top of page

What is A Motorcycle Sprint and How do I Participate?

Sprinting is one of the oldest forms of British motor sport and can be traced back to the early 1900's. Today’s sprints take place on metalled surfaces (tarmac or runways to the rest of us) and are traditionally in a straight line although there are also twisty sprints. 

The aim is to complete the course from a standing start against the clock in the shortest possible time.

Generally sprints are a 1/4-mile, but may sometimes be 1/8-mile, depending on the venue. Some events incorporate a ‘flying kilo’ (that’s 1000 metres on the end of the 1/4-mile so you go through the ‘start-lights’ at high speed to begin with!).  Some events will run dual lane instead of the normal one.

One of the most famous sprints still running is the annual Brighton Speed Trials held on the first Saturday of September. For details of how to enter click HERE

The Sprint: Straight or Twisty?

Today's sprints use sophisticated timing equipment and tend to run a straight-line 1/4 or 1/8 mile on a runway or similar. Flat out start to finish!!

There are also twisty-sprints where the rider has to deal with the odd corner or three as well as a bit of a blast on a short straight. (The use of the brakes can be a distinct advantage!)

For those who want to have a go at a gradient, the NHCA run Hill climbs  which are similar to twisty sprints. It's not uncommon to see VMCC members at NHCA events too.

The Bikes

The type of machines that are used are solely down to the rider, you can have a concourse lightweight single with girder forks or a twin-engined supercharged nitro-burner, a (ex) circuit-racer or your road-going hack, there's a category that you'll fit into. Some events are fortunate to have NO noise regs!!! Whether you have an old motorcycle, new motorcycle, Nostalgia drag bike rider we have a class for you. All are welcome!

Please note that machines have to pass ACU scrutineering - See HERE for more details about some changes to the regs that have affected our riders since 2013.

The Riders

You can start from the tender age of 11 (but this does limit the machine type you can use!), and we have competitors well into their 80's still thrashing their bike on a Sunday afternoon! In short, we welcome young riders and young at heart riders!

Where are Sprints held?

Anywhere that has a suitable riding surface and braking area.  Typically ex RAF runways or similar. Certain events are un-silenced, so the noise impact on the local environment will be taken into account when choosing a venue. Competitors are informed if the event is ‘silenced’ beforehand.

How do I start Sprinting?

Quiet easily really!  You’ll need:

  • A suitable bike and the owner’s permission to use it!! (see below).

  • Some racing numbers.

  • A competition license, bought annually from the ACU or a one event license bought on the day of the event.

  • Your entry fee paid.

  • Membership of the VMCC, this can be done on a daily basis at the event or as a member of an invited club

  • One-piece or zip together two-piece leathers, suitable helmet, gloves and boots.

  • To pass the Technical Verification, scrutineering to you and I, for both machine and clothing.

  • A sense of adventure!

What sort of bike should I use?

Well that’s really up to you.  We cater for almost any bike from concours to circuit-racer, small 2 stroke single to double-engined supercharged nitro burners, girder forked to teles, factory made to home made.  So long as it passes the technical verification, it’s OK.  Although we’re a ‘Vintage’ club we cater for ‘modern’ machinery too.

How much is all this going to cost me?

Sprinting is one of the most cost effective forms of competitive motorcycle racing. Cost of petrol to get there aside, it won’t break the bank! Annual VMCC membership is about £37.00 (Under 18 = £12.00).

A year’s license from the ACU costs about £55.00, or alternatively, you can even buy a one-event license which costs £10.00, and day VMCC membership for £3.00.

We do not make large amounts of money from event entry fees, as the price you pay goes towards  hire of the venue, relevant insurance’s, the paramedic and ambulance for the day, portable toilets and upkeep of the timing equipment etc. That said, our fees for most sprints are between £55 to £70 (not including Brighton Speed trials).

What are the classes for bikes / riders?

Our full list of racing classes are as follows:

1.  Junior – Subject to ACU SR’s

2.  Up to 50cc Racing Solo

3.  51-125cc Racing Solo

4.  26-250cc Racing Solo

5.  251-350cc Racing Solo

6.  351-500cc Racing Solo

7.  501-750cc Racing Solo

8.  751-1000cc Racing Solo

9.  1001-1300cc Racing Solo

10.  1301-2000cc Racing Solo

11.Over 2000cc Un-blown

12. 0-500cc 3 Wheel

13.501-1000cc 3 Wheel

14.1001-2000cc 3 Wheel

15.Over 2000cc 3 Wheel

16.Vintage to 30-12-1945

17.Post War to 30-12-1960

18.Scooters to 250cc

19.0-125cc Road Legal

20.126-250cc Road Legal

21.251-400cc Road Legal

22.401-600cc Road Legal

23.601-900cc Road Legal

24.Over 900cc Road Legal

25.Super Street Unlimited

25.60-72 Racing Solo to 500

26.60-72 Racing Solo Unlimited

What ages can you participate from / to?

Unlike the days when George Brown was famously told that he was “Too old to ride in record attempts” at the grand old age of 65, these days we work to the ACU handbook guidelines (sprint section 2.4) which state the following:

Age     Licence         Capacity of Machine

8         Clubman        50cc Automatic machine

11       Clubman        up to 125cc Production scooter (automatic)

12       Clubman        up to 125cc Production, up to 250 single cylinder 4 stroke production machine (restricted)

13       National         up to 125cc GP machine, up to 250 single cylinder 4 stroke machine (unrestricted)

14       Clubman        up to 500cc twin Cylinder, 4 Stroke Production Machines

15       National         up to 500cc twin Cylinder, 4 Stroke Production Machines

16       and over        No restrictions

Juniors are restricted to other conditions - (See also section 2.4 of ACU sprint regs).

Important notice regarding younger participants

If a participant is under 18 years of age he/she must be accompanied to every meeting by

their Parent or Legal Guardian. The Parent or Legal Guardian must attend signing on

with the competitor and be available for the duration of the meeting.

Also we require a parental consent form signing.

Basic info’ on safety and technical verification.

For the safety of all, machines are required to conform to certain standards as prescribed by the ACU (details are in the ACU handbook issued free to those purchasing a yearly licence). The ACU has the handbook on line, so CLICK HERE to check that your machine is up to spec. regarding information like ball end’s on all levers, details of foot rests, catch tanks etc etc.

Each machine is technical verified by a qualified person prior to being allowed to compete to ensure it falls within certain criteria.  For example, the throttle self closes the wheel bearings and tyre conditions are suitable, the brakes function correctly. We also have a page with tips HERE.

Riders’ clothing is also checked.

An ambulance and crew plus a paramedic are at each event. The event will not run without them.

The Clerk of the Course takes responsibility for the safe running of the event (again one of the unpaid VMCC members who does it for the sport).

Want More Info?

CLICK HERE to contact us

664 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page