#1 Get off the Seat and learn the Attack Position.
The first tip is to learn the attack position because it is the position you will be using for 90% of your motocross riding. The attack position is the most natural position for riding over obstacles at speed.
Here is the breakdown of the attack position –
Keep your knees bent. By doing this you can use your legs as extra suspension to absorb impacts at speed and to keep the bike under control.
Get your elbows high in the air. You do this for balance and to also use your arms to absorb impacts.
Head over the handlebars. You should be standing forward just enough that your head and upper part of your chest is over the handlebars and when you look down you should be able to see your number plate.
When you are moving fast you have to be up the pegs otherwise you will be kicked off. You should be in this attack position at least 90% of the time on a motocross track.
#2 Look at the Track at Least 5-10 Metres in Front of You.
When you are in the attack position your gaze should be straight out in front of you and your gaze should be at least 5-10 meters down the track. An easy trap to fall into is to look straight down just past your front dirt bike tire. The reason newbies do this is to manage close range obstacles like ruts straight in front of them. By looking straight down, you will find that your speed slows right down and you quickly give yourself rider fatigue. There’s just too much to take in if you are analyzing every little thing directly in front of you. The front of a dirt bike is designed to handle a smashing and so you need to trust that the bike will take care of any short term ruts directly in front of the bike. All you need to is keep your gaze up and forward and at the oncoming obstacles like jumps and corners. The bike will take care care of the rest and your speed will rapidly improve.
#3 Get off the Back Brake.
A newbie will always rely on the back brake too heavily. The problem with using too much back brake is that the tire slides in the dirt too much and your stopping power is hugely reduced. If you really want to improve your game, learn how to use the front brake more at a ratio of about 70/30. The 70/30 rule is a secret that has been used by motocross riders since the very beginning and is one of the keys to winning races. The 70/30 rule means that you should be using the brakes with 70% of the pressure on the front brake and 30% pressure on the back. By doing this the bike will be in perfect balance and your stopping power goes through the roof. This ratio takes a bit of practice to master but once you have got it nailed I can guarantee that you will never go back to slamming on the back brake anymore. The way to apply the right pressure with the 70/30 rule is to watch for sliding. You need to apply just enough pressure to the brakes without sliding the rubber in the dirt. If the tires start sliding on the front or back, ease off a bit to find that magic ratio.
#4 Roll Through the Corners.
What I mean by rolling through the corners is to make sure you do all your braking, accelerating and gear changing BEFORE your bike turns into the corner. A newbie will reduce speed using gears and brakes as the bike is in the turn and this is the wrong way to do it. Once they have reduced speed in the turn, they will probably wash off too much speed and will begin to use the accelerator during the turn which is also a bad habit to get into. As you speed into the corner you need to quickly assess the right speed and gear that you need to be in before you take the corner. Your speed should be enough to move through the corner at as much speed as possible but not too much so you overshoot the corner all together. Once you get your speed and gear right, let the bike coast around the corner and then only accelerate when the bike is through the corner and has straightened up. Accelerate too soon and your back end can wash out. This also takes a bit of practice but once you have mastered it, you feel like a motocross superstar.
#5 Ride Within your Skill Level.
Motocross tracks are designed to handle both beginners and advanced riders at the same time. It is important to ride at the speed and aggression level that YOU are comfortable with, even though advanced riders will be wizzing past you at 100 miles per hr. Don’t be tempted to hit the gas and try to keep up as this will lead to crashes and injuries. Ride at your comfort level and let the traffic pass you. If you are worried about traffic, just ask the motocross club when the quiet days are and you will virtually have the entire track to yourself! And of course, if there is a beginner track, jump onto that one first before working your way up to the more challenging tracks.
#6 Hold Your Riding Line.
Continuing on from this, when riding on a motocross track, stay on the line that you are on and don’t cross around the track. When you stay on your line it will make the faster riders be able to move around you easily as they can anticipate your direction. Also, don’t feel pressured to move your bike over for faster riders. Staying on your line is the best thing you can do to avoid an accident. Crossing around a track and being erratic while riding and jumping will cause accidents as faster riders try to pass.
#7 Use the Correct Entry and Exit Points on a Track.
The entry and exit points on a track are specifically designed to avoid accidents. Don’t ever be tempted to exit off the track at any random point as you may cross over into a faster riders path. Also, getting back to pits will be hazardous. Same for entering. If you enter onto a track at a different place other than the designated point can cause serious injury. The best way is to just keep riding until the exit comes up, then peel off carefully.
#8 Practice Those Drills.
Drilling is probably the best way to become an awesome motocross rider. All athletes drill relentlessly and riding a dirt bike is no different. Drilling is basically practicing different parts of the track repetitively until you have mastered them. You can drill cornering, jumping, balance drills, braking drills, jumping.. anything really.
The more you drill, the better you will become.