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It is not impossible. I have a friend that started riding at age 13, got his pro license at age 17, and raced nationals for a few years (just as a privateer). He got burned out and quit riding by the time he was 21 though. It is possible, but the cases where this happen are pretty rare.

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No. Among other things, its about drive, work ethic, and the means to be able to put in the training.

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Is 12 to old to start racing mx and become professional

To become a pro? No.

 

To become a top racer....that's a whole other question. Go look at the list of who is signed up to ride Glen Helen this week. Something like 120 guys between 250's and 450's. Read their names. For most of them, it is the last time you will. There are 1,000's of really, really good riders across the nation, across the planet (there's a Russian racing this weekend) but, the gap between REALLY good and the handful of guys who line up for pro races AND THEN the smaller handful who win races is just awful and is one of the things I don't like about the sport. But, it is also one of the great things about it. Weird, huh?

 

Have you heard of the 10,000 hour rule of thumb? It says that it takes somewhere around 10,000 hours to master something be it the violin, ice skating, singing or riding dirt bikes. The GOAT ran his first race at 5. Assuming something like 2 hours a day and say 5-6 hours on a Saturday, Ricky was racking up something like 15 hours a week or nearly 800 hours a year riding. By the time he was 12 that's, assuming that race at 5 was his first day on a bike, of course it was not, that's 5,000 hours. Halfway to mastery. At 12.

 

That gap between really good and great racers isn't all about talent or heart or determination. Time after time in all sorts of disciplines, that 10,000 hours keeps popping up, separating people who are REALLY good from those who are masters.  A 12 year old starting at zero could rack up 10,000 hours by their early 20's, maybe, but, they'd still be behind however many 1,000's of hours behind how ever many 1,000's of riders. Not IMPOSSIBLE but, pretty much so. A Ricky or a Bubba starting at zero at age 12 would have a tough row to hoe and not likely to make it. On the other hand, McGrath's first race was when he was 15 BUT, in his day, there weren't as many kids whose families basically lived for their kid to race from day one plus he was a champion BMX racer before that. He wasn't lining up against lots of 15 year olds with 5,000 hours in the saddle.

 

So, again, possible but...

 

 

That 10,000 hours isn't meant to discourage. If anything, it sets a goal of somewhere around how much riding is needed to get good. The simple fact is that riding a dirt bike in different condtions every week, heck, different conditions every lap, getting starts, learning how to race, is a collection of, literally, 1,000's of hours of learning all the litte things over and over and over. Plus talent. Plus determination. Plus heart. Plus some luck.

 

I''d enjoy the hell out of it if, in 10 years, you come on here and tell me I was wrong. Lotta people succeed because someone told them they couldn't do it.

 

In any event, that's what a 12 year old would be facing.

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To become a pro? No.

 

To become a top racer....that's a whole other question. Go look at the list of who is signed up to ride Glen Helen this week. Something like 120 guys between 250's and 450's. Read their names. For most of them, it is the last time you will. There are 1,000's of really, really good riders across the nation, across the planet (there's a Russian racing this weekend) but, the gap between REALLY good and the handful of guys who line up for pro races AND THEN the smaller handful who win races is just awful and is one of the things I don't like about the sport. But, it is also one of the great things about it. Weird, huh?

 

Have you heard of the 10,000 hour rule of thumb? It says that it takes somewhere around 10,000 hours to master something be it the violin, ice skating, singing or riding dirt bikes. The GOAT ran his first race at 5. Assuming something like 2 hours a day and say 5-6 hours on a Saturday, Ricky was racking up something like 15 hours a week or nearly 800 hours a year riding. By the time he was 12 that's, assuming that race at 5 was his first day on a bike, of course it was not, that's 5,000 hours. Halfway to mastery. At 12.

 

That gap between really good and great racers isn't all about talent or heart or determination. Time after time in all sorts of disciplines, that 10,000 hours keeps popping up, separating people who are REALLY good from those who are masters.  A 12 year old starting at zero could rack up 10,000 hours by their early 20's, maybe, but, they'd still be behind however many 1,000's of hours behind how ever many 1,000's of riders. Not IMPOSSIBLE but, pretty much so. A Ricky or a Bubba starting at zero at age 12 would have a tough row to hoe and not likely to make it. On the other hand, McGrath's first race was when he was 15 BUT, in his day, there weren't as many kids whose families basically lived for their kid to race from day one plus he was a champion BMX racer before that. He wasn't lining up against lots of 15 year olds with 5,000 hours in the saddle.

 

So, again, possible but...

 

 

That 10,000 hours isn't meant to discourage. If anything, it sets a goal of somewhere around how much riding is needed to get good. The simple fact is that riding a dirt bike in different condtions every week, heck, different conditions every lap, getting starts, learning how to race, is a collection of, literally, 1,000's of hours of learning all the litte things over and over and over. Plus talent. Plus determination. Plus heart. Plus some luck.

 

I''d enjoy the hell out of it if, in 10 years, you come on here and tell me I was wrong. Lotta people succeed because someone told them they couldn't do it.

 

In any event, that's what a 12 year old would be facing.

Absolutely excellent post! If I could like this post 1000 times I would! Excellent advice and gives all of us food for thought! Even those of us that will never achieve that level! 

 

I used to ride a few hours 5 or 6 days a week when I was younger... I didn't progress as fast as my dad thought that I should so he stopped putting the time, effort and money into my riding. So I had a long break from the "serious" riding scene. I took up football and became very good at it and had a lot of natural talent, it ended up paying my way through college so I ran with it. When I got out of college I get back into the MX scene and started out in the beginner class because I had to relearn all of the fundamentals. I moved to C the following season and won just about every moto I entered. I moved to B the season after that and realized that it was a totally different world. It made me push my limits and realize that the time off the bike added up 3 times as fast as the countless hours I put in on the bike when I was younger. I have been slowly working my way back since then.

 

In my case your advice is spot on... there are no breaks if you want to make it to the top. That means putting in the work on and off the bike. I learned a valuable lesson by my dad taking riding away from me... the things you stated in your post applies to everything you do when you become an adult. There is always putting in one more hour than you on the job, or one more lap at the track, or one more mile on the bike. Most don't realize what it takes until it is too late.

 

Maybe he knew that I would not make it to the "show" and decided to teach me a "life" lesson or maybe he gave up on me... either way it worked out for me in the end! 

Edited by BDubb106
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