THE BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO MOTOCROSS RACING
PRESENTED BY ROMINGERMOTORSPORTS C/O EAST BEND MOTORSPORTS
Welcome to motocross racing.
Rominger Motorsports has put together this booklet to hopefully help new riders understand what is involved when getting started in racing. We are asked questions all the time regarding someone who is wanting to start racing. We hope you will find all the questions you have listed in this booklet. Motocross racing is a great sport that everyone can have fun participating in. The information provided here is for the EBM events. If any rules are changed, they will be posted at the track and announced during the event.
Important Reality Check:
Motocross racing is dangerous. There is always a risk of being seriously injured. Riders should not participate in events if they do not have adequate medical insurance to cover a catastrophic injury. Riders and/or their guardians are solely responsible for making sure that their bikes are ready to be raced.
RIDE AT YOUR OWN RISK.
1. FIND A DEALER
Whether you already have a bike, buying a new bike or planning on buying a used bike, you will still have to find a dealer that will be able to get parts for your bike, can service your bikes and offer advice on different items you need when getting started.
The right dealer can be invaluable. They can help with advice along with offering discounts then you can help them by listing them as a sponsor. Pick a dealer that seems to be the most helpful and stick with them. It will be worth it in the long run.
2. SAFETY GEAR
The safety gear you wear is one of the most important things that you can do to protect yourself. The simple rule to racing is to dress for the crash and not for the ride. The more gear you have on, the less likely you will have a serious injury that will require an ambulance ride.
Motocross racing is not a fashion show. Amateur riders, especially beginners should be more concerned with wearing as much protection as possible. A good dealer can really help when you start buying safety gear. They can offer advice on what gear to get because the sizes vary greatly and are not always accurate. Dealing locally will allow you to try on stuff before you buy and they can also help if there is a warranty problem later on.
* HELMET: A helmet is the single most important piece of safety equipment that you can buy. If you have a $10 head, buy a $10 helmet. The helmet needs to fit snuggly but you don't want it to be so tight that it's uncomfortable. There are different DOT and SNELL certification ratings that dealers can explain to you. A full-face helmet offers more protection against both front and side impacts then a helmet with a bolt on mouth guard.
* GOGGLES: Goggles should always be worn. Practice in them so you will get used to wearing them. You need to protect your eyes from dust and other debris that could get in your eyes while you are riding. Try out different brands while wearing your helmet to see which goggles are the most comfortable to you. Make sure that you get a lexan or similar lens and learn how to clean them so they will last.
* BODY GEAR: Chest and Back Protectors - Since it can take some getting use to, it's important to start wearing these things as soon as you start riding. These can when help you have an impact injury by spreading the impact over a wider area. They can protect your body from having dirt or rocks thrown on you by tires. There is a huge selection of body gear that you can use. You can get gear that protect both you chest and back or your can buy one that protects only your chest.
* CLOTHING: We require that you wear long sleeve shirts. Racing pants are not required to race but we do recommend them. Jeans are OK to start out in. We also recommend knee pads. If you want to know what happens to your knees when you ride without knee pads, have a friend hit you with a hammer on the kneecaps. Gloves are recommended. Elbow pads are optional but are a good idea for beginners.
* BOOTS: We require that you wear some type of boots that cover the ankle. Racing boots are best but don't try to race in a new pair of boots until you have them broken in. It could cause you to have an accident if you are unable to work the controls on your bike properly. If you are buying boots for your child, you can buy them a little big but not too big. Make sure you take care of your boots so you can sell them to another rider when you outgrow them.
* YOUR BIKE: It is important to maintain your bike. Inspect it carefully and look for any sharp edges or protruding bolts that can be removed to prevent them from injuring a rider. Make sure the grips are glued or wired on so that they will not come loose while riding. Keep control cables lubed. Do not run broken clutch or brake levers because of the sharp points. All 90cc riders must have a tether style kill switch and nerf bars.
3. JUST FOR PARENTS
Motocross racing is a great sport. It teaches discipline, the important of preparation, goal setting and the satisfaction that comes from reaching them. Motocross racing is different than a lot of sports because it is an individual sport rather than a team sport. It is up to that rider as to how well they want to ride.
Motocross racing is about having FUN! As with all sports, there are parents that push their kids too hard to win. In some cases this will cause unnecessary injury to that rider or other riders. Motocross racing is not easy and the skills will develop with time and by practicing. There is no use in standing beside the track and yelling at your child when the fact remains that they probably don't hear a word you are saying.
