racing for first time

O.k here's the deal. I am 34 and am a beginner to riding a four stroke. I recently purchased a 01' 426 and love it. I also have a desire to race but am unsure of level of ability before entering an over the hill beginner class. I can jump small doubles and have a decent start, but 60'doubles are out of the question. I live in oregon and have two nationals type tracks and one supercross track availible.

Please advise

Pin it and hope for the best. Oh yeah - make sure you have really good health insurance first...

Now for reality. Do whatever you can to build up forearm strength/stamina. I started riding over 40 MX this past month and my arms are the first things to go each race. I recommend getting your suspension set up by someone who knows how to do it, it will help keep the fatigue down a lot. I'm not talking about a major rework, just get the clickers, sag, and fork oil specs dialed in. It will help and it won't cost a ton of money.

The other biggies - breathe, relax, and stretch before riding/racing.

My two cents worth...

Paul in AZ

Fireguy , I live in oregon too! I was just starting to race MX 2&1/2 years ago. What tracks are close to you? Maby we can meet at The Albany track on the 11th. You need to start out slow but I could help. It was a little much at first but now I can do 60+ size jumps.

Hey there, I'm in Oregon also. Dont worry about the jumps, everyone thinks you have to do BIG air, forget what you see the fast guys do and go out ride at a pace that is comfy and SAFE for you. At first dont ride the center of the jumps, its better to stay to the side, that way the faster riders have a clean line to jump. "Hold your line" its much easier for a faster ride to pass , if hold your line rather than swerve around trying to get out of their way. Your first few times on the track just ride smart and be safe, it makes no sence to go out and hurt yourself by trying to stay with the fast guys, the speed and big air will come in time. Which tracks will you be going to, my favories are Washougal & Albany.


Fireguy, I was in your exact situation. Last April I bought a '00 426 and it is the first MX bike I've ever had. I started taking it to the track around Sept. or

Oct. every other week or so and more recently I try to ride almost once a week at the track. I didn't plan on racing until this coming summer or at the soonest this March since I am turning 35 and could then ride the Senior class (35+). Well around December I decided to just go for it and jumped in the 250 beginner class. I finished last the first race and was about a half lap back. Made the rookie mistakes like stalling it at the gate then taking at least a dozen kicks to get it started. They even raised the gate back up and I had to back up and go around it. Don't regret it for a second. I got the butterflies out the way. Raced twice since then and finished 17/25 and 14/20, so I'm working up to speed now. So now when I would have been still nervously waiting to start my racing "career" I am instead ahead of the game. I can now jump into the Senior class with a little experience under my belt. The track is full of guys on Sat. practice who like to ride but don't think they are up to racing. They are missing out BIGTIME. What helped me out the most was hooking up with a more experienced rider, Boit, whom I met through this website. It is a tremendous help to have a veteran rider show you the ropes and answer all those rookie questions. So in conclusion, my advise is to do it now- don't put it off. If you finish dead last, so what. Enjoy it and before you know it you will be running with the pack.

I'm 37 and did my first race last summer. A few things I might suggest:

- Don't do like me and do a race the first time you get on a track. Try going to a few practice rounds first.

- My goal for that first race was to come in second to last or better, I got 3rd to last woohoooo!

- It's just like learning to snow ski. You need to hold your line and forget about those fast guys passing you. Just like skiing, as long as you hold your line they will go around you as if you weren't even on the track.

- Don't forget to relax, and BREATH. I've ridden since I was a little kid and I got arm pump for the first time that night.

- Ride your race. Good lap times are mainly the start, the whoops, and turns especially the entrance to turns. Big air for amatuers just slows you down.

- Let yourself be intimidated. Those kids who are flying by you are either sponsored or they don't yet have the responsibilities you and I do. Remember you are there just for the experience of it, you will not win unless most of them fall over.

I ended up racing 10 races last summer and I loved every minute of it. I did bring a few plaques and trophies home and some because I actually outran some people. I also made lots of new friends both at the track and here on these forums. Lots of those friends ended up with serious injuries. Understand the danger of this sport.

As for equipment, get all you can afford. On my first race I looked like a hill-billy with old worn out blue jeans, work boots, and a t-shirt with the sleeves cut off. My ankles took 2 weeks to heal lol. I gradually bought better equipment and it's worth every penny. Good luck and have fun...

