A Beginner’s Guide to Motocross

By Erick Martinez

Motocross is an extreme sport created for those with an unquenchable thirst for adrenaline. Some might call them adrenaline junkies, some call them crazy, I call them brothers. It is a dangerous sport that, if not taken seriously, can hurt you gravely.

So what is motocross? Well, buddy of mine, think of it as cross country with motorcycles—if BMXing took 30 different steroids and became a legal sport, that would be motocross. Not interested yet? Then I guess some of the violent showdowns between the floor and the riders may persuade you to keep reading.

Before all the gruesome stuff, I’d first like to explain how to properly handle one of these majestic beasts we call motorcycles. Let’s begin with how to turn on the bike. It’s not as easy as it sounds though. Why? Kickstart! You must kickstart the bike in order for it to even turn on. Still sound simple? Think again! You need to put the bike on neutral (hold the clutch and brakes). By putting it on neutral, you are helping yourself. Believe me, I made the mistake of not having it on neutral and the result was a five second uncontrollable wheelie which no one was ready for and resulted in two scars on my knees.

So neutral is the first and most important step. Now that you have a neutral bike, it’s time to let the death machine fire up! To the right of the bike there is a lever and this is the fun part. In order to have the time of your life, you must work for it. Kickstart the bike, and once it’s turned on, you’ll be ready. Step two! Hopefully your hands are still on the clutch because if not, it will turn off and all your hard work will have been for nothing. Now slowly accelerate and let go of the clutch; unless experienced, accelerating it slowly will benefit you the most, as it is the easiest and fastest way.. The more you practice the better you’ll get, you just need patience.

Now what? You got it down, you can now drive 30 mph on your Yamaha YAMAHA YZ250, you think you’re “Ghost Rider” on his next devilish atrocity. That’s what I thought too until I made the mistake of getting cocky, and at 25mph I lost control of my Honda crf250x  and ended up with a broken collarbone, and collapsed lungs  (Pneumothorax).Take your time and be patient.  The more you do it, you’ll get better and better and before you know it you’ll be doing crazy stunts. From experience, all I can really say is slow and steady wins the race. Your race might not end with a trophy as a prize—it might be your first or stunt, your first time hitting 70 mph, etc.

Remember that even pros get injured, taking your time and experimenting with the bike is more fun than being in the hospital recovering, and not being able ride for weeks if not months.

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