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My first race this weekend...need advice

Joined
Aug 12, 2003
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#1
Let me start by giving you my MX background. I started riding about 4 months ago. I started on a CR250 and moved up to a CRF450 after about a month and a half. I ride 1-2 times a week at a local practice track (TNT Motorsports Park). I went to a local AX race a couple months ago and decided it looks like fun and that I want to give it a shot so.....I got my AMA and signed up for this weekends Charlotte AX race. I will be riding the begeinner 250/450 race. This class is "supposed" to be for riders with 6 months or less MX experience. So my question is what should I expect? Am I crazy? Do they change the track layout any for Sundays amatuer day or is it exactly the same? The beginner class is not allowed to "double the large catapult", whatever thats supposed to mean. Whats the best-fastest way to tackle this jump if we cant double it (i assume that we arent allowed to jump it at all). Should i expect to get my a55 handed to me or could i actually do well in this class? What kind of things should i look out for or do you have any sound advise for me? I know i asked a lot of ?'s but the nerves are starting to get a little jittery and i want to go into this as prepared as possible. Thanks for any help you all might be!
 

High Lord Gomer

Poked with Sticks
Joined
Sep 26, 1999
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#2
Honestly, I doubt you'd find any other true beginners doing amature day at the AX.

I have done some indoor races where they will smooth the whoops some for amatures and even throw in a small kicker jump before the big ones to keep the amatures from trying to make them.

As far as what to expect...
  • Traction...and lots of it!.  They usually put hard, tacky dirt inside and your bike will hook up and wheelie like it never has before.  When you go out for practice stop and actually simulate a start if you can.  I've never raced the 450 indoors, but I used to actually use first for indoor starts.
  • Ruts.  Depending on the sand content of the clay they haul in you may or may not encounter ruts in the jump faces.  Remember to squeeze the bike with your knees/legs when you go up those jumps to keep the bike from kicking sideways.  I would also suggest that once you are lined up for a rut and comitted to it, look past it and stay on the gas.  Second guessing yourself, staring at the rut, and backing off the throttle all create more problems than they avoid.
  • Getting passed...alot!  There will be a couple of actual B riders in the D class.  Remember to take safe lines overt he jumps to avoid getting landed on.  Don't roll over the center of a jump if there is a chance that someone will come behind you and land on you.  Also, if you hit a jump on one side, stay on that side until well past the jump so that you don't swerve into the path of a faster rider.
  • Fast paced schedule.  They tend to run very short practices and races with little to no time between.  Sometimes you have to line up 5 or 6 races beforehand in a tunnel to make it to the line for your race.  Ask around and try to find someone in the pits who has done them before so you can follow them to the line and understand the schedule.  If they say the pits open at 7:00 for a 9:00 race, be outside the door dressed and waiting at 6:30.
  • Security.  Sometimes the pits are open to the public or even just outside in the parking lot.  Make sure you have your stuff secured when you are not there.  Even just a little thing like a bolt through the brake rotor might prevent someone from easily walking away with your bike while you are inside watching someone else's practice.
  • Help.  Make sure you bring someone with you to help with any minor emergency repairs that you might need.  Stressing over hurrying to fix something between races sucks.  If you don't have a friend to act as mechanic, I'll volunteer one of the Charlotte guys in our group to help you. :)
  • Walk the track and watch the other classes practice so you can know what to expect.  Pay attention to the lines other riders are taking so you can figure out where and how to pass (or expect others to try to pass you).
  • Parts.  Bring extra parts that you might need.  Nothing worse than missing a race because of not having a $5 part.  I would suggest: Spark plug, front and rear tubes, cluch and brake levers, clutch perch, some zip-ties, electrical tape, and duct tape.
  • Numbers.  What number are you running?  If someone else signs up before you with the same number, be ready to put a slash across it with tape, or bring an extra "1" that you can insert if there is room.
  • Potty. :) You *will* need to go again when you get to the line, so go beforehand.  Another reason it's nice to have a friend there to hold your bike while you are in the 30 minute staging line before getting on the track.
  • Multiple classes.  The races are short, so you should have no problem running more than one class.  Maybe 250 Beginner and +40 (how old are you?)
  • Pictures.  We want lots of pictures afterwards.  Also remember to tell us what you wish we would have told you beforehand that we forgot.
Good luck!  I wish I could make it up there this weekend.
 

whyzee

Never enough time !
Joined
Dec 24, 2001
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#3
Good luck, remember to just have fun and not get frustrated as the sandbaggers are knocking your number plates off. Holler if ya need a hand Saturday, I'm sure you have a helping hand already though. If ya make it out alive, stop in at TNT Sunday and tell us how you did.
HLG, great advice!
 

Jamir

I come and go
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Aug 7, 2001
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#4
I have been riding for 20 years and I still feel like beginner day at AX is above my level!

Of course I am lazy, fat, and out of shape. Good luck man!
 
Joined
Aug 12, 2003
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#6
I survived my first race / arenacross

Not only did I survive I placed second! AX has to be the craziest thing I have ever done with my clothes on. I had an absolute blast. Thanks everyone for your tips and suggestions earlier in the week. Check out the link for complete race results. I raced 250cc Beginner. http://www.arenacross.com/results/2004/charlotte/04charlotte_sun.html