A couple of important things come to mind...don't buy cheap helmets or boots.

I am convinced that racing at anything less than the pro level, proper suspension set up is far more important than getting the engine worked. You MUST feel comfortable and confident in the handling traits of your machine in order to push yourself a little further on the speed scale.

Larry Roeseler has taught me that training, practice and confidence in the motorcycle are the keys to going fast. I am 44 and have been racing for many years. I am faster now than at any point in my life. It does not happen over night. Work hard, be patient, learn by watching the fast guys and the results will improve.


I am 36 and got back into riding three years ago. I have been out for the last eight months due to a broken collar bone. Broke it jumping out of a ditch not at the track.

I was doing the odd race until then. It's a blast, you should try one and see if you like it. Here is my list of race item.

I get good gear. Especialy a helmet and boots. I think it is impossible to have too much gear on! Well, ok three boots would be stupid.

I always remind myself that motocross is a hobby and it is not my job.

If you are not having fun something is wrong.

I always stay relaxed.

Don't worry about how you finish. You are not getting paid so who cares.

I have finshed from 2nd to last. Some of the funnest races is where I got last. I always think play time.

This has already been mentioned but you can't over state this. Hold your line at all cost. You will get tagged hard if you drift all over the track. Once you get use to racing you will get a feel for moving around more on the track.

Jumping, one of my riding buddies my age got back into racing after ten years. He was not use to any of the jumps. So he did not jump. He won the Vet novice class. Then moved up and won the Vet B class. In this class he went to the other riders and told them he was not jumping the big jumps. He hop on top of the tabble tops and then nailed it.

Moral, there are more turns on a motocross track than hard jumps.



01 YZ426F #85 Vet C

[This message has been edited by forloop (edited 02-27-2001).]

NEVER give up, be relentless and tenacious. ride your bike like the late, great dale earnhardt drove his car, it may not earn you many friends, but competitors will respect you and winning is always better than losing, no matter how many people are pissed off at you.

Thanks for all the input- To let you guys know on some of the items, I have tech 6 boots and a fox 2001 helmet, pants, and chest protector. I the advise on staying on line and to the side of the big jumps is greatly appriciated. Another question? I have tried starts in second and can't keep the front end down. Any suggestions?

Thanks again for the advise and this site is great!

Sit more to the front (gripper seat helps) Lean foward ,less throttle ,smoother on clutch. Concrete is different you sit upright till you hit the dirt. What tracks are you close to? I could help.

[This message has been edited by Clod Thrower (edited 02-27-2001).]

Clutch!. It took me a bit to get this right on the thumper. The thumper's find traction. Scoot forward as far as possible. I put both feet on the ground by the front wheel. Wait for board to go sideways, turn the thorttle as far as you would dare and let the clutch out just before it starts pulling. Keep the front brake on so you don't roll into the gate. Then, when the gates drops let the clutch out easy. Keep throttle turn and if the front comes up apply the clutch a little. After 10 or so feet you should have thing sorted out.



01 YZ426F #85 Vet C

I still have the same problem also with the front end coming up. I find when I practice starts at home this doesn't happen, so I think it is from being overanxious when I see that gate drop. I guess the key is to stay smooth with the clutch. 3rd gear starts are easier but some guys said this is bad for the bike. My friend raced with me for the first time in 18 years and took the holeshot (out of 20 riders) using the 3rd gear start. It is easier to keep the front end down and you don't have to shift again usually. Just may not be good for your bike.

I posted the 3rd gear start question a few months ago. I was definitely faster using 3rd but I didn't like the feel/sound of the engine (clutch) when doing it. Most guys seemed to feel this was too hard on the clutch to make it a regular practice. I don't use third on starts anymore as a result of the TT forum opinions.

Well, I raced for the first time this weekend and it was an educational experience. I practiced on sat. and raced on sun. with some guidence on sat I had a good start in second gear and was in 5th or 6th out of 20 to the second corner and then crashed. My clutch and comp. brake came together and finished 19th with no clutch. Second moto good start but was hit on first corner still finished 14th. Thanks Again for all the input and advise. I am definitly hooked now.

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