BY CARL BASTEDO
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT—Heard that before? Some of those old sayings have a lot of truth in them. You have to go a little further in the case of Motocross and many other sports because it’s not only how often you practice, but how you practice, that makes perfect.
To attain a high level of competence in Motocross and win, you need to practice lots. Just as Tiger Woods will call in his coach to work on his swing during a major tournament and Ricky Carmichael will be out on the practice track the Sunday after a National Supercross, you need to practice, practice and then practice some more.
It’s “HOW YOU PRACTICE” that will make you better. First of all keep in mind that it is a more relaxing atmosphere than a race, however, you still have to do a lot of the things you should do on race day. Assuming you’ve prepped your bike, washed your gear and arrived at the practice area. First of all, never practice alone, if you don’t have another rider to go with, at least have a friend/family along with you. Remember, just like race day you’ve got to warm up and do some stretching exercises. They can be done after your dressed or you can warm up by walking the track prior to getting ready to ride. Start thinking about what you want to accomplish while walking the track, there are different lines you can try, obstacles you want to perfect, corners you want to rail.
Racing is all about time. Motocross is not as exacting as say, Formula 1 racing, and that’s what makes it more exciting to watch, but especially at the pro level, it really is about consistency, lack of mistakes and time, that’s one of the main reasons your practicing.
When your ready to go, the first thing you’ll want to do is take 3 or 4 laps to get used to the days track conditions and loosen up. Then when you come back take water or a sports drink, check the bike over. Then head to the line for a full moto (a full moto can be 15 minutes for a Novice rider up to 40 minutes for a pro). One of the reasons you want someone with you is that you want every lap timed and you want them to give you the ½ way and 2 laps to go signal. Consistency and Concentration are two of the things you want to practice. Start on the starting line and ride the entire track at close to full race speeds for a full moto. After your moto take a good long break, check the bike all over, have something to drink, an apple or something, relax while thinking about each part of the track and how you might take each section faster. It’s a good idea to put the track together in you mind by sections.
If you can’t go hard for the full 15 to 40 minutes, then start with 10 minutes or 20 minutes, whatever, you will be able to build your strength up after a couple weeks.
Don’t ride hard for 10 minutes and cruise the rest of the time. Just come in and rest.
Then its time for Moto 2. Same scenario, time each lap, try to be as consistent as possible and maintain your concentration on the course and your riding. Think about your body position, what the best lines are, how you might pass another rider in a race situation. Check on your conditioning, are you getting to tired to maintain your speed late in the moto? Your times will tell you that and if so you may have to adjust your training program.
Keep your times for future reference. Your aim is to get faster and just as important, be consistent. Reduce your mistakes, the speed will come.
After moto 2 and a good rest and bike checkover you can think about what you need to practice most. Take flat corners for instance. Then find a place where you can put up a couple markers and start going around in a circle building your entrance and exit speed to the corners each lap. Keep at it until you get tired and start making mistakes. Finish off by practicing starts, don’t forget to follow through the first corner and watch for other riders on the track. Then clean things up, pack up and relax. You’ve done good and will probably ride better in the next race. Try to get out and practice at least once a week during the season if you’re a Novice rider, at least three times if you’re a pro.