There has been some good advice in this thread.
This was my first year club racing. I'm 50 years old and had never been on a road race track..I rode a drag bike for a couple of years. I did some research and went out to a track on a race weekend and walked around in the pits..talking to racers. I tried to start out on a limited budget..I bought a pair of race ready vintage bikes (a Honda CB-1 and a Yamaha SRX 6..combined cost of $3000). The Yamaha was ready to race and the Honda only needed a set of tires.
I had race stands and leathers..in addition to a truck and trailer. I was fortunate that I have friends where two of the tracks are located..so I stayed at their homes to avoid paying for motels. These tracks were 5 hours from my house..so gas was the largest expense next to the entry fees. I brought a cooler to the track and ate sandwiches I made myself. I did buy a set of tire warmers and a few odds and ends....I probably spent 700.00 for these items. I paid for some private lessons to see if I had the right stuff to try this sport. I decided to go for it. I completed the licensing school and ran part of the season in a class for older bikes and the over 40 age group. I would always line up at the back of the grid..and almost always finished in last or second to last. I still had fun.
My problems started when I decided I wanted to ride a Harley XR 1200. I sold the vintage bikes for what I paid for them..then basically started over..I had to race prep the Harley (which cost what I paid for the two vintage bikes)..buy a new front and rear stand, race tires etc. I still ran in the class for older bikes and the over 40 group. The second to the last race of the year I went down. I was running practice before the race and was on the track with a group of experts...I made a mistake and went out with the wrong group. Some over aggressive Valentino Rossi want to be youngster decided he needed to occupy the space I was in and clipped my front wheel...and I went down. My bike suffered around 800.00 damage..the big problem was I got hurt. I had a concussion and a broken right hand..I'm probably going to have surgey on the hand next month.
I had good health insurance..but I'm still out of pocket some money and I'm going to miss some work...my employer isn't pleased. I'm trying to decide if I want to race next year. I'm concerned about possibly getting hurt again and creating a career ending situation (the risk factor wasn't brought up in the responses).
My advice..stick with a bike which isn't going to be a drain on your finances with maintenance and tires..crashes well and has a lot of parts availability. Have some good health insurance and understand there is a risk of getting hurt. Additionally, some of the gear and items you need can be purchased for less by looking on Craigslist, Ebay Motors, and some of the classifieds of the various racing organizations. There's always someone getting out of racing and selling their stuff cheap.
Badge320 screwed with this post 12-14-2012 at 07:16 AM