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I want to race but...

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I've done a little practice riding at a mellow track we have around here which was really fun so I am thinking that I would like to give racing a try. There are a few catches though: I am getting a bit old at 33 to really go all out. I have a wife and kid (and another on the way) that depend on me so I don't want to end up in the hospital for a month. I wouldn't consider myself a good rider - I am able to leisurely cruise around the track and catch a little air off most of the jumps but I ain't doing no doubles or even clearing the table tops for that matter. I also get a bit intimidated at the practice days by all of the better riders out there, although I am getting more comfortable riding around them and becoming more trusting that they'll avoid me. My bike is a 05' WR450 which although not a bad bike is not exactly set up for MX style riding. I wouldn't say I'm overly aggresive but I do have a bit of a competative streak in me.

So, I am wondering how I could go about getting into racing on a more recreational or casual level. I would like to ride against other racers who are about as good as me or just a little better. Is there a class for me or should I just stick to trail riding? I could race in offroad races such as enduros or hare scrambles but I think that MX or GP races would be more fun. I live in the Pacific Northwest about an hour east of Portland so I am hoping to find something relatively close that I could occassionally participate in. The two most appealing tracks to me are Alderdale and Eddieville. Washougal isn't too far away but I'm thinking it may be a little much for me at least initially. Is there any hope for me? Thanks.

Matt

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There are many different classes to ride. Start off in the begginer or race some age classes. Just go out and have fun thats why we all ride. Just remember practice with faster riders and you will get faster regardless of age as long as your positive and open minded. Good luck!

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Try to get some of your friends into it with you, or go to an age-based ride and make some friends with them. With the exception of completly smoking a group of people you don't know, trying to keep up with my friends is THE most fun i can have riding.. be it on the track or in the desert. If you're up for a "casual" race, then race with friends that have the same mindset. No matter where you go, theres always going to be somone faster then you (the local bubba..), so there is no point in being intimidated. Racers range from the super aggressive to the mildly goofing off, so try and line up next to the people you want to race against and let everyone else do their thing.

I personally wouldn't ever enter a race unless i was going to try and win it.. but i'm pretty aggressive when it comes to competition. I'm sure more "experience" (read: age) will calm me down :cry:

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snmhanson,

STAY OUT OF THE BEGINNER CLASSES.

Some of those guys are dangerous.

Not slamming the beginner riders, our sport needs them ..... they simply aren't experienced yet. And most of them don't have families to support such as yourself, and me. :cry:

Some sort of 30+ Vet class will most likely be home to some pretty fast guys, but most of them have been at it for a long time and they know what thery're doing. Therefore, making it safer for you.

Get into a Vet class ....

Control your adrenaline level, ride at your ability, and have a good time.

It's better to get lapped in the Vet class, than to win in the beginner classes considering the risks involved.

And by all means, get to know the people around you. That's 50% of the fun at the MX track. It's amazing how close knit everyone is. It's like a big, extended family.

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You are never to old to race, at 33 you have more than half of your life to look foward too!! Mx for me is the greatest thing in my life (Besides my family). I started racing again when I was 39 and my son turned 6. We both got new bikes and we race about 20 races a year.

Racing is alot different than what it looks like from the side lines. You are pretty much in charge of what happens, and it is way more fun than you can amagine. I allways try to race in the vet classes, all the guys are just like me and you, they love to race but they know that they have a family to support and a job to go to on monday.

Your WR 450 will probably need stiffer springs and you'll need to strip off the enduro stuff , but it will be real close to a 5 speed YZ with e-start!! In the vet classes its 75% rider and 25% bike so with lots of practice you'll be just fine... Have fun Troy 140

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Like they said, your never to old to race. haha But hey, don't be intimidated by them, just go out and practice. Start out by racing the beginner class. The class will be great for you to race in for a year or so. Once you improve your skills you can move up to the next level. I hope you do decide to start racing mx, because it's the greatest thing ever. I'm going to tell you how it felt in my first ever race.

In my first mx race ever, I pulled the holeshot, but soon got passed by everyone but about 3 people. Even though, I didn't do to good my first race, once I came in and got my helmet off, this was running through my head, " Man this is so much fun, Im already ready for the next round. This has to be the most fun sport in the world."

Just go out and have fun.

