Motocross riders: get started in competition

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You may not perform acrobatics at your first competition, but you'll have a blast
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Motocross riders can use these competition tips for riding in their first event

As media coverage of motocross riders competition expands, more people are getting into the sport. For some fans, itís not long before they get the itch to compete themselves. You may already have looked into local races, checked registration fees Ė not out of curiosity. Itís official, you want to enter a motocross competition. Now what?

By definition, motocross is an off road, all-terrain sport. As an individual sport, motocross teaches discipline, personal responsibility and setting goals. Anyone whoís sat mesmerized as motocross riders maneuver sharp corners, jumps and other riders on a rugged dirt course knows this is an extremely fun sport.

Entering a motocross competition is a big step, but the process is not complicated. Take your time and develop your riding skills and technique. Understand the types of motocross gear that enhances your performance and offers the greatest protection. While the first thing you may want to do is compete, the last thing you need is to rush into a race before your mind and body are up for the challenge.

Here are the basics on how to get started in motocross riders competition:

First Step: Know the dangers

Not only is it important to understand the risk involved with motocross racing, most races require riders to have medical insurance to cover potential injuries. Competitions have a ĎRide at your own riskí policy, which means the motocross rider or riderís guardian is completely responsible for making sure the rider is properly equipped.

Step Two: Find a motocross dealer

According to Victory Sports, motocross event organizers, beginning motocross riders benefit significantly from a good relationship with a dealer, even if you already have a bike. Dealers not only sell bikes and parts, they can recommend good competitions and offer essential tips.

Many are racers themselves so they understand the need to expedite service. They assist with tire selection and may introduce you to other local riders. As a courtesy, consider listing a helpful dealer as a sponsor, especially if youíve received discounts. Loyalty to a good dealer pays off.

Step Three: Safety gear

Safety gear can be the difference between a minor injury and catastrophe - smart motocross racers dress for a crash. As a rule of thumb, beginning motocross riders should wear as much safety gear as possible. Though you can often find gear for cheaper prices online, remember that itís important to try items on for a good fit so measure yourself carefully and call the customer assistance number if you are unsure about sizing.

Safety Gear Checklist:

*Helmet - The most important piece of safety gear youíll own.

*Protective Goggles Ė Essential.

*Boots Ė Boots that at least cover the ankle are required for races. Break them in before the race.

*Clothing Ė Long sleeves are required for racers. Jeans are permitted or you can buy race pants. Knee pads, elbow pads and gloves are recommended.

*Body Armor Ė Protects your chest and back from impact in case of crash as well as any rocks or hard objects on the ground.

Step Four: Practice Riding

The best way to prepare yourself for motocross riders competition is to practice riding every day. Challenge yourself with different courses, practice power slides and work on controlling the brakes and clutch. Get comfortable riding sharp corners and standing up. Train yourself to look ahead so you can be faster and safer on the course.

Step Five: Race Day Checklist

Itís normal to feel nervous on your first or tenth race. Make a checklist of all of the things youíll need on race day so you donít forget anything. Here are a few common items required or recommended:

identification, money to pay race fees, clothes and safety gear, change of clothes, healthy snack, water, rain gear, track directions, pen&paper, gate times for opening and closing

Additional items you may need: patch kit, tire iron, tire pump, tire gauge, duct tape, zip ties, extra bolts and screws, rags, trash bags

A few tips:

*Arrive early for a practice run on the course so youíre not rushed.

*Stretch before riding.

*Observe other riders to see how they handle corners and obstacles

*Have fun with your first race. Donít expect to win, expect to learn.

*Note that if youíre under 18, you must have an adult with you.

*Donít fill your tank - this adds about 10 lbs to your bike. You only need enough for about 15 minutes of riding, so a third of a tank will do.

Enjoy your first motocross race!


Motocross Action Magazine
Motocross Transworld

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