The X Factor – The Thrills and Spills of Moto X and the Gear You Need to Get Into

Riding MX in Victoria

We are positively spoiled for choice in Victoria when it comes to riding MotoX. A look at this handy map from Moto Trails Oz shows just where you can find a track near you (and gives the rundown on each), while you can also find details of local MotoX, Enduro and dirt bike tracks here.

As a discipline, MotoX is hugely popular, not only here in Australia, but all over the world. No small part of the reason for this is the ease of access for new riders to the genre. Full street licences are not necessary and the sport is child-friendly, with bikes as small as 50cc being used and ranging up to 550cc.

Traditionally they were pretty much always normally aspirated two-stroke machines. These days they have evolved, like everything else, to larger capacity four-stroke fuel injected machinery, with the 450 class being the weapon of choice for most of us.

X Hits the Spot

Adding to the safety is the fact that the tracks are closed circuits. Unlike riding on a public road, there is no opposing traffic, street furniture or inattentive car drivers to deal with. The surfaces vary slightly depending on where the track is, the local soil make-up and what has had to be added to the circuit to make it work from a traction point of view. They’re always loose and they’re always dirt.

The jumps are either occurring naturally or they are pushed in using heavy equipment. These jumps are where all the fun is. A light bike combined with an enthusiastic /fearless rider and a bumpy MotoX track is more fun than anyone has the right to have without breaking a few laws. Steering the bike using the rider’s body weight and the gyroscopic effect of the rear wheel is possible even when the whole bike is airborne.

The corners tend to get swept up by the racing bikes into what is known as a berm. These are, perhaps, a little like the banked sides of an oval street circuit with the inside of the corner being quite low and the outside being lighter and sometimes significantly higher. Just like riding an oval on a street bike, riding the top of the berm allows for more speed. Unlike the street option, inadvertently riding off the top of a berm results in posting what is known as a ‘DNF’.

On your marks

Races are run with all the bikes starting off the line at the same time. Many of us have found sitting at the gate while we wait for it to drop to be an opportunity to take a little quite time to ourselves. Surrounded by garishly-coloured bikes and riders while listening to a concerto of tuned race engines being revved to within a breath of their tolerances’, thoughts such as ‘What in the name of all that is holy am I doing here?’ or ‘Why, why do I do this to myself?’ float unbidden to the top of one’s consciousness.

Then the gate drops, your head clears and it’s off we go! Any thoughts of turning back disappear as the red mist drops and you ride in, what must be, one of the purest motorsports on the planet. The racing is close and more than one fallen rider has found themselves being used as grip by a following bike! By the time the first lap is done the track is so chewed up most people would have a hard time walking on it.

MotoX is for the fit and the younger amongst us. There are always veterans classes, but the cleverer amongst us graduate to the altogether much more genteel world of Enduro as we start to ‘ache in the places where we used to play’ as Mr Leonard Cohen once said.

With that in mind, some people would consider MotoX ‘better’ or ‘more difficult’ than Enduro riding, but think about the Fink Desert Rally, or the Dakar rally – they are not exactly for the faint-hearted. That’s just my opinion – what’s yours? I’d love to hear what you think is more difficult, and all those Enduro riders out there, let’s hear some of your toughest endure stories – share them with us in the comments section.

If you want to experience what an off road endurance race feels like, join us at Wildwood.

Getting back to the MotoX issue, there are a host of good things about it. Children’s racing classes teach the little ones so much – riding on the dirt as an adolescent builds skills that will prove indispensable on the road or short circuit in later life – and, of course, riding an enduro will never feel difficult.

Accidents do happen, but with the right kit most of us walk away from them to simply fume about a race lost or a stupid mistake made. Wearing the correct kit makes all the difference –boots, gloves, body armour, and a decent off road helmet are essential – so check out what you can get from us.

Shelby Soltoggio, Service Manager at the Raceway Service Centre, is currently riding with Thor’s 2016 Prime gear, and says it is ‘the best gear I have owned yet.’

‘Not only is it durable after a few falls and washes,’ she says, ‘It’s comfortable. The Jersey is light and has compression material sleeves, giving your arms the freedom to move around and barely notice you’re wearing a jersey. The pants are extremely light with tough cowhide knee pads and great ratchet straps on the sides to help keep the pants in the right place. The jersey is also designed to keep airflow and ventilation in the summer, but also keeps you warm on the cold winter mornings on the bike.

‘When out on the track I find that the more comfortable you are in your gear the better you will ride, and you also want to look good while doing it!’

 

To find out more about raceway motorcycles and services please contact us directly on 03) 9351 0055

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