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Like MX89 said after your first race whether you get 1st or laast, you'll be counting the days down to the next round. Give a try and I guarantee you will not be disappointed :cry:

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snm,

I am generally in the same boat as you. I am 34 years old and have ridden off and on for my whole life but was never able to afford racing until recently (the last 2-3 years). So when I decided to race for the first time there was the dilemma as to which class to race. At the time I was living in Michigan and went to a race to watch the different classes. What I found out was that I did not want to enter into any of the age classes (i.e., 30+, 35+, etc.), at the track where I went to watch (Baja) the 30+ class guys were grouped with the Expert (A) class guys and were actually beating them. When I asked about it, some guy there told me that the 30+ class is where all of the "old" pros race. I also came to the conclusion that the C class was out as well because as DL126 said, alot of those guys are kids (teens) just moving up to 250s or new to the sport with no experience. In the case of the kids moving up, they were probably A or B class 125 riders and since they are new to the 250 class, they can get away with entering the C class even though they scorching fast. The beginners won't be fast but since they are young and don't have responsibilities, they are less likely to be worried about being able to show up to work on Monday and are therefore potentially dangerous.

Some tracks are becoming more accomodating to the influx of us "new" racers, the 30 somethings that are now financially able to start racing, and are starting to have 30+ Beginner classes so we can race with other guys that are new to the sport, want to race and still be able to walk into work on Monday mornings. Some tracks even go so far as to have a 30+ non-jumping class (no doubles allowed).

Sorry for the long windedness. Good luck with your racing, its definitely addicting. Just go out and have a blast. :cry:

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A few words of warning, make sure you learn how to adjust your suspension before you jump with that wr450. A hard landing with the soft original settings can break or sprain your ankles. Gary Semics has a nice four part mx training course I got emailed to me through his website that covers all the basics to get you started. It was very helpful, I was doing doubles and table tops on my first and only time on an mx track. :cry:

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I just started running in the 250 beginner class around here. Luckily it's made up of mostly 125 open class riders who have seat time on smaller bikes. It's a bit wild and woolly but keep your head and ride within your abilities and you'll be ok. Nothing beat's the feeling when you line up for the second moto and the kid you smoked in the first one looks over and says "man that's a nice bike, it's fast!". O by the way, I'm 44 years old on a CRF450. In my last race I went from last place on the start to 3rd place in 200 yards or so, about all the other riders saw was a red blur going by. Remember the old adage about age and treachery... :cry:

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ride a hare and scramble, some of the HS courses ride a combo of woods AND MX tracks, a great one coming up is florida trail riders, they will host a HS event in gainesville fl at gatorback which is home of the mini oylmpics and formerly gatorback mx nationals. it will be around a 6 mile loop with 1.5 miles of it on the mx track. this way you get best of both worlds

as far a pure mx racing, my short mx experience says to ride the day before the mx event during open practice and figure out who you will be riding against and get into these little pre-races. you can learn alot by getting behind someone and watching their lines

john

03 crf450

gainesville fl

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I started riding @ 36 and racing not even half a year ago @ 37. The beginner class is a fine place to start. The other guys out there are like you ('cept the weak ass sandbaggers) and want to have fun and improve their riding.

Why run w/ more advanced riders only to have them dust you from the start??? You probably won't get the holeshot in your first race, but who cares. Take in the action and stay close to other riders. Racing w/ the pack and practice are like night and day. If you race with a bunch of fast guys, you'll end up alone - just like practice.

Your nerves will be nuts before your first moto. Just go with the flow and and trust me, the second moto will be half as crazy. Your first moto will be unlike any riding you've done; 15-20 bikes all around you! Just be calm and cautious and after a turn or two things will settle a bit.

Up here (Utah), there's a Friday night arenacross series of 12 races that I run in the Sportsman class - yeah... old "married w/ kid(s)" guys. I know for a fact I can hang if not dust any of those guys in a one-on-one type practice day ride, but like I said above, racing with 15 guys is a whole other deal. I did manage to go from last to 5th in my first ever moto and got third overall that night. :cry:

If you go out and run with guys much faster than yourself, you won't learn pud'n. Run w/ the slower guys and when some of the faster guys in the pack fall, you'll get an easy place or two and that'll be fun too.

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Go do it. I'm 37, entered my first race last Sunday and had a great time. Vet begginer class. Here are a few things I learned.

Make sure all your controls are positioned comfortably for you.

Add some more rebound dampening to your shock. Clockwise

When the gate drops go. The fast guys will be ahead of you anyway.

Pay attention to whats in front of you. Anything off to either side doesn't matter.

I never worked so hard to have fun before but its worth it.

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