Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

11 Year Old First Race - any advice to dad and son

Recommended Posts

My son is doing his 1st race in a few weeks. He just turned 11. I think he will race the 65 9-11 class and the 85 9-11 class, none of the open classes. He's only been riding the 85 for two months but it seems to fit him well while the 65 is getting a little small. He's been riding for 4 years and his ability is getting better but not near as fast compared to what I see from some the kids on the 65 and 85s. Heck, I'm slow compared to some the 85 riders.

Any advice I should give him or just wish him the best. I pray he just keeps it on two wheels and if he stalls he can get it started. I would assume he will get lapped in the 85 race and possibly even on the 65.

I think they run a split gate for 65 10-11/7-9. Same for the 85 12-15/9-11. How do they determine where you line up? Do all the 7-9 on one side and 10-11 on the other side of the gate?

He is the type of kid who will be super nervous. Hopefully in the morning practice he can get a little relaxed with the track and the process. I think he is in the 6th race so that will give him a little time to watch a few races and a couple of starts.

He has ridden the track a few times and it gets fairly rutted but its a safe track, more old style I would call it with a few big tables and one double that he rolls.

I'll be as nervous for him as he will be at the drop of the gate. I've never raced so I'm not much help other than we both love to go to the motocross track and ride.

He knows to hold his line and not cut over on any of the jumps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, just tell him to have fun and ride smart. He'll learn a lot from his first few races. Tell him not to worry about his position, but to ride smooth,hold his line and don't ride over your head.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let the boy race...and have fun. I almost can't watch the kids races...overbearing parents who think "their" kid...IS...the next Villopoto, drive me nuts. My coworker pushed his kid so hard...he hated riding.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not saying you would, but DO NOT do this.......

I'm Sorry, Dad

Author unknown, but greatly appreciated

It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in all my eight years. It had a pretty red gas tank, silver rims, a plush black seat, a swept- down exhaust pipe and chrome handlebars with soft rubber hand grips. As it sat under the Christmas tree that year, the red, blue and green lights reflected off the shiny chrome parts like a thousand sparks dancing from the logs in the fireplace. I can still remember how proud I was to have my own minibike. It was the best Christmas present any boy ever received.

Dad, do you remember how we talked mom into letting me try it out that day, even though the snow was at least a foot deep? And how I spent the whole afternoon going around in circles in our garage? Boy! Mom sure was upset and worried. I'll bet you got a good lecture for buying it for me.

I didn't think spring was ever going to come that year, and when it finally arrived I can remember mom fussing because I wore all the grass off a trail around the yard. I was the envy of every boy in the neighborhood.

Hey Dad, I can still see mom now, the day I crashed and hurt my ankle and had to go to the doctor. I thought that was the end of my motorcycling right then and there, but you always came through. It took a lot of fancy talking, but you finally convinced her that with the correct boots, leathers, a helmet and gloves I would be practically indestructible. Boy, motorcycling was fun in those days!

It was the summer when I was nine that you entered me in my first race. It was a short track outside of town at the motorcycle club grounds. It was on a Saturday night and I can still remember how nervous I was then. I remember I got a good start and was leading the pack for a couple of laps before I crashed into the wall. I thought you were going to get run over trying to get to me. Oh well, so much for the finals that night. You were still proud and grinning from ear to ear when I came back and got fifth in the consolation race. I remember you bought me a hamburger and milk shake on the way home, and we stayed up half the night making future plans, re-riding the race and admiring our trophy. By the way you talked, anyone would have thought I had just won the National Championship. I was the happiest boy in the world that night.

It was several fourths and fifths and numerous crashes before you decided that I needed a new and larger bike. I was really proud of it, but I couldn't seem to do any better then I did on the old one. It seemed to get a little harder each time I raced.

Then you thought that we needed a faster machine and had a lot of engine work and porting done to it. It seemed like cheating to have it bored out over the size limit of the class I was riding in. You said that it wasn't cheating because everyone else was doing it. I didn't really understand at the time. Nothing really helped much; even the special lightweight frame and those new type tires didn't make much difference in the positions in which I was finishing.

I was trying as hard as I could and I knew you were spending a lot of money. I started feeling like I was letting you down. I didn't think thirds and fourths were all that bad.

Dad, when you started jumping on the referee and other officials when I lost, I could really see how much it meant to you and I was determined to try even harder. A 10-year-old boy has a hard time understanding how important it is to win, and I was trying as hard as I could, Dad, honest.

I remember when I was 11, they started giving points to all the riders, and at the end of the season they gave awards for the way you placed in the district. I tried really hard that year and won fourth place. Dad, you looked so disappointed in me for not winning an award, I could hardly hold back the tears.

If you had just known how hard it is to remember all the things you told me to do, while I was racing and in a powerslide and fighting traffic all around. Its very hard to think, Dad, when you are scared stiff. Oh, I wasn't scared of the racing. I was scared I would make a dumb mistake and you would start yelling and embarrassing me, in front of the other riders. I was so afraid of upsetting you my stomach was tied in knots. I felt like asking you to show me how to race instead of yelling instructions at me all the time, but you could never do any better than I could, and I didn't want to hurt you.

