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Northeastern Illinois Riding Opportunities and Other Questions

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Hello everyone. I have a few questions regarding the availability for off-road excursions in Northeastern Illinois and the best bike to get.

I have over 20 years of riding experience with last 10 years or so concentrating almost exclusively on road racing. Last fall I got into a serious wreck and injuries at Road America and decided to give up the track and just ride on the street. Well, the street thing just not offering me the fix I came to expect from racing around various tracks in the area. Since the track time is getting pretty expensive I am seriously considering in getting into some kind of off-road riding.

This forum looks like the place to ask these questions.

I live just North of Chicago. How is the riding availability within 100 – 200 mile radius? I am not looking to race, but I am not against closed course riding. I know of Silver Lake in Michigan, Bong recreation area in Wisconsin (pretty lame). Any others? Given above parameters would you consider Chicagoland as a decent place to own a motocross bike?

Which bike to get? With all time I spent on the track I have never owned a serious off-road machine. I definitely want to buy a larger displacement 4 stroke. My tendency is to get a motocrosser such as CRF450R, RMZ450, or YZ450F. I know these bikes are serious track machines, but could they also if needed serve as a decent trail bike? The only bike that seems to bridge the gap nicely is the WR450F. Honda’s XR400R and Suzukis DR400E seem crude by comparison.

Thanks for helping a noob.

www.roadczar.com

:thumbsup:

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Hey there newbie! I live in Oglesby, IL near Ottawa and it is a great place to have a bike :thumbsup: My area is about an hour or so from you (maybe a little longer) and there are a lot of places for us to ride. Byron, Walnut, Mt. Carrol, Ottawa just to name a few.

Check out the midwest forum for all the info you can handle about riding in this area (and probably a little more if the Iowa guys take over the thread :devil:)

I ride a CRF450 and it is a great track and a decent woods bike for the type of trails you'll find around here. Just gets a little hot if you get into the tight stuff.

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Wow a great response in less than half hour. I am used to 4 hour one way drives to Grattan and Putnam. An hour worth of driving for me will seem like next door. Good news - thanks!

:thumbsup:

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While I appreciate Matts enthuseism, I have a different take on the area. I live in Cary, 45 miles NW of Chicago. I have been riding since 1974 and racing since 1979. I am semi-retired and haven't raced since last year. I consider myself a proffesional practice rider now.

Used to have about 20 places to ride local with-in a 1/2 hour. Now I have 1 and its only a 1/2 acre arnacross track. Yes, Ottowa, Byron, fox valley off road, all good places, but when you've been riding the same areas for 25 years, it gets real old, real fast. Not to mention a 2 hour drive.

Oh how I long for some new open woods terrain. I was in Iowa last week camping at Pikes Peak and it seemed like there should be a ton of riding place around there, but in 3 days didn't see a single bike?

I digress, but don't let my poor outlook stop you, there are plenty of places to ride and lots of private practice tracks if you can get in with the right people. I have been thinking of selling my house and trying to buy land and open a track, but I think I'm just dreaming. :devil:

IMO the best track in the area is MC motopark in Mt Carol. But if you are afraid of big air it might not be the place for you. Lots of elevation changes and he mixes a lot of sand with the dirt.

Good luck, we should do a midwest TT ride. :thumbsup:

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Oh, and something to consider when buying a 4 stroke, the 1 track near my house I can ride at the guy's wife won't allow 4 stokes cause they are so loud. Very glad I kept a 2-smoke around for just those occasions. Please check out my bikes on my signiture.

:thumbsup:

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Thanks JohnyO. :thumbsup: I appreciate all your thoughts. I guess I was not expecting too much as far as finding open woods terrain. I am used to going in circles whether it the racecourse or Kettle Moraine on my mountain bike. I am just trying to get off the street without the expense of another road track bike. The cost of operating a motocrosser seems to be a 1/3 compared track bike. Here are some more noob questions. Is there a FAQ where I can learn this stuff?

Is competition license required on a closed course?

What are the typical closed course routines?

Are there dedicated pit areas?

Are lap sessions and split up even, odd, amateurs, experts?

Are there corner workers?

Or is it free for all?

How many riders are typically in session?

LOL, you can tell I'm a roadie. Road tracks are pretty well organized down to having ambulances with engines running while the track is hot.

Nice collection of bikes.

Here is what I am used to:

RA0310_4.jpg

More at www.roadczar.com

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Is competition license required on a closed course? You will need an AMA card and a district card to race. Just an AMA for practice tracks. Not all practice tracks require AMA but Byron has recently. :devil:

What are the typical closed course routines? Huh? All tracks are different. :lol:

Are there dedicated pit areas? Yes. Usually not so great, sometimes on a slope or whatever is available. :D

Are lap sessions and split up even, odd, amateurs, experts? Normally yes, but you always get yo-yo's going back and forth. :D

Are there corner workers? Normally yes, some young kid picking his nose, looking anywhere but were he should be. :lol:

Or is it free for all? Yeah, sometime open practice is like that until they get enough people to split into groups. :D

How many riders are typically in session? How many can they fit on the track? Usually too many - one of the reasons I don't race anymore.

LOL, you can tell I'm a roadie. Road tracks are pretty well organized down to having ambulances with engines running while the track is hot. They are supposed to have an ambulance ready. :awww:

Nice collection of bikes. Thanks. :snore:

Here is what I am used to: Cool Picture :thumbsup:

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My new ride: 2002 YZ426 What do I do now? :cry::cry:

Go out and get that thang dirty :cry: :cry:

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