New Racer Guide
This guide provides most of the things you need to know for entering your first race. This may not answer all your questions but you can contact any Series Officer to get more information. This guide does not cover race craft or tell you how win your class but it will help make your first race go smooth and keep you safe. Staying safe is a top priority of the series.
Homework Before You Race
Know the Rules
Read the AHSCS Rulebook. The Rules govern all race events and provide information on how to follow the racecourse.
Know the Race Day Schedule
- 8:00 AM Bike Sign-Up Opens
- 8:15 AM Moto #1 – Pee Wee practice then race 15 min
- 9:00 AM Moto #2 – Kids Practice then race 30 min
- 10:00 AM Moto #3 – Junior/Women practice then race 45 min.
- Practice & Rider’s meeting for long course is optional for each promoter
- 12:30 PM Moto #4 – Long Course RACE (2 hours)
*Itinerary subject to change and is at the discretion of the promoter and shall be
based on weather and/or course conditions. In the event the itinerary is changed,
at least 24 hour notice will be posted.
Understand the Classes
Read the Guide to the Advancement Percentile (AP). The AP is a benefit of the MotoTally Scoring System used by the Series. Series classes are not based on the engine size of the race bike. Instead they are based on the talent and ability of the racer. The AP helps Registration and Scoring Staff ensure fair competition among all our racers. A basic understanding of the Advancement Percentile may help you choose which race class you want to enter for your first race. Obviously, if this is your very first race with the Series you do not have an AP baseline established. Nonetheless knowing a little about the AP will help your understand your race results and the class you might wish to enter for your next race.
Choose Your Entry
Decide if you want to try one race or if you want to compete in several races for series points?
If you want to try racing just once you can complete this registration form and bring it with you on race day to sign up. You will be scored for the race but will not receive any series points. Be forewarned, racing is addictive, after you’ve tried it once there’s a good chance you’ll race again.
If you want to become a member and compete for series points then complete this membership form and also complete the online registration form. You MUST bring your helmet with you to sign up on race day to receive a transponder and have your entry verified in the scoring system. Series members receive a $5 discount on race fees.
Series membership and race registration forms are available at race sign up and you can become a member and enter your class on race day. Preparing entry and membership forms beforehand will just make race day a little smoother.
Hare Scramble racing is an endurance event that is physically demanding. Races last over two hours. Racers need to be in good physical condition to withstand the rigor of the course over the two-hour period. Exercise and fitness will help you enjoy your first race. Prepare Your Gear Basic riding gear is essential for your safety when you are racing past trees at speed. Boots and a helmet are required. Other protective gear such as; goggles, gloves, knee, elbow and roost (chest) guards are recommended. Some racers also wear knee and neck braces. Racers often wear hydration backpack systems so they can drink during the race to stay hydrated. These are filled with water or sports drinks and are also useful to carry small tools.
Prepare Your Bike
There are numerous online guides about preparing your race bike. These tips are not required but will help. A good set of hand (brush) guards for your handlebars will protect your hands. Woods racers also equip their bikes with a durable skid plate. Of course other basic maintenance should be done well before race day. You will want to do oil and air filter checks or changes, check coolant and oil levels and go over the race bike to make sure nuts and bolts are tight.
Prepare Your Budget
Plan ahead if you want to pay Series Membership, Gate, Race and Transponder fees all on the same day. Membership Fee $25 (before February) + Race Fee $35 + Gate Fee (per person) $5 + Transponder fee $5 = $65. (Members receive 1 transponder free) The point is the small bits all add up. Race promoters also offer other amenities such as food, beverages and t-shirts on race day so you may wish to bring extra cash. The point is the small bits all add up.
Make Your Checklist
There’s nothing worse than arriving to a race and missing something. Your racing checklist might include: Bike, tire pump, air gauge, tools, all your protective gear, fuel can with fuel, hydration pack, water or sports drinks, and anything else you might need.
Race Day Routine
On race day, arrive early so you can beat the crowd and give yourself some time to relax and take it all in. Gates usually open at 7:00. The gate worker can point you to race registration.
Once inside find a good parking spot then head right for the registration location. It is usually a canopy alongside the track near the entrance. There will be a table with blank sign up and membership sheets. If you pre-printed these forms bring those instead.
Sign up information sheet; remember to put your series racing number on the sheet, so we can track your series points. If you don’t have a number for the first race, the scoring personnel will help you choose one that has not already been taken. Once you are a member, that number is yours for the rest of the year unless you make a class change.
Temporary numbers will be given out for your first two events. Permanent numbers really help everyone involved. ALL THREE NUMBER PLATES MUST SHOW THE CORRECT NUMBER OR YOU DON’T RACE.
