Friday, May 20, 2011

XTREME: Motocross

Welcome to the first article in my XTREME Sports series. Today I'll be covering Motocross. This is the how-to, where-to, and know-how you'll need to get involved and start watching or participating!

(Very) Brief History:
Motocross dates back to the 1920's. It is the evolution of the British sport of Scrambles, a freestyle motorcycle event. Over the years as bikes have developed, the sport has also expanded. What differs in motocross today is the customization of bikes, addition of obstacles, terrain, and jumps. For an expanded history please see the additional links below.

Alright let's just get right into it, what will you need to get started?

Motocross is dangerous, there's no doubt about it. You should always be safe and wear your safety gear (gloves, helmet, goggles, and if you're especially cautious a chest protector, and hip pads). How are you going to get good at the sport if you break a bone the first week and have a 6 week - 6 month recovery time?

So now you've got your gear, what about a bike? If anyone else is like me then you put a Dirtbike on your Christmas list, but Santa just never had room on his sleigh. For you youngsters, you'll have some chores around the house to do for the next few months to convince your parents, but for the rest of us here are some great starter and intermediate bikes to look into:
- Honda CRF250R
- Kawasaki KX250F
- Yamaha YZ250F

Ready to Ride:
Alright let's do it, we're ready to test out the new bike, and we've got all our safety gear on. Well, where do we go? Your dirtbike is not street legal, so better to stay away from the roads. You may live near a large clearing in the woods, or have some dirt paths going around town, but I live in a much too rural area for this, so what to do?

Your best bet on finding good riding places is to ask your friends and look for flyers in your area for events and open courses. It seems like a daunting task, but you'll be surprised at how many of your friends heard of "an ill course" less than an hour away. One thing to note here is that if you feel you aren't experienced enough to enter an event, then don't! Maybe tear up your backyard a bit first and get a feel for the movement of the bike, no reason to rush things.

Entering an event is a great way to get some quick experience, learn a thing or two from the other riders, and meet new friends that one day could help you get sponsored!

Final Notes:
Riding motocross, or doing anything really, should be for fun. If you start to pursue money then you'll miss out on the fun of competition and meeting new people. On the other hand, if you are already an expert then contribute with a comment below and give all those newbie riders a chance to learn something from your $0.02. Remember, everyone was a newbie at some point, no one ever plobbed down on a bike and knew how to weave in and out of jumps, or use the bike's weight to your advantage. Below are some additional links and resources for you, there is a lot of information about motocross out there, take advantage of it.

Additional Links:
- Freestyle Motocross (History) (Awesome website and great history article on Motocross)
- Dirt Rider (Great magazine for all things motocross)
- Transworld Motocross (Another all-around Motocross website)
- Motocross (Wouldn't be right not to mention in all of this)

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