This Special Off-Road article is presented by: FCA Michigan
Anyone Seen this Logo at the track and wondered what it’s about?
FCA MX has a goal to bring church to the track! We realize that racing families are at the track on most weekends, so let’s bring church to the track! If you see this logo stop by and see what the FCA is all about. the FCA has a special event June 2 at Portland Trail Riders Club, and will have items to auction, lunch provided, Games for the kids, and additional ride time after the normal open practice!
Editor's Note: The first round of the AMA D14 Harescramble series is scheduled to take place at Plymouth Blackhawks M/C Club in Culver , IN Sunday April 8 check out the D14 Page HERE for all the info
For the motocross community, there is a whole other segment to the dirt bike racing you may not know about, Cam goes into what the general off road racing is like and a bit of information on each type of competition.
Time sure flies. April is already upon us and we all are itching to start the riding season. As I am writing this, a few tracks have already opened for a couple of practice days to take advantage of the warm weather we had during the first weekend of the month. Soon routine practice days and motorcycle racing of many disciplines will be happening and there will be a lot of chances to hop on your motorcycle and compete or just enjoy riding. We can say that we are spoiled here in the Mitten State. Motorcycle enthusiasts could look at expanding their horizons if they choose to by looking at doing some off-road events during the 2018 season.
Off-road racing in Michigan has seen great growth in District 14, particularly last year. There is the hare scramble series and enduro series. But new for this year is the Sprint Enduro Series. In this article, all three will be outlined in terms of format, what to expect, how to prepare, etc.
The hare scramble is possibly the most popular off-road event that many choose to do. The races are held from Southern Indiana all to way up to the Northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Hare scramble courses have to be a minimum of 3.5 miles long but average around 7 miles in length give or take depending on the promoter. The course will encompass many different sections such as grass tracks, motocross, tight woods, technical sections, and potentially an endurocross section (w bypass). The length of the race is time based. The starting procedure is dead engine. On the starting straight, there are letters for each class along the sides. Racers will find the correct letter and line up at the correct location. This is a first come first serve basis. New for 2018 is a 2 hour format plus a lap. (Kids race in morning runs 1 hour) This works the same as Monster Energy Supercross or Lucas Oil Pro Motocross. If the leader arrives at the finish line with 1 second before the two hour mark, the entire field will be doing 2 laps to the finish. Since this event is a 2 hour event, it is an endurance event. Unless you are riding team, you will be riding for 2 hours straight. Every event is scored with transponders with backup scoring done by hand. There is an overall standing alongside your individual class.
To prepare for this event, it is very highly recommended you get hand guards period. There will be sections were you will be happy you will have invested in them. Also, some form of training of exercise is very much needed. These races are physically demanding and there is no break once you begin. Also, if you plan on doing many of these events, a gas tank that is larger than stock is very much an asset. You can search for these online or go to your dealer to order them. Find some form of blister prevention on the hands. Using athletic tape and taping hands or glove liners is needed. Blisters are a death sentence when riding. Motocross riding does help with hare scramble racing, but plan on riding more woods to get comfortable with the flow of single track. There are few races that are more open but it is not the majority. Find a water system such as Camelback type system. There are races in July and August timeframe and you will be dehydrated. Be sure to be drinking water throughout the morning and a few days in advance.
Typically you will want to arrive 2 hours before the race starts. Since the scheduled key time is noon for big bikes you will want to be at the location by 10am. Use the same formula if you race quads or mini bikes in the morning. It is better to have a lot of time to get situated over a fire drill type scenario. When you get parked, go to sign up with helmet. You will fill out AMA membership information, District membership paperwork, pay for your class, and if needed buy or rent transponder. Get everything unloaded and figure out a pit area if you need to refill for gas. There is a riders meeting every race and each promoter will in some fashion announce when that is going to commence. The riders meeting is nice because it lets you know that the club is planning on racing after the riders meeting commences. Head to the starting line and find your class and line up in the correct row. These races are dead engine start, the club will use a flag to signal for each row to go. The M class or AA skill level starts each race up front. After that either 30 seconds or 1 minute intervals will start each row after they start the race. Keep your engine off and wait until the flagman gives the signal for 10 seconds, when he raises the flag, kick start your bike and gas it. After that your race has begun.
An enduro is a race with that scored based on total time to complete a certain amount of tests based upon a set speed. There are checkpoints and route sheets. Typically you can compare this to a rally. These events require a lot of logistics compared to a hare scramble because you will be doing gas stops and there is a schedule to how you will go through the event and get to the scored sections and gas stops. The whole race revolves around the clock. You will be assigned a row or minute and that will correspond to the route sheet the scheduled times you have to be at certain locations such as resets or gas stops. There is no holding up the start of the race. If you are late to sign up, no one is there to give you mercy. Be on time! The course also does not stay at one property so someone will have to drive the car to certain areas to gas you when you arrive. These races can be as long as 100 miles and from start to finish you will start in the morning and end at around 4 or 5 pm normally. There are breaks so you will not be riding the whole time as long as you can stay on schedule to a degree, if you are too late to a certain spot or check- in to a test you will have to keep riding. There is a lot of information to cover on these events. Look up D14 enduros and read the rules page. To really grasp the idea of how these events work, it will take a few events to understand. Do not be afraid to ask for help from your fellow riders. Off-road racers are very casual and love it when new people try out the events. These events require both riding skill and the brain to succeed. Knowing where checks could be will equal a good result for you in the end or if you burn a check badly your day is done.
New for 2018 in Michigan is the Sprint Enduro series. This is a race
that runs an enduro style format but is held at one property and has two sections that are scored. You will run each section 4 times to be scored with your time to complete each section to be the determining factor for your position. The event is very rider friendly and each section is short enough to where average rides won’t feel the burden of physical exhaustion. It’s a fresh idea and should bring about good turnouts for the year. There will be six races for 2018.
This article gives a rough picture for all three events. Be sure to read the rules page and educate yourself before arriving to your first event. Remember to always have fun and be patient if you are new to the sport. Everyone always starts having to learn. Once you grasp the idea of off-road racing, hopefully you will love it and continue to return and compete.
There is a lot to offer for riders. Looking forward to seeing everyone at the races this year!