My first motorbike sparked a change in me that has defined my life ever since. Granted, it was a mini-motorcycle that my dad bought for me when I was three, but still. In the years that have followed I’ve tried every extreme sport under the sun, but my first love will always be the motorbike.
That’s how I got into the sport of motocross and I still try to race as often as I can. I bet you want to find out how to get a start in it yourself too, so here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way.
Face The Fear
The biggest obstacle you will face in your motocross career is fear. Even the smallest jumps can be terrifying when you think about how you might lose control and crash if you get it wrong. The key is to have confidence in everything you do, while not taking on tracks that are beyond your current skill level. If you confront your fears you will soon find yourself getting more comfortable during your races, which is the foundation you need for taking on bigger jumps and faster riders.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Once you’ve managed to complete your first lap of a track I guarantee that you will want to do more. This is great, because every lap you get under your belt is good practice. Riding often allows you to develop more of a feel for the track, while also helping you to understand your bike more. The latter is especially important, because not knowing your bike puts you at greater risk of wiping out.
Most people who get into motocross do so because of the jumps. They look and feel amazing when you get them right, but they are also dangerous. Again, it comes down to knowing your own skill level. When you are just starting out, take it slow and concentrate on keeping control of the bike when it is in the air. Focus on landing on both wheels and start building your arm and leg strength so you have more control of the bike when you’re airborne.
Taking On The Whoops
While the jumps are the most spectacular thing about motocross, it’s the whoops that present the biggest danger of wiping out. If you watch motocross on TV, odds are high that a lot of the crashes you see are caused by whoops. Think of them as little mini-mountains. They usually come side-by-side and you aim should be to skim the tip of the whoop while maintaining control of the bike.
Watch Other Races
This is a tip that I recommend for all extreme sports, as it offers you the chance to see what the people at the top of the sport do to get there. It’s by watching others that you’ll be able to learn proper technique. Observe everything the pros do, from how they line up at the start of their races through to how they take corners and what they do to prepare themselves for the big jumps. Being able to put it all together is what makes a good motocross rider great and you’ll need to understand how to do it all.
Maintain Your Bike
Your bike is just as important as you are when you are on the track, so it is crucial that you take the time to maintain it. A small mechanical fault could spell disaster on your rides, so I’d really recommend developing your own knowledge so you can handle the majority of stuff on your own. Remember that the best-tuned bike is often going to be the one that wins the race, as long as the rider can handle it.