Boy, I wish we could go back and have fun like we used to. I guess there can be no more races like our first ones. Somehow, all the funs gone out of it.

I know, Dad, when you were little you never had the chance to have a bike and race, and I know how hard you had to work as a child, but this isn't fun anymore, either. I know you don't realize what you are doing, and I'm sure if you did you wouldn't push me so hard. I hate to see mom cry when you fuss at me on the way home form the races. Sometimes I think it hurts her more than it hurts me.

Now you have me riding 2 different classes, and things have gotten so bad I wish I had never seen a motorcycle. I have tried to tell you what you are doing to me but you just don't listen. I'm 14 now and feel like I am 30. I am so nervous when you are around, I feel like running away. I find myself wishing I could get hurt in a race so maybe you would let me stop. I can see no other way to get out of racing.

I'm sorry, Dad. I have done the best that I could. I have tried hard and yet I still could not please you. Dad, I just cannot be what you wish you could have been.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My son is doing his 1st race in a few weeks. He just turned 11. I think he will race the 65 9-11 class and the 85 9-11 class, none of the open classes. He's only been riding the 85 for two months but it seems to fit him well while the 65 is getting a little small. He's been riding for 4 years and his ability is getting better but not near as fast compared to what I see from some the kids on the 65 and 85s. Heck, I'm slow compared to some the 85 riders.

Any advice I should give him or just wish him the best. I pray he just keeps it on two wheels and if he stalls he can get it started. I would assume he will get lapped in the 85 race and possibly even on the 65.

I think they run a split gate for 65 10-11/7-9. Same for the 85 12-15/9-11. How do they determine where you line up? Do all the 7-9 on one side and 10-11 on the other side of the gate?

He is the type of kid who will be super nervous. Hopefully in the morning practice he can get a little relaxed with the track and the process. I think he is in the 6th race so that will give him a little time to watch a few races and a couple of starts.

He has ridden the track a few times and it gets fairly rutted but its a safe track, more old style I would call it with a few big tables and one double that he rolls.

I'll be as nervous for him as he will be at the drop of the gate. I've never raced so I'm not much help other than we both love to go to the motocross track and ride.

He knows to hold his line and not cut over on any of the jumps.

I've been around the racing circle for the past 32 years. I raced up until 2004, but both my son and daughter love riding dirt, but don't want to race and i'm fine with that, and never pushed them to race. Myself and my kids simply love riding dirt, and my kids do NOT need to "prove" anything to me by racing.

IMO is that for every 10 initial "gung-ho" new dirt bike racers, there will be only one that has the true grit and desire to race 110% . Most kids once they quickly find out how truly hard it is to race and be sucessfull they quickly gain a "I don't care anymore" type attitude, and because of this, I feel that some parents keep forcing the kids to keep racing simply from a money invested in racing standpoint. Every kid wannts to race, not every kid has the true mental drive . The key is to keep it recreational and FUN . If your kids show solid interest, get them out on the track, be supportive. Bottom line if your son/daughter doesn't have the race grit and desire, than just let it go and go back to having fun with play riding.

No different than the ignorant loud mouthed sports parents, the ignorant loud mouthed MX parents are also an issue. Just try to ignore them. I've made tons of lasting MX friendships, and still frequent the tracks even though I can't physically race anymore. My foremost tip is try to keep your son off your 65, believe it or not it's safer IMO to have a bike that's slightly bigger vs rider size, than a rider that's too big for the chassis. I've see kids get seriously hurt on bikes that are too small. Don't be afraid to walk right up to other veteran MX mom's and dad's and ask for racing tips and experiences, they will be more than happy to oblige ! There's a LOT to learn both on and off the track, so if you're not sure just ask ! When I was racing I always made it a point to help the new racer families with tips, loaning tools, setup advice and so on. This racing "comradery" just makes for FUN relaxed and safe racing. My idea from a parents' persphective at the end of the day is to drive home sunday night smiling from listening to your un-injured son/daughter endlessly talk about how much fun they had ! Good luck !

Edited by Polar_Bus
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Two words. Have fun.

My 11 year old son and I have been racing together for 3 years now. Neither one of us podiums much, we are mid pack recreational racers. Sure it would be nice seeing him with the big trophy at the end of the day before the long ride home, but it's all good. I'd rather see him battle with someone from gate drop to finish line than check out on the pack anyway. That way I know he is learning, pushing, and getting better. He does get upset when he has a bad moto but that's part of racing, and growing up. Hey, we both know Suzuki isn't calling us with offers. At the end of the day we are having a great time. TOGETHER.

My advice;

Don't let him worry about results. It's his first race! Worry about getting from gate to checkers on the wheels.

Don't be "that parent". One episode of that can leave a scar so deep it will take years to heal.

Enjoy EVERY minute you can spend with him. Prepping his bike, on the way, in the pits, going home, etc..

Prepare yourself for that hopeless feeling while he is at the gate. I still think I am more nervous than my son at gate drops and while he is on the track!! Hey, it's called being a parent!!!

