When planning your first day at the motocross track, you'll probably feel more confident if you know what you're doing. While experience will lead to the skill level you want to achieve, you've got to start somewhere, right? Here are five tips for making sure your first practice is a success.
Spend a Day Observing
Before you do anything, spend a day at the track as an observer, without your bike. Learn the layout of the staging area and how they do things, where and how they practice, and their methods of getting on and off the track.
When race or practice day comes up, you'll also want to observe as much as you can before hitting the track, and make sure you know where to go when it's time to start. This will eliminate a lot of your insecurities before your race begins.
Practice the Right Way
You've had your chance to observe the track. Now it's time to practice. Use that time wisely by familiarizing yourself with the track while on your bike. Learn the layout of the start—does it run the length or the width of the stadium or track? Also, familiarize yourself with the turns, angles, and jumps. Know where the rough sections are and where riders tend to lose control.
Most importantly, don't be a show-off or ride aggressively. Take your time and do your best to get a feel for things. Most riders who are aggressive when they practice don't perform as well as others on race day.
Bring the Right Kind of Bike
You may own a trail bike that needs to be modified for motocross, but some manufacturers are now offering two distinctly different bikes: one for the trail and one for the track. Whatever you do, don't make the mistake of bringing a trail bike to the race.
What's the difference? On the surface, they look very similar, and in many ways, they perform the same. But when it comes down to it, you're doing motocross because you care about winning a race, not breezing along a fun trail.
A motocross bike should be lighter than a trail bike. It lacks a kickstand and headlights, uses a smaller fuel tank, and it should have a suspension that is tuned to handle the rough bumps of a track. To give yourself more power at the start, change out the sprockets and reduce the number of teeth. In general, if you want to boost your acceleration, use a small front sprocket and a large rear sprocket.
Use the Right Safety Gear
Don't be tough on this one. Properly protecting yourself is vital for both practice and race day. You don't have to spend a lot of money, and if your budget is very limited and you can only invest in one thing, make sure it's a helmet. Just remember, your bones will heal, but your head is much more susceptible to long-term damage. Aside from a helmet, you should also shoot for the following:
- Chest protection
- Knee braces
- Riding attire
Most of the above is self-explanatory, but if you're wondering what kind of advantages come with the right riding attire, they tend to be resistant to ripping and tearing, and they usually have padding around your knees and elbows. Some brands are made of a material that pulls the moisture away from your skin, keeping you cool and dry on the track.
Focus on What's Ahead
When you're on the track for the first time, your attention will probably be all over the place. But the most important thing to remember is to stay focused on what's ahead—not what's behind you. For instance, if you hear someone approaching, you may feel compelled to move out of the way. But your field of vision will be limited, and moving aside may cause you to collide with another rider next to you.
Keeping your attention on what's ahead, and letting riders who pass do the navigating, will provide for a smoother first-time motocross experience. To learn more, click here.