Take a step back and look at racing through your child's eyes.
4. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
The best thing that you can do to prepare yourself for racing is to practice. There are some things that you can do to help improve the basic skills involved in racing. Practice riding wheelies and doing power slides. Concentrate on using different controls like the clutch, front and rear brakes, etc. so that you will know their limits. Using the clutch can help you attack the corners harder while using the brakes can cut seconds off your lap time. While jumping is important, most races are won or lost in the corners. Practice corners by doing circles or figure eights to get better with the clutch, brakes and throttle controls. Practice riding berms and ruts to get comfortable in them. Do not watch your front wheel or you will pop out of the rut or berm every time. Practice looking further down the track. This will make you faster and make you a safer rider.
Learning the proper forms early on will make it easier in the long run. Keeping the elbows up and learning to stand up on the bike are very important. Having proper body position will help save you time and energy along with giving you better control over the bike when you come across ruts, bumps and holes in the track. Watch faster riders when you practice and try to copy what they do. Most experienced riders will be happy to offer riding tips because they were once learning themselves. Try to find someone that is close to your speed or a little faster and ride with them. Have pretend races for a set period of time and ride it like you would in a race. If you fall, get up and keep riding like you would in a race. Don't give up.
SO NOW YOU ARE READY TO RACE
1. THIS IS A LIST OF THINGS THAT YOU NEED TO BRING WITH YOU TO THE RACES.
General Stuff Riding Gear:
Wallet, membership cards, notarized birth certificate (if required)
Helmet, jerseys, pants, socks, knee pads, boots, gloved, goggles, extra lenses, body gear
Optional: mud gloves, tear offs, kidney belt, hip pads
An extra change of street clothes, extra pair of shoes, towels, spray glass cleaner
Pen and paper, Track directions
2. RACE DAY, WHAT TO EXPECT
Expect to be nervous. It is natural. Riders that have been racing for years still get butterflies on race day. The secret is to accept that it is part of racing. Get there early so you won't feel rushed. When you are about to ride, take some deep breaths and stretch before going out on the track. Watch other riders during the race so you can see how others are doing different sections and obstacles of the track. When you go out to ride, concentrate on not riding over your head. You will only have 1 first race. It is rare that a first time rider will win so just relax, learn and have fun.
3. RACE DAY, WHAT TO DO
Start the night before by going over your checklist and making sure you have everything organized and ready to go. On race day, load up early so you are not rushed. Make sure you have directions and know how long it should take to get to the track.
* PARKING: Where you park is your personal preference. We have parking next to the track or you can park in the grassy field. Just make sure that you are not blocking the driveway.
* REGISTRATION: The rider registration is located at the window of the white building. The sign up forms are located on the white table in front of the registration building. Riders under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian and must have the minor release form filled out. Any other adult who will be signing your child up will need a notarized statement authorizing them to sign for the minor. NO EXCEPTIONS.
The practice order is posted beside the window where you register. The race order will be made and posted on the board outside the registration building near the end of practice.
After you have signed up to race, go unload your bike and set up your pit area. Look over your bike and get ready to practice.
* WALK THE TRACK: When you have everything set up go walk the track. This will help you relax as well as learning the track. Take time to look at the different turns and jumps. This will help you learn the track better.
* PRACTICE: 30 - 45 minutes before your practice is to begin start getting dressed and check your bike. Make sure you have gas and warm the bike up. Ride in first gear to the staging area at the starting gate. Do not pull up to the gate until it is time for your group to get out onto the racetrack.
Use the practice time to learn the track and warm up. Try different lines so you will know what to expect if you need to take them later. PAY ATTENTION TO THE TRACK FLAGS. If there is a faster rider behind you, let them pass. Do not zigzag. Don't worry about racing against anyone and remember not to ride over your head.
When you are flagged off the track, slow down to a walking speed as you exit. It is easy to go to fast when coming off the track because of nervousness and/or adrenaline. Look your bike over when you get back to your pit. Make sure you refuel your bike and lube the chain. Get something to eat and drink and get ready for the rider's meeting.
* RIDER'S MEETING: Get near a PA speaker so you can hear the rider's meeting. At this time, the race order will be called out. If there are any changes in the race order they will be announced during this time. If there are any problems during practice, they will be addressed during this time. A RACE ORDER WILL BE POSTED ON THE BOARD OUTSIDE THE SIGN UP BUILDING.
