After you find your riding spot, load up your stuff and head out! Don't forget to grab some fuel and hit the ATM. Most tracks charge around $30 at the gate and cash is the preferred method of payment. Once you get to the gate, pull up to the kiosk and sign your life away on the liability waiver.
CONSIDER A RIDING BUDDY
It's always a good idea to have a buddy at the track. Just in case. When I first started going to the track, I didn't know ANYBODY. I eventually got to know people at the track just from riding and seeing them regularly. I got to know even more people once I started racing.
Having a friend at the track is always good in case, heaven forbid, you get injured. I've been in this unfortunate situation and had to leave my bike, my truck and all my gear at the truck while I took a ride to the local ER with someone I never met.
If you're going to the track solo, that's totally cool. I would just encourage you to introduce yourself to the dude parked next to you at the track. That way if you do end up needing some help, you've built some rapport with someone already.
PARK CLOSE TO THE TRACK IF YOU CAN
Parking close to the track allows you to watch the riders on the track so you can observe the different lines, the obstacles and where people are getting on and off the track. It's also nice to have your bike and all your gear in view while your taking a break and watching other riders on the track.
UNLOAD AND GEAR UP
Once you've got your bike unloaded, go ahead and look over your bike and make any setting changes that are needed. Things like tire pressures, suspension air pressures, chain slack, fuel and oil levels, are all things that should be checked prior to going out on the track. Race Sag and spokes are a couple other things to check.
Once your bike is ready, go ahead and gear up.
I want to put this out there before we go any further.......
DON'T FEEL PRESSURED
New motocross riders have a tendency to feel pressured by other riders on the track. You may feel like you're in the way, because your not as fast or because you don't jump a lot (yet). DON'T WORRY ABOUT THAT STUFF! Seriously, nobody cares. Most experienced riders recognize when someone is new. They will find a way around you....I promise! I've ridden on tracks at the same time as local pros and these guys just go right around you. Not a problem at all.
Remember.....EVERYONE was a beginner at some point. So whether your 4 or 40 or whaterver, it doesn't matter. Most riders are just stoked that you're into the sport too.
ENTERING THE TRACK
Make sure you're aware of where riders are entering the track. A lot of times there will be one or two spots where everyone is getting on the track, so pay attention. Wait for a bit of a gap between riders and then go ahead and enter the track and get started. DO NOT cut off a rider when entering the track.
YOUR SIGHT LAP AND THE MAIN LINE
Your first lap is going to be what is known as a "Sight Lap". During this lap, all your doing is cruising around the track and seeing the layout of the obstacles. No need to go fast and no need to jump ANYTHING! While you are on your site lap(s), do your best to stay out of the main line on the track. The main line will change as the track gets more worn down, but if you're just cruisin' around in the main line, riders are going to take notice.
HOLD YOUR LINE
THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!! No matter what, hold your line on the track! Even if you're the slowest guy out there, HOLD YOUR LINE. This mainly applies when other riders are behind you, but as a new rider, you're most likely going to be a little slower. Fast guys can come up on you in a hurry, so just try to get used to holding your lines as best you can.
There's nothing worse than a new dirt bike rider that is out on the motocross track zig zagging all over the place. When you hold your line, you're predictable and other riders can pass you safely. When you're all over the track, other riders can't predict your movement and it can be dangerous for everyone.
So what do I mean by "Hold Your Line"? Simple..... If you're on the right, stay on the right. If you're in the middle, stay in the middle. Keep that same line through turns and over obstacles. Once you get faster, that will change, but as a new motocross rider, holding your line is very important.
GETTING OFF THE TRACK
When you're ready to get off the track and take a break, sit down on the bike, squeeze the tank with your knees and raise your left hand in the air as if you have a question. This allows you to let other riders know you're slowing down and/or you're getting ready to exit the track. Again, maintain your line while doing this. Don't make an abrupt movement across the track to exit.
After you slow down, look behind you to see if any riders are coming. When it's clear, pull off the track safely without interfering with other riders. Remember, NO ABRUPT MOVEMENTS.
WHEN TO PACK UP
Riding is such a blast. You may stay the entire time the track is open. If so, that's awesome! One thing I pay attention to is when I start making too many mistakes. When you're new to tracks, you're going to make mistakes right and left, that's part of learning. But if you find yourself making mistakes because you're fatigued and a fifteen minutes of rest doesn't help, then it's time to call it a day. No sense in pushing yourself too much and risking injury.
Remember that dude that was parked next to you when you got to the track? Well, don't be afraid to ask him for help loading your bike up. At the end of the day, you're usually pretty tired. If you're worried about loading up your dirt scooter, don't be afraid to ask the dude next door for a hand.
The biggest thing is, don't go to the track and be a goon. Use common sense, watch out for other riders and ride safely. That's all you need to do. Take your time learning how to ride a track and the skills will come.
Have questions? Leave a comment.
CLEANING YOUR DIRT BIKE
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