Safety should be the number one priority when riding on motocross tracks these days. I don’t like having a lot of rules either, but in order to make racing and riding dirt bikes fun for everyone there has to be to some rules outlined so that we can keep accidents and injuries to a minimum. Whether you’re completely new to dirt biking, or if you’re going to the track for the first time, you need to go through these tips so you can know what to expect.
Getting hurt sucks, everyone can agree with that. Although injuries are often inevitable in a highly-competitive scene of motocross, you need to wear protective gear to prevent even more injuries. If you’re going to ride a motocross bike, the very minimum you should wear is a DOT and/or Snell-approved helmet, motocross boots, long-sleeve pants and shirt (or motocross riding gear), some gloves, and goggles. These are just the minimum that you should wear. Some other safety equipment which I strongly recommend are a neck brace, chest protector/body armor, and knee pads/braces.
Properly set up Bike
If your bike isn’t running right or set-up for your kind of riding, you’re going to get worn out, or it will eventually cause an accident. Getting the suspension valved for your weight is key, and will allow you to ride harder and for longer. Maintaining your dirt bike is very important, and is easy to do. Things like regularly changing the oil and filters, making sure all the nuts and bolts are properly torqued, and adjusting the chain and tire pressures can go a long way. It can be the difference between getting first in the race, or crashing halfway through the first lap. If you want more tips on prepping your motocross bike, click here.
Walk the Track
Walking the track before riding is easy to do, and it can give you insight on which lines to take, and which ones not to take. There could be some holes or soft spots that you don’t see while riding, so seeing them before can prevent a major crash. To be even more prepared, follow or ask to follow a faster rider that knows what to look for. There’s a lot of nice riders out there that will give you some hints on the track (or even bike set-up) if you ask them politely. Like the old saying goes, “It pays to know”. So try to make as many friends as possible at the track.
Too many people (including myself when I’m in a hurry) make the mistake of not stretching before going out on the track. After sitting in a vehicle driving to the track, your body and muscles are going to be tight. The worst thing you can do is go out and give it 100% right away; it’s just asking for an accident to happen. Do yourself a favor and stretch for a few minutes before you go out and ride. Staying hydrated and eating healthier foods will also help your body, so start hydrating hours before the race. These simple tasks will also help with reducing arm pump.
Hold Your Line
I cannot say this enough to new dirt bike riders and racers. While the right side of the track is usually the slow lane, DO NOT move out of your lane if you are on the left side and hear another rider coming up from behind. Not only will the other rider crash by running into you if you move, but you will more than likely wipe-out and possibly get hurt as well.
Bring Someone With To The Race
It’s always a good idea to bring a friend or family member to the track with you, whether they race or not. In case you get hurt, there should be someone there that can drive you to the hospital and let your family know about what happened. While most riders are willing to help out an injured rider, I would rather rely on someone I know in the event of an emergency.
One of the most important things you can do is to stay calm and relax, both on and off the track. Motocross racing can be very strenuous, and when your body locks up, it is hard to control the bike. Staying positive and loose will help you ride better and make your day at the track much more enjoyable.
Following these simple steps will make your motocross career last a lot longer. Take the extra few minutes, do things right, and you will be out on the track instead of in a cast.
Good luck, and ride safe!