Following the riders meeting there will usually be a short break and then a prayer and the national anthem will be sung. Riders in the first couple of races need to work their way to the stagging area and shut off their bikes.
* START PROCEDURES: When you get to the starting gate, leave your bike shut off until the white flag comes out for the class racing. Start your bike and make sure the gas is turned on. The starter will hold up a board with #2 showing. If you are having problems starting your bike, let the man know by waving your hand so that you will get two minutes to correct the problem. If everyone is ready the board will be changed to a 1 and the man will check down the line again. If everyone is ready, there will be a slight pause then the one will be turned sideways. The gate will fall 2-7 seconds later.
* STAGER STARTS: Sometimes if there are several small classes that can be run on the track at the same time, we will combine them but they will be scored separately. If the classes are very small, they will take off the gate at the same time. If there are enough riders then the classes will be stagger started. One class will leave the line, the gate will be reset and then the second class leaves. Stagger starts are marked on the race order. If you are supposed to start with the second group and you start with the first, you will be penalized one lap. Don't get excited and start with the wrong class.
* RESULTS: Shortly after your race, the results will be posted on the board at the sign up building. It is the responsibility of each rider to check the results for errors and notify the score person if there is something that needs to be corrected. Once the results have been posted for 30 minutes it becomes official unless it is changed because of a protest that came during the protest time. Riders get gate pick for the 2nd moto based on 1st moto results. There is usually an intermission taken between the 1st and 2nd motos.
We run a 2 moto format. The results of the 1st moto are combined with the results from the 2nd moto for an overall finish. If there is a tie, the 2nd moto finish breaks the tie. For example: Bike A finished 1st in moto1 and 2nd in moto2. He has (1+2) 3 points. Bike B finished 2nd in moto1 and 1st in moto2. He has (2+1) 3 points. This is a tie in points. Since Bike B finished ahead of Bike A in moto2, Bike B wins.
4. GENERAL RACE RULES - These are EBM rules. Additional rules will be posted at events.
* PIT RIDING: Riders are allowed to ride their bikes to and from the starting gate at a walking speed. Absolutely no pit racing or burnouts will be tolerated. You will receive no further warning. You will be disqualified with no refund. This includes pit bikes. Bicycles should also be ridden with caution in the pits. There are a lot of people walking around in the pits and someone could become seriously injured. Parents should make sure their children understand this rule and know what a walking speed is.
* SAFETY FLAGS: Yellow flags mean that there is a problem on the track and you should be in control of your bike and look for the problem so you can avoid it. Watch the flaggers to see if they want you to ride on one side of the track. Passing is not allowed under the yellow flag. If you pass another rider, endanger or hit a track worker, EMT worker or cause a rider to go down, you will be penalized. The penalty can include being docked positions to being disqualified. This rule is to protect you and your fellow riders and will be strictly enforced. Parents of young riders: please explain this to them so they will know what the different flags mean.
* CUTTING THE TRACK: If a rider leaves the designated track for any reason, they must go back and enter at the point they exited the track or a point before. They can be penalized a position. The worse the infraction the more positions they can be penalized.
* UNSPORTSMANLIKE BEHAVIOR: This includes dirty riding, fighting, use of profanity, obscene gestures, etc. Violators can be penalized , including disqualification and being suspended for the series. If another rider tries to start a fight, do whatever you have to do to get away and notify the referee immediately. Riders are responsible for the actions of their pit crew and family.
Use of alcohol and/or drugs by participants while riding or by family members and friends will absolutely not be tolerated at our events. If you are coming to party, stay home or go to a bar. If you see someone violating this rule, please bring it to the EBM staff's attention so the problem can be addressed before it results in an accident.
* IF YOU DO FALL DOWN: If you go down and are not hurt, your number one concern is to get off the race track. If your bike is in the middle of the track, move it before trying to restart it so you are not hit by another rider or blocking the race track. Do not wait on the track crew to move your bike or start it for you. Their number one priority is to let the other riders know there is a problem and to keep you safe.
HOPEFULLY THIS BOOKLET WILL GIVE YOU ENOUGH BASIC INFORMATION ABOUT RACING THAT WHEN YOU GET READY TO TRY IT, YOU WILL BE ABLE TO DO THE 2 MOST IMPORTANT THINGS IN MOTOCROSS: HAVE FUN AND RIDE SAFELY. IF YOU HAVE ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS, PLEASE CONTACT EBM.