The entry fee will be listed on the sign up sheet beside the class you are racing. Take your sign up sheet and money to the scoring personnel. If you have not picked a class they can help you pick a class and answer any questions. They will activate a transponder, show you where to place it on your helmet, and explain how it works. The transponder tracks your time for each lap. There will be other racing going on before the main event. If you’d like to be spectator, you are more than welcome to watch. If you have any questions find a series officer or the sign up staff.
Plan a Pit Stop
After you have signed up you might want to choose a pit stop spot. Your pit stop can be just off the racecourse where you can get to it during the race and still be out of the path of other racers. You can stash an extra set of goggles, gloves, and your gas can at your pit stop. These may come in handy. If you have a small fuel tank you can refuel and continue racing. If you are uncertain of your fuel usage plan a trail ride in advance of the race and ride continuously for two hours, then check your tank to judge whether you might need to refuel during a race. A pit stop may not be necessary during the race but if you need one it’s good to have one planned in advance.
If there is a practice lap, you can go to the starting area and start from there. When you exit the starting area, just follow the arrows around the track. Take it slow and learn all you can about the track. There may hard or easier lines in certain locations. The hard lines will almost always save time if you have the ability to make it through that section. The easy lines will always get you safely around a difficult obstacle. Make sure you are back in time for the rider’s meeting!
The riders meeting will explain special information that you will need to know about that particular event. Be sure to attend and pay attention to what is being announced. The riders meeting is usually held on the starting line before the race.
Find Your Starting Row
The class you should line up in will be posted on a small sign marking each row. Find your row and line up there. AHSCS races are dead engine starts but there are small differences in procedure from race to race. There are two types of starts; 1) roll-forward where each class rolls forward to the beginning row after each successive row starts and shuts down the engine and then waits to start, or 2) row starts where the entire row stays at the same row where they lined up and starts from there. This means the later classes have a longer straightaway for their race start. For both procedures all engines will be shut off, and each row is started one minute apart. When the starter moves the flag racers start their engines and take off. The rider’s meeting will provide information on how the start is done. Just watch the rows ahead of you to learn what to do.
During the Race
The race runs exactly two hours from the time the first row starts, not two hours per class. So, if you start five minutes after the first row, it is possible that your race could last one hour and fifty-five minutes if you come in exactly at that time. This seldom happens. Most riders end up riding about two hours and ten minutes to as much as two hours forty minutes depending on track length and when you came through on your last lap. Unlike a sprint race where you ride near 100% effort a Hare Scramble drawn out over two hours is better ridden at 80%. You will need the energy for the drive home. Courses will have a variety of terrain and challenges. The course will feature a variety of flat, steep, open and tight sections.
Once on course you will pass and be passed by other racers. Here are some insights for passing on course in tight single-track sections. If you are closing on a much slower rider in a different class, you can whoop, holler or rev your motor to signal that you are faster. This signal lets the slower rider look ahead to find room for a pass. If you hear a faster rider closing on you from behind and they signal for a pass then choose a safe line ahead to give the faster rider a safer opportunity for passing. If you can’t find room right away, maintain your speed until you find some room and move over. You do not need to stop, just give the faster rider a little room and they will pass. Often you will hear a faster racer yell, “Thanks!” when they pass.
The scoring gate will show a monitor with your race number and the race time remaining. Each time you roll through the scoring gate look at the time remaining. If there is time remaining you can complete another lap. When no time remains the scoring staff will wave the checkered flag as you roll through the scoring gate. The race is over. Congratulations, you have conquered a race!
After the Race
Once all the riders are in (usually about 20 minutes after the race ends), the results are calculated. The results are posted, a horn is honked, and there is a 15-minute protest period. This allows riders to look for mistakes in the scoring or possibly a competitor that did not choose to ride the entire course. After the protest period, awards are presented. Each promoter gives different amounts of awards at each race for each class. If you have any questions a Series Officer, Scoring Staff or you can ask just about anyone you see. AHSCS is one big family and everyone loves to help others.
Other Things to Remember
We try to keep our tracks and pits safe for all riders and spectators. Some tracks offer overnight camping. To keep things safe for everyone, the pit area requires very slow operation of motorcycles and vehicles.
Always remember that children are playing all around the area and are sometimes hard to see. We hope you will come give us a try and become a part of the Arkansas Hare Scramble Family.
If you find racing to be fun, maybe you should experience the fun of helping with the set up of a race. The entire organization is made up of volunteers. Volunteers who do it for the love of the sport set up races. If you see one tell them thanks and offer to volunteer.