EnduroCross 101 - Dirt Rider Magazine

From the stands, EnduroCross racing is like nothing else. The intense, back-and-forth flow of the racers and their methodical, almost calculated approach to the obstacles makes for the best form of two-wheeled racing, and fans can watch every move. But down on the track, EnduroCross is unforgiving. Each completed lap brings a wave of relief at having made it around the course followed immediately by the grim realization that you have to do it again. But for the racers who actually see the checkered flag, the sense of achievement greatly outweighs the fluid loss.If there is one thing that the top off-road pros have in common, it is that they have everything in tune. From the setup of the bike to the preparation of their bodies and even to the techniques that they use, all successful racers have a well-wired program. What follows is a general list of some of the first things you need to know if you plan to up your off-road prowess and be more like the stars of EnduroCross:BUILD A PROGRAM
If you know you're going to be racing EnduroCross, don't wait until two weeks before to get in shape. Outline a training program months in advance, and stick to it like glue. Not only will you improve your odds of walking away with a trophy, but you'll also decrease the chance of not being able to get out of bed the day after the race. Strength training is fine, but what you'll need most is a solid program of cardiovascular sprints-anything to get the blood flowing and the heart pounding in a hurry. Rowing, running, swimming and pedaling are solid workouts, but make sure that you're serious about it or you'll hate life when you get to the race!PROTECT YOUR STEED **
Nasty obstacles are to off-road as Astroturf is to a football game, and as such you need to take every measure possible to guard your bike against damage. A sturdy set of bark busters or hand shields will not only ensure that your digits and levers stay in one piece, but they can also give you something to grab to pick the bike up when you crash. A rear disc brake guard and a plastic chain guide can help guard against damage from jagged rocks. Similarly, a sturdy skid plate will keep the frame rails and cases protected while giving your bike a smooth bottom to drag across logs (trust us, it