Motocross Safety Advice
Motocross is a dangerous sport and participants should understand that accidents are an almost inevitable part of racing. Due to the nature of the competition, the rough terrain, man-made and natural obstacles and the performance characteristics of the machines, it is a near certainty that every rider will experience not just one crash but many. Nevertheless, motocross riders can take steps to reduce the likelihood of serious crashes.
First of all, before attempting to ride at race speeds, riders should take time to walk the track and fully examine all the racing surfaces. Also, ensure the motorcycle is in perfect working order before the event.
Check that tyres have good tread and are inflated to the proper pressure. There must be no loose or broken parts, because jagged edges can easily cut the rider or a rival in a crash and a broken fender can easily come loose and lock up a wheel, causing a massive crash.
Look over the bike and ensure that all the bolts, nuts and fasteners are tight. Check plastic bolts, the controls and handlebars, triple clamps, axles, motor mounts, sprockets, spokes and rear suspension linkage. This has to be done on a regular basis, as racing will vibrate these loose.
Of course, the engine must be running smoothly. Simple things like air filters and spark plugs can cause crashes if not maintained properly, so start each day with a clean air filter, change the engine oil often and use a good quality gear lube. Make sure there is enough fuel in the tank to complete the next race, as running out of fuel on the take-off of a jump can be disastrous.
The bike should always be suited to the rider’s size, weight, skill level and intended use. A rider must be able to reach all the controls while sitting and standing. In addition to positioning, check that the clutch, front brake, gear shifter and rear brake pedal are in good shape. The suspension has to be set up for the rider’s weight and skill too, and adjusted for track conditions. Poorly set up suspension will not only cause the rider to fatigue quickly, it can cause the rider to lose control.
Riders are expected to wear certain safety gear as a minimum, including a helmet, motocross boots, chest protection, gloves, goggles, long sleeve shirt and long trousers. Although this will not completely eliminate the possibility of injury, it can substantially reduce the number and range of injuries a rider is exposed to. As well as this basic set of protection, all riders should consider investing in some sort of neck protection.
During the race itself, a rider should always:
- Enter and exit tracks at authorised entry and exit points.
- Only attempt obstacles within the limits of their ability, experience, and physical condition and suited to their motorcycle.
- Check for on-coming traffic before re-entering the track
- Hold his line when negotiating a jump.
- Follow all verbal and written instructions of track personnel.
- Protect a seriously injured rider by warning on-coming traffic if no flagger or other help is available.
- Wear the best safety equipment possible.
And a rider should never:
- Jump across the track in front of others unless convinced no contact with other riders will result.
- Change lines or direction while rolling jumps.
- Attempt to pass under a yellow flag or jump on a yellow or medical flag.
- Ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Cut the track.