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Classic Bike RacingRacing Licences for Motorcycles

On the ACU website, they state that a Competition Licence (or Registration in the case of Trials) is required by every rider and passenger participating in any competition held under the National Sporting Code of the ACU. They also remind you that it is your responsibility to ensure that you not only have the relevant licence type for the competition you are entering, but it must also be valid (they operate on a calendar year).

This shows that, as with classic car racing, classic motorcycle racing incurs the need for different licences depending on what you are looking to do. The ACU have information covering the many different licences that may be required and their restrictions. For example, someone over the age of 18 is unlimited on the engine capacity of their competition bike with anything but a novice licence, but there are many limitations on engine capacity for those younger, depending on age and licence type.

Road Rallies are pretty much the only motorsport governed by the ACU that doesn’t require a competition licence or club membership. This makes it the easiest to start with. However, don’t let the need for an ACU Competition Licence put you off. They are not overly complicated, they can be very useful in improving your riding – plus some events such as Hill Climbs can be entered with the most basic competition licence (Clubman), even if it does limit you with engine capacity.

You will find that many forms of motorsport will require competitors to complete a classroom based Competitor Training Course (CTC), which can be booked via the ACU.

Most licences applications will cost between £20 and £50 and will require a medical report from your doctor.

The ACU provides all the detail on all of the requirements, but the following provides a basic idea of the licence types.


The very first rung of the ladder. This is your entry level licence, which will allow you to compete in a limited number of event types. This level is for beginners that may not even hold a Full Class “A” DVLA licence yet. Some race types will require you to wear a bright orange vest to show your novice level.

Intermediate Novice

This is the same as novice, but riders will have obtained a Full Class “A” DVLA licence. Don’t worry, you still get to wear the orange vest!


For those looking to enter competitions such as Sprints or Hill Climbs, you can make this your entry level licence.

For Road Racing however, you would need to work up from one of the Novice licences. Having started with novice or Intermediate Novice, you will have to achieve signatures from at least 10 separate race days at three different tracks in a three year period. To gain the signatures you need to have reached a minimum level of performance, such as successfully completing the race within 110% of the winner’s time (for a Road race).


This is the main licence level to cover you for most national motorsport competitions. You will have to show a minimum level of performance and activity in your racing field over a set period of time at a clubman level to gain your National Competition Licence.


For those national licence holders that have reached minimum standards/activity under their current licence may be able to upgrade to international status.

FIM International Licences

These are the top level licences for those competing on an international stage. They are issued for FIM world championships.

Trials Registration

To compete in Trails you do not need a competitive licence as such, but you do need to register (only about £10) with the ACU specifically for Trials.

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