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NZ Motocross Tracks: What do Riders Want?

Motocross Watering Track pic 2

       ‘If you can’t race on the track, you’ve got nothing’.

 Quote from Don Kazarian track prep specialist in the USA.

With NZ Motocross Riders fronting up to Championship events prior to NZ MX Nationals questions are being asked on ‘How important is track prep?’

Come race day riders want a track in good shape for racing, with multiple lines, traction and enough moisture in the dirt to hold up for the day’s racing.

Listening to track experts, it is no easy task as each track layout, soil type and weather patterns are major considerations in preparing a track’s surface for racing.

Track experts in the USA agree: ‘A good track person takes into account all the variables that affect the track in different ways- sun, wind, rainfall, humidity and soil type then makes decisions on track prep to compensate for the conditions’. Reference footnote 1.

Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:

A leading Dirt Track prep’ expert Tom Helfrich from Indiana states: ‘It’s kind of like a big recipe. You add the ingredients together, work the mixture and let it cure. The ingredients are the soil, the moisture, the wind, the sun and the time of day’. Reference footnote 2.

Helfrich says ‘the key to getting the track’s surface right for traction is moisture’.

‘”Too much, not enough, it’s hard to get it right, with weather variables of sun, wind and rain. So, control the amount of water you put on”’. And control the way moisture is worked into the soil through ripping.

Helfrich states: ‘”You have to work the soil, no matter what. You’ve seen guys go out and dump water on an inch of dust? The mud will cake to your shoes, and there is dust underneath, right? That’s because the moisture has to be mixed into the soil. Maybe the water wasn’t applied early enough, and wasn’t mixed with the soil. Or maybe they put it on in a hurry. Either way, that’s pretty risky. It’s really important to get that moisture worked properly into the race track”’.

Which means ‘it’s really in the event operator’s best interests to figure out what soil they have and what steps work best for track prep’ for that type of surface’ says Helfrich.

So what do NZ Motocross Riders want when racing at Championship events in regard to track prep?

Hamish Harwood

‘The main thing I like to see is that the tracks are ripped or worked deep with plenty of water put into them. But you can’t prep’ every track the same as each soil is different and handles water differently’.

‘As for catering for different rider levels: Pro and Amateur I don’t think there is a need to have a huge double or anything that is dangerous, but it’s possible to have a big jump that’s safe and fun and also good for spectators to watch’.

‘I do think it’s a good idea to have double line choices to mix up the lines’.

‘Overseas they prep’ the tracks a lot deeper and the tracks come up differently because there is a lot more depth in the quality of riders. So when each class has full gates of top riders the tracks naturally form differently compared to NZ tracks.

Kayne Lamont

‘Tracks need to be wide, deep ripped and watered enough to allow for multiple racing lines to give opportunities to pass’.

‘Also, technical sections on the track that create opportunities for various levels of ability ie: sections/jumps with more than one option’.

‘Overseas the tracks are wider, but with usable width. A minimum lap time of 2.20 mins for front runners. NZ track design and prep tend to create single file racing’.

Cody Cooper

‘I think most important is working the dirt to get water in. Not just rip the track and try flood it with water. That just makes it one lined’.

‘If hard packed tracks were ripped after every time they were watered to allow water to soak in they wouldn’t be as muddy in practice and more lines would form’.

My thanks to Hamish H, Kayne and Cody for their answers.


Footnote 1:

Footnote 2:




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