6, Final Word If you’re thinking about it, do it. This sport is family and team oriented and racers are always happy to give advice or lend a hand if they have time. You will make new friends and be a part of the fastest motorsport on the planet that many people only ever get to see from the outside.