Moto Tip | On-Track Awareness
Welcome to the new Answer Racing Moto Tips feature! Answer Racing has been producing the highest-quality motocross and off-road gear since 1976, and this month launched its new line of 2020 apparel. With riders like Alex Martin, Ryan Villopoto, Nick Wey, and Mike Sleeter flying the Answer flag, there is a wealth of knowledge and know-how when it comes to riding a dirt bike efficiently and effectively in the Answer camp. Each week, Answer will bring you some riding tips to help you become better at the sport you love! Have a specific skill you’d like to improve? Comment below and we will cover it in a future post!
When we watch riders at pro races, we’re always impressed by how aware they are of their surroundings, especially during practice. There’s always something going on with 20 or so guys on track at any given time, as some riders are going for their quick times while others are slowly scoping out the lines for a perfect lap. Things are even more hectic when the gate drops for a race! With that in mind, we asked Alex Martin to share some advice on being aware of everything that’s happening around them on the track, and the JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing rider had plenty to share.
“In pro racing, awareness is the difference between making it through every round healthy and being hurt, especially in the first lap. For me, and I think every racer can relate to this, is that in the first race back you have to get used to people being next to you in the rhythm lanes. When there are four or five guys all around, it can kind of rattle you. As the series goes on, you get used to it. That all comes from our practices in the offseason, being at the test track with one or two guys.
“So it’s very important to know where people are, where you need to slow down or speed up with the pack, how they are jumping so you don’t hit them in the air. It’s something that you will develop over time, especially through racing.
“The etiquette of not being in the fast lines is sort of commonsense to me [Laughs]. But there are a lot of people that will roll through the main lines when they are doing a slow lap, and it doesn’t take more than a few times of yelling at them or revving to get them to move. After you get yelled at the first time, you won’t do it anymore.
“When you are doing a slow lap, you should always be out of the main racing line so that you are not a hindrance to anyone else. Unless you’re looking to play mind games with the competition [Laughs].
“In the last year I have started to wear earplugs, so it’s definitely quieter in the helmet. You’re only taking away 20 or 30 decibels, so I can still hear the bikes and everything.
“I’m a little bit visual and a little bit sound-minded when I’m on the track. If there is a guy next to me, I’ll take a small glance over to see where he is at so that I can set up a move. But at the same time, if you’re leading the race and there is a guy behind you, that’s when you don’t want to look back in every corner or jump. You need to be in the zone, in your own race, because looking back is a sign that you are nervous.”