Although a surprising percentage of motocross riders never actually race, there are a lot of you out there that not only compete regularly, but want to take your racing to the next level. To help get you started on your path to MX racing glory, we talked to motocross trainer Eric Hall from Hall Training to find out what it takes to get serious about racing. Eric’s son, Levii Hall, has been riding and racing since the young age of five years old. With multiple amateur national wins, and numerous top-ten amateur national finishes, Eric and Levii have certainly figured out some of what it takes to have success on the track.
It Takes a Team
Whether we’re talking about Ricky Carmichael winning National Championships, Josh Hill taking Loretta’s titles, or kids winning local weekend races; rarely will you see any sustained success without some support. For the rest of us that aren’t the next prodigy of the sport, this typically comes from friends and family. We know ‘motodads’ tend to get a bad reputation for pushing their kids too hard, but for every dad trying to live his moto dreams through his kid there are countless others that are doing it right.
Whether it is the financial support to help pay track fees, time in the garage wrenching on the bike, or just standing at the starting line to give a few words of encouragement, having support around you is absolutely necessary.
Winning Starts With Physical Conditioning
“There is no doubt that to be successful in motocross–like any other sport–you have to be in good physical condition,” explained Eric. “Physical training is priceless to avoid injury, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. 20-30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise each day, combined with strength training is key.”
(Stay tuned to transworldmx.com for future Tuesday Tips on physical conditioning and training.)
Practice Doing Things Right
We have all heard the old adage Eric mentioned when talking about racing; “There is always something to work on.” As Eric explained, this can be anything from riding technique, to physical conditioning, to attitude or eating habits. At the level that Eric and Levii are at, they practice several times a week. Of course, not all of us can put that much time into it, but get out there and practice as much as you can. In the end nothing is as valuable as time on the bike. The more comfortable you are in practice, the more comfortable you are going to be when racing. This will help to combat race day jitters, not to mention the improvement in your lap times.
“Practice doing things right, and continue doing it the right way,” said Eric. “Using training videos is also helpful because it’s something you can do yourself. With video, you can repeat the lesson over and over instead of just having someone at the track tell you how to do something, do it once that day, and then the next day do it wrong again.”
This also means putting in the right kind of practice time. Don’t just hit your local track, spin a few quick laps and then spend the rest of the day bench-racing with your friends. Even at the local level, races can be long, much longer than a lot of us are used to riding in a single session. So, find out how long your races are typically going to run, and put in full-length practice motos. Be sure to track your lap and moto times when you do this.
Lap Times and Technique
As we talked with Eric, two things that came up over and over again were lap times and riding technique. “What you should do is set a goal for lap times. It’s really important to have a friend or family member time your laps and take video of you riding. When you see problems on video, you’ll know what you want to go out and fix.” When we watch and listen to trainers at the track, they don’t focus so much on overall finishing position, rather they focuus on lap times. Knowing that working on small adjustments to shave a few seconds off their lap times will lead to the better results they are after.
According to Eric, lane choice and cornering make the biggest difference between winning and losing. As Eric explaind, “You should watch the fastest riders at your local track and see the unqiue lines they take.” “Corners are where races are won and lost.” he went on to say.
Work Through the Losses
“It’s been a tough year,” said Eric of this past amateur season. “But as I said, we always have things to work on.”
You’re not going to win every race. Sometimes you may be struggling with new equipment, some days you may just be off your game. It’s important to have the right attitude to handle disappointing losses and move on to the next race.
Last, but not least, you need to enjoy it! We asked Eric what is was like when they first got started racing with Levii. “It was fun, experiencing the thrill of victory. Unfortunately, if you’re not careful, when you get to a certain level of riding it can become more like a job. You have to be careful to always make sure you are having fun doing it,” he said.