Is there anyone who rides and/or races motocross who doesn’t want to get faster? It doesn’t matter what age you are, how dominant you are (think Carmichael quit trying to go faster when he went 24-0…twice?) or what your skill level is, there isn’t a motocrosser out there who doesn’t want to improve. Do all of the things below and I promise you, you will get faster.
- Ride More This is the #1 way to start riding faster. Riding more will help you learn through trial and error, you will learn what works for you and what techniques and line choices help you ride faster. This will also help you become more comfortable with the bike, cornering, jumping and different conditions. The best way to improve at anything is through practice. That may not mean just hammering out motos, pick apart your weaknesses and try to improve them when you practice. You can get videos and practice guides that will help you improve your practice days and realize what you need to improve upon, but the best way to learn what your weaknesses are is to go to an MX School.
- Go to an MX School I’m talking about a reputable MX school here, not a local pro (even though some are good coaches). These guys study what top pros do on the track and help you learn to ride like them. A coach will address all of your riding deficiencies, help improve your body positioning, help you pick better lines, help you with bike set-up and have you do off the track drills that will help you on the track. Don’t look for a training facility here – you’re looking for RCU, Gary Bailey, Gary Semics, Donnie Hansen, Shannon Niday.. I’m sure there are other reputable coaches I missed here.
- Perfect Your Positioning Elbows up. Ride on the balls of your feet, not the arches. Grip the bike with your legs. The list goes on. For more info read Improve your body positioning to go faster!
- Better Bike Set-Up Is your suspension Stock? Are your levers pointing straight down? Are your bars at a steeper angle than your forks? Are you taller or shorter than average? If you answered yes to any of these questions you need bike set-up help and could greatly improve your speed and comfort on the track quite easily.
- Learn from the Pros Flow. How often do you see top pros slamming in to berms, coming to a stop and clutching the shit out of their bikes to get going again? You don’t. Especially if you watch guys like Dungey and Roczen they maintain a smooth roll through the corners and carry their momentum. Have you noticed how Justin Barcia’s results have improved this summer as Buddy Antunez has coached him to smooth out his riding and shift more?
- Shift! So many young riders these days refuse to shift. Bikes don’t make power when bouncing off the rev limiter. Grab an extra gear and your bike will make more power, get better traction and handle better.
- Pick Better Lines The main line often isn’t the fastest line, especially later in the day. Pick lines that allow you to carry momentum in corners, avoid jacked up ruts and avoid kickers on jump faces. Pick smoother lines when possible they are usually faster and help you conserve energy.
- Exercise It is hard to get faster if you’re tired after one lap, can’t finish a 15 minute practice, or can’t finish a 5 lap moto at a race. When you’re tired, bad habits tend to start showing, reinforcing them and making a crash more likely. If you are in good shape you can focus on proper body positioning and picking better lines throughout the moto plus your lap times won’t drop off at the end due to fatigue.
- Practice Starts This is actually the #1 way to improve race results, you are guaranteed to finish better if you start better. For the purpose of this article, getting better starts will help you ride faster because you will be riding with faster riders, seeing what they do on the track and stretching your ability to keep up until eventually you will be able to hang for an entire moto.
I’m not going to claim this list is in perfect order or that it isn’t possible that I missed something, but do the things listed above and you will get faster, there’s no doubt about that.