Been thinking about making the move from being a hobby rider or driver to getting involved in a bit of competitive motorsport? We say, the time is now! Here’s the least you need to know to get started in the fast and furious world of motorsport racing…
No doubt you’re already firmly in the motor car or motorbike camp, but know this: whichever your favourite form of motorsport, you’re going to be in for quite an investment – in time, money and energy – so be prepared to dig deep. Auto racing generally requires a more substantial investment than bike riding, and dirt bikes often offer would-be racers somewhat lower barriers to entry than circuit bike racing. So, as with most things in life, budget determines all!
Here’s a super-speedy rundown of just some of the types of motorsport waiting for you to give ‘em a go…
The Motor Sports Association of the United Kingdom describes circuit racing as racing vehicles wheel-to-wheel on a race track. In South Africa, these vehicles include saloon cars, single seaters, historic racing cars and circuit motorcycles. Pop over to the Motorsport South Africa website for more info.
Seen as the gateway to higher forms of auto racing, go karting is an excellent place for future racing champs to start. Karts are described as small ‘open wheel’ vehicles, and in South Africa both juniors and adults can compete in age categories with appropriate vehicles – see the Karting in SA website for more…
It’s a sport like no other, boasts Rally America, featuring the best all-round race car drivers on the planet! An extreme test of skill, speed and endurance, rallies can take place over several days and cover hundreds of kilometres, over hill and dale, across rivers and on roads, public or private, in all weather conditions. Rallying requires a co-driver or navigator – best not your mother-in-law!
Some say it’s the world’s fastest growing motorsport – taking place on a closed mixed-surface racing surface, it’s sprint-style racing which makes for an exciting spectacle. See the FIA World Rallycross website to see rallycross cars in action…
Currently, there is no local rallycross series (although this could be changing soon), but Cape Town is a destination on the FIA World RX Tour.
A hugely popular sport both in this country and internationally, it’s a thrilling sport for riders and spectators alike – with riders competing over a gruelling closed off-road circuit. Motorcross is open to children as young as four to adults – Motocross South Africa details their various categories here, and provides other hints to get riders of all ages started in the sport.
One of the earliest forms of motorsport, drag racing has its origins in 1930s California, where so-called hot rods were raced head-to-head over short distances on roads or airfields. Thankfully, this sport is now safer and better regulated, and provides competitors with fast-as-lightning fun. But remember, folks, keep your drag racing off the roads and on the track!
Not to be confused with rallies, which are run over point-to-point courses, enduro motorbike racing involves time-keeping – riders are timed between certain checkpoints along a racecourse, and are required to complete these sections within a specified time, i.e. riders need to keep up a prescribed mile per hour average. This type of riding tests speed, skill, fitness and endurance.
Combine your love of auto-racing and classic cars! Historic motorsport is instrumental in preserving the heritage of classic car models, and is festive, friendly and fun. Historic Racing South Africa offers various racing categories including Historic Production Cars and Historic Saloon Cars – mosey on over to their website to suss out what they do.
In South Africa, motorsport is controlled and administered by Motorsport South Africa (MSA), in accordance with the Sporting Codes of the Féderation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and the Féderation Internationale de Motorcylisme (FIM). MSA offers this advice to motorsport newbies:
MSA has informative ‘Getting Started’ guides for each motorsport category – see their website to download these handy documents.
ACCELERATE Special Gasoline is a high-performance fuel for use by high performance vehicles, like racing and classic cars and bikes.
NOTE: Make sure you’re familiar with your particular motorsport’s rules and regulations pertaining to fuel type and use.