Make sure he knows that there are some extremely fast riders out there. There are kids in my sons class that can race and beat open C riders. I know they can beat me with ease.

As long as your son does his best he will do fine and come off the track smiling.

IMHO, That's Motocross!

Good Luck!

Edited by DirtDad3
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lots of great advice above. In addition to that, I would stay with your son as long as you can at the gate before it drops knowing that he is a bit nervous. Tell him to ride smooth and have fun. Don't worry at all about what the other riders are doing - you are right, there likely will be some extremely fast kids he is up against. My daughter still wants me at the gate with her and I always get to the gate to offer the same advice to my son even after 7 years of racing. In our family, the day it is not fun is the day we pack it in. Hope you guys have a boatload of fun! :thumbsup:

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Try to get a gate pic thats as far away from others as possible.

Tell him to race the track.

Tell him to be smooth.

Most important............Give him a hug and tell him you love him before the gate drops.

Wish I could go back to those days.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am paraphrasing what I wrote in a different 1st race forum to apply to you..... Here it is

#1 finish the race. Especially since it's his first. And tell him ride his own race. If he keeps getting passed, he shouldn't speed up and ride over his level to catch them. He'll end up on the ground real quick. And crashing always seems to be more frustrating/painful than not finishing where you want.

No matter how many little "tip overs" he has, he needs to get up and keep going if at all possible. Also, on the whole thing sabout if he can get it started....The flaggers (at least at the tracks I've rode) help the 85cc's and smaller get the bike up and started again and make sure they are ok, etc.

So, I've been on an workout plan...consisting of endurance training, strength training, and mental strength. (Confidence) I've learned that no matter how crappy a race starts, if he thinks for one second "Well, I lost." You bet your ass he just did. Thoughts are a big part of the outcomes of a lot of different things on and off the bike. And I tell you what, he finish the first race, He'll be proud as hell.....and so will you....as well as relieved. :)

I'm not saying this to scare him or you....Just be prepared for anything. It's not hard to crash. It'll happen, just hope it isn't a long term injury. I've been doing pretty well racing motocross and have been getting top 3 finishes almost always (locally) now. I still have quite a few bad crashes. (hit a deer on my backyard track when it ran out of the cornfield, 2 weeks later tore my PCL, 2 days later sliced my chest open on a footpeg, etc.) ...Shit happens no matter the skill level you are at.

I'm sure He'll do great and more importantly have loads of fun. He shouldn't expect to win, But also shouldn't expect to get dead last. But if he does get dead last, you know what? Who cares. He gave it a shot and someone has to finish last. We all have been there, he'll get better. He may just surprise himself....and you. You guys will find the motocross community is very supportive. Talk to people. Like any kind of motorcycle racing, Everyone is like a big family. So after you race or before, go talk to people. Make friends. You can never have too many friends that ride! :) I'll bet almost anyone there would talk to you and give you tips and answer any questions you might have. Just don't do something like I did my first race (I was 8) and ask an A rider that blew his motor and is frantically trying to figure out what to do 2 hours before the LLQ, a stupid question. Hahaha.

Be sure your his bike is warm before you line up. He will probably be intimidated by everyone else at the gate. My advice, since it's a first race, just hang back. Let them go, then pick em off one by one. Not a good plan to go for the holeshot with 2 months on the bike and at a first race.

Good luck,

Aaron

P.s. private message me if you or your son have any other specific questions and I'll help you out the best I can or at least point you to someone else that would know, even if you think it's the worlds stupidest question. :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read this whole thing with some emotion and some laughs, but mostly with a lot of respect for this community. As the dad in the dad-son team, I will say the advice here is awesome. There is so much more to this sport than winning, or even racing. My son, Liam, featured in my story about his crash and 6D, started riding at your son's age. The growth you will see from 11 to 15 is unreal. The best part of this sport from a dad perspective is the bonding that happens when you work together to tear a bike down and put it all back together, and the talks you have on trips to and from the track, and the collaboration on research, and the people you meet on the road, and all of that stuff that makes you alive. I tell Liam that nervousness is adrenalin, it means you are in the game, and you are alive. I also tell all four of my children that my first priority as a dad is to keep them alive. That does not mean eliminating risk, but it does mean winning at this level can never trump safety. It also can't supersede fun. Last week after a race my son posted this on Facebook. I will share it because it was a proud moment for me, and because it shows that motocross doesn't just develop racing skills, but life skills as well.

Today I was at a race with my father, he was my camera man, mechanic, biggest fan, he's my hero. He could have been home working but he took me to a race that I really wanted to go to. I couldn't pull off first place, but I got easy second! I'm just blessed that I have such an amazing father who manages to be number one in the nation for his job, and still manages to find time to spend with all of his kids. He truly is an amazing man, and I love him with all my heart. Thank you for everything you do for us dad! And thank you for bringing me racing today, and supporting me! I love you.

That's better than first place to me any day. Glad to see all of the gifted riders out there seem to agree. Love this sport!

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Reply with:

Sign in to follow this  

×