How to become a better motocross racer…. The right way In motocross, racers and riders tend to try to learn the sport on their own. Often, there is a little bit of instruction from a family member or friend, but ultimately, motocross is the school of hard knocks. If you are interested in becoming a better motocross racer, either just for fun or to try to become the next Ricky Carmichael, here are some ideas on how you might be able to go outside the normal experience to achieve your objectives. Find an instruction program. There are many places that you can find instruction on how to ride. However, don’t just go to the best Pro in the area. The best instructors are the ones who have a ton of experience instructing. Many top racers who have not come up through an education program have no idea how to explain what it is they do to ride and go fast, let alone what to say to a rider to get them to actually reproduce the technique. As an example, at MX101, our senior instructors have come up through the education programs, watching others teach. And then they spent time as junior instructors to learn how to relate to each age, personality type, and skill level. Then, finally they become Senior Instructors, and even then they, like all of us, learn even more through their experiences as they continue to teach. Tyler Duffy, Dylan Wright, Brad Dool and Taylor Arsenault have three Alpinestar Bronze Boots and a Rick Joseph Memorial Award between them, but they also have a huge amount of time learning and instructing with MX101 under Kevin Tyler. When we first started MX101, we spent a lot of time researching different instructing techniques, and it still took years for us to refine our instruction into what it is today. So, look for an experienced instruction program. Practice, practice, practice! Many riders get frustrated because they come out to ride a few times and they are not advancing as fast as they feel they should be. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers”, he talks about how anyone can be good at anything, but it takes about 5,000 hours to get really good at something. The Beatles spent 5,000 hours practicing in Germany before becoming the band we all know. Bill Gates spent 5,000 hours on a computer (started when he was 13) before he invented windows. There are examples everywhere. So, when starting out, or if you are a racer hoping to get really good, practice a lot. Some of my fondest memories of Tyler, Dylan, Taylor and Brad are watching them put in countless laps at SDL at a very young age. They would just keep going around and around, pacing each other or just riding. After a couple of thousand hours on a bike, a rider really starts to show some “talent”. Don’t worry about support. Being involved in a competitive program is extremely beneficial. At MX101 we have the Talent Factory program. This program is integrated into our education programs which we find offers maximum benefit. However, you just need to try to find a like minded group of racers so you can work together, share knowledge, and sometimes travel to races together. This encourages and supports everyone in the group and is extremely valuable. Don’t make the mistake of making your racing about sponsorship. If you really want to improve your riding, it is all about the experiences, not the sponsorship. If you annoy your dealer, or worse get some support from a dealer and then leave for an extra $5 at another dealer, you are just confirming the stereotype that has caused many dealers to back away from motocross. Motocross is expensive, and that is just a fact. Until you are winning some pretty impressive championships, just be happy to be part of a team or a pseudo team. Be incredibly thankful if you get any support at all, and be ready to have any support come with the requirement of a good letter of application and / or a resume. When you do get support, remember you are now a representative for your team and their products. You must show a positive attitude and act in a way that others will respect, and never talk negatively about your team or the products they represent. And remember, loyalty is what life is based on, and it pays off with loyalty in return. Set some goals, and find some heroes. You need to determine some goals, and then find some racers in your area that have already achieved those goals. It is great to have faster riders in your area that you can use to gauge how you are doing. We are lucky at MX101 to have so many great racers come out of our area. Tyler Medaglia and then Jeremy Medaglia gave every rider in our area a great view of where they could be if they worked hard. Every day they ride at SDL, everyone else gets faster. SDL has riders at every level that newer riders can use to measure themselves, and that is key to your day to day training and improvement. However, make sure that as you approach the speed of your hero that you keep challenging yourself to improve. We always need to review our goals and objectives and set them higher when needed to make sure we achieve the maximum that we can. Make sure you go to some professional races and see how the top guys do it so you can internalize what it takes at the very top level of racing. Have fun and work hard! I can not express how much a positive attitude, tons of effort and good vibes in your program can make a huge difference to your development. People will want to help you and be associated with you. Don’t be afraid to give to others more than you receive. Motocross is a tough sport for the toughest among us. But don’t make it harder by trying to do it all alone. A great program includes education, a development plan, a support structure, and measurable goals. If you set your program up correctly, it will take you a long way towards being the best you can be. MX101 is a Motocross Education Company that has been teaching people to ride and race dirt bikes since 2001. MX101 operates Sand Del Lee MX Park which offers riding and racing for families and individuals who like dirt bikes.