Welcome to the Classic and Modern 50 Racing Club beginners guide !

Maybe you'd like to race 50cc machines yourself, watch the club members race, or join the club and help us keep classic 50cc racing alive and innovate modern machinery. Whichever option you choose this guide will help you to understand a little more about our club and help you to "get racing" as soon as possible!

We hope this guide will give you all the guidance you need but don't hesitate to contact a club member if you need help, we like to think it's the friendliest road racing club in the country, and we're always keen to help. You'll find a list of contacts on the contacts page, so don't be shy, get in touch we will be glad to help you.

Beginner’s Guide to Classic 50cc Racing

What exactly is "Classic" 50cc Racing ?

Grand Prix 50cc motorcycle road racing was a specific class of racing that existed as a world championship event between the years 1961 to 1983. The classic 50cc racing club exists to recreate that specific golden era of ultra light weight racing, which took place on all the major grand prix circuits, including the Isle of Man TT, and also at local "club racing" level.

So what's so special about the bikes then?

All of the bikes that the club members race, conform to a specific set of club rules which you can see on the technical page, but in essence the engines are all 50cc capacity or under and the machines represent those raced up to 1983.

The frame, running gear, fairing, and mechanical components of the bike reflect the general shapes and technology of the 50cc racing bikes of the era 1961 t0 1983.

In other words, modern aluminium frames are not allowed, and the engines have to conform to the clubs strict technical rules.

How powerful are the bikes?

All of the engines used in our classic machines have essentially been taken from mopeds which started life at around 4 horsepower, however in order to make them into competitive racing machines they have been modified and tuned to deliver anything from 8 horsepower up to as much as 22 horsepower.

Generally most of the machines you will see racing with our club deliver about 15 horsepower or thereabouts.

How fast do they go ?

At the short circuits we race at here in the U.K. average race speeds vary from about 45 M.P.H. for the very slowest bikes to over 65 M.P.H. for the fastest bikes, but remember that's average speed. For the fastest bikes top speeds can be in excess of 90 M.P.H. on the long straights ! That's pretty exiting stuff on such lightweight machines !

For example the lap record at Tonfanau race circuit is over 63 M.P.H. and at Aberdare park over 59 M.P.H.  !

And that's pretty good for moped engines only designed to carry you at 30 M.P.H maximum!

How much do the bikes weigh?

Well that depends on what engine and frame type is used but the machines are ultra light weight construction, and all unnecessary weight is removed leaving a bike which can be easily lifted clear of the ground by any reasonably strong person.

For example club member Ian Cowley’s Yamaha pictured here to the right at Aberdare park, weighs just under 55Kg, not un-typical of championship winning machines like this one.

Where can I see the 50cc club racing ?

The club regularly races at Mallory Park, Lydden Hill in Kent, Tonfanau and Aberdare Park circuits in Wales, and at Darley Moor near Chesterfield in Derbyshire, but see our “what’s on” page for a list of the events we’ll be attending this year.

The racing results at these circuits contribute to the club championship.

Some club members also travel abroad to Europe where 50cc racing is very popular, and the club takes part in races on the Isle of Man where 50cc club racing is making a big comeback!

So how do I start racing then ?

Well your first step should be to join the Classic And Modern 50 Racing Club so you can be in touch with all the current goings on in 50cc racing and have access to help from all the club members. You'll also get free access to our web forum where you can exchange ideas and get advice on the web.  You can join the club by visiting the “how to join” page.

The next and of course most essential thing you're going to need is a bike! Sadly Classic 50cc race bikes can't be bought directly from the shops so you're either going to have to make one or buy one second

hand, either from a club member or perhaps on the web. Fortunately race bikes come up for sale fairly frequently and usually they are advertised in the club newsletter or in the for sale section on this site and on the forum.

If you're going to build a bike yourself don't forget it will have to conform to the clubs' rules to be able to race and compete with us in the club.  Don't build anything until you have contacted one of the clubs technical committee first. After that any of the club members will be happy to advise you what you need and where to look for it and some may even be able to provide parts or engineering services to help you get going, like frame building, bespoke parts, special fairings and engine tuning for example.

Once you have your bike you'll need to decide just how you want to take part.

If you want to just parade your bike or take part in hill climbs and the like you probably won't need a competition licence, but if you intend to take part in competition racing then you'll need to join the ACU ( Auto Cycle Union ) and apply for a competition licence. These days that involves taking a short 1 day course but it's easy really.

For any event you'll need some way to get your bike to the track, which might involve using a trailer or van, but 50cc bikes are so small that some members take their bikes to the track in an estate car, or stowed on the back of a saloon car using a special rack!

Some races can be two day events, but even the one day events start early in the morning with compulsory bike safety scrutineering taking place in the early morning so some means of camping equipment is usually needed too.

To race you'll need a one piece leather suit, boots gloves and an ACU approved helmet.

So how much does it all cost then ?

Make no mistake motorcycle racing is not a cheap hobby by any measure but Classic and Modern 50cc racing is probably amongst the cheapest.

A reasonable second-hand Classic bike to get started with will probably cost anything between £500 to £1500 depending on its condition, state of tune and race record. To build a bike from scratch will probably cost you a lot more than that, and take many many months to get into racing shape.

Leathers, boots, and gloves can be bought second hand and could cost as little as £150. Helmets, certainly the most important piece of safety equipment can be bought second hand but a new one would be recommended and one suitable for racing will start at about £100

Costs for ACU membership can be found on the web and don't forget there will be a one off cost for the ACU training course.

Race meetings cost anything from £70 upwards to enter for a days racing, and hill climbs will be slightly cheaper generally.

Racing membership of our club currently costs £20 for the year, which gives you regular updates and access to all the clubs resources.

So who should I contact first if I want to get involved?

Your first point of contact should be with either our club chairman or vice chairman who will be happy to talk to you tell you exactly how to join the club and point you in the right direction as regards buying bikes and getting started.

You can contact any of the club officials on the telephone or via email and a list of contact details is given on the contacts page.

And finally………….

We hope this guide has given you all the enthusiasm you need to start 50cc racing and answered most of your queries, however if you have anything else you need to know don't hesitate to get in touch.

The club is one of the friendliest in any racing paddock and we welcome young and old alike. Our youngest racing member is just 16 years old and our oldest racing member is well over 70 years old.

We are always keen to find new members to swell the numbers on the starting grid, and the more there are, the more fun we have. We all help each other in the paddock and even the racing is good natured, so come on….join us and have a really  great time.

What exactly is "Modern" 50cc Racing ?

In 2018 the club will be introducing a Modern 50cc class which will allow pretty much any 50cc machine to race along with us. We introduced this concept as this idea is very popular on the continent and we raced very successfully with modern machinery in the A.C.U. Championship in 2017. It also takes forward the concept of minimal capacity racing into the 21st century with more easily available machinery, for example Club Member Bradley Wilsons machine on the left