Considering Super Moto next summer.
Best overall place for info:
Where do you ride / race or practice?
RA Briggs & Stratton Motorplex: (~3 hrs N from Chicago) http://www.roadamerica.com/Competito...nMotorplex.asp
One of the best and longest running Kart/SM tracks in the country. There are 2 big weekend races there each year combining the NWGP and SBKII series. They have open practices on Wednesdays, and various weekend practice events throughout the year.
USA Internatioanl Raceway (Shawano, WI): (~4 hrs N from Chicago):
(they changed hands recently and their website doesn't seem to be active)
The coolest track in the area, but a bit of a drive. With the new management, it has been a pretty open track. Basically just call ahead, and you can probably come out and ride. NWGP usually has 3 or 4 race events there each year.
Sugar River Raceway: Brodhead, WI(~45 min NW of Rockford) http://sugarriverraceway.com/
Smallish track, but probably the closest to most in Chicago area.
They typically have practices the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month thru the summer. NWGP usually runs 1 or 2 races a year there.
Badger Kart Club: Dousman, WI (~2.5 hrs NW of Chicago)
Another fairly small track, and we haven't been having a lot of luck getting track time there. The NWGP guys have been working to keep it going, but not sure what next year holds at this point.
What are the typical class structures when picking a bike?
The above 2 organizations (SBK2 & NWGP) run the races in the area. NWGP is pavement only, SBK2 runs with a dirt section.
As Ed mentioned, a 250 or 450 4 stroke is a great place to start and Supermotojunkie is a great place to find a bike already set up rather than spending the money to set one up yourself. If you want something that you can also ride on the street, also consider a DRZ400. They are a bit heavy and slow for the track, but it is a platform that many have started from, and both Orgs let them run with the 250 class bikes.
What are the typical costs?
Practice day costs range from $25-$40 depending on the track.
Race day costs are usually around $60-100 also depending on the org and whether you pre-enter or not.
What do I need to know?
On your first day riding the dirt section with slicks, you will need to recalibrate how much front brake you grab. Or you will be reminded painfully.
What should I not worry about?
Lack of riding time or being too slow that you will get in the way. The groups are generally very laid back and everyone is respectful. It is not unusual to go to one of the RA weekend events and have 8-10 bikes there including absolute beginners and past national champions. Example:
Enjoy! Hope to see you out there (which means I need to make it out as well)!