A few weeks ago we posted a Tuesday Tip on getting serious with motocross racing. Since then we’ve received a few emails from people that are just getting into the sport, or just bought a motorcycle and wanted to know more about the basics in getting started with racing. Curt recently sent us this email:
I just bought myself a new dirt bike and was wondering how to start motocross and Supercross races?
Well Curt, I probably wouldn’t jump right into Supercross races as a beginner, but here are a few basics to consider for getting started with MX racing…
1. Are You a Moto-Dad in the Making?
Curt, we realize you are asking about yourself, but some of you out there are reading this because you want to get your kid(s) started in MX racing, and that’s great! But, if you’re reading this because you have dreams of raising the next Bubba Stewart, just remember, your kids should race because they want to. You need to be careful not to pressure them too hard. Kids don’t have to race to have fun riding their dirt bike, but if they have the desire and skill to race, then by all means, go for it! Just remember to be supportive along the way.
2. Figure Out Where to Race
Okay, now that we know that we have our moto-dad disclaimer out of the way, the first thing you need to figure it is where you’re going to race. Are you going to race a series, or just occasional weekends?
As a first-timer you may want to start out by just hitting a local race that has the right class for your bike and ability. From there you can look into racing a local series. Almost every track has some level of local weekend racing with a beginner class. Some even offer night racing and other special events.
If you’re looking to try your hand at a full series, check out the AMA website (www.ama-cycle.org) for links to AMA-sanctioned events. In most areas, however there are other races series that are not part of the AMA, this is especially true in California and other western states. You may want to check out race organizations like the CMC (www.cmcmotocross.com), which runs the popular Golden State Nationals in Oregon and California.
3. Sign-Up for the Right Class
You don’t want to line-up against a group of experienced racers your first time out there. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about racing the beginner class. Also, keep in mind there are going to be “sandbaggers,” it’s just a fact of life, especially in local races that don’t force a rider to move up a class based on a certain number of wins, or some other similar scheme.
4. Get Some Practice Time
Needless to say, as a beginner you don’t want your first time on a track to be race day. So, once you’ve figured out where you’re going to race, find out when the track has open practice days and go put in some practice laps. This will help you to be more familiar with the track and let you know what to expect on race day. Is there a particularly tricky step-up or double that you need to be prepared for? How is the start straight, sandy, rocky, rutted? These are the types of things you should be looking at on practice day.
5. Consider Professional Instruction
Like anything else, it really pays to get started racing the right way, and joining a motocross school, or taking private lessons from an experience, professional instructor can go a long way to improving your skills—and enjoyment—on the track. Here’s a list of a just a few motocross schools/trainers out there, a quick Google search should find plenty to choose from in your area:
- Gary Semics MX School (www.gsmxs.com)
- Gary Bailey MX School (
- Donnie Hansen Motocross School (www.dhma.com)
- Rick Johnson MX School of Champions (www.mxschoolofchampions.com)
6. Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help
If you are out at your local track, talk to some other riders or a member of the track crew about local races. You can also often find local info at your nearest motorcycle dealer or repair shop.
Good luck, and be sure to send us some photos of your first race!