What mode are you in during practice? Full speed ahead until the checkered flag falls? Do you treat it like just another moto? Or are you actually learning while you’re out there?
Watching the pros during practice at most SX races, you can tell they’ve got a few goals for every session (and you can learn from how they operate).
- Don’t charge the first lap out
First laps out are usually pretty easy. Sure, they’re riding faster than most of us will ever go, but it’s still at only 75-80 percent of their normal speed. Yep, they’ve walked the track, but they’re looking for changes in it since the last time they were out. Stuff like new ruts, kickers on jumps, etc.
- Riding against the clock
After that is when they put in their hard laps. Several of their laps will be to see if they can put in a good time, and if changes they made from the last session helped them out.
- Play rolling spectator
After they’ve got their hard laps in, you’ll start to see them look around…either to find riders they want to check their speed against, or to look at how other riders are getting through a particular section. A lot of riders will stop somewhere on the track (like Chad’s doing below) to look around and get a different perspective. Just remember to follow your local track’s rules. Be courteous to other riders on the track and get well off the racing line (or off the track completely), and don’t park in blind areas.
- Final items
Finally, the last few minutes of practice, you’ll nearly always see everyone try at least one practice start. Don’t miss your chance to see how the racing surface holds up against a full power start (or two..or three).
Remember, getting the most out of practice isn’t just about putting your head down and going as fast as you can. Make your practice sessions as effective as possible, and you should score some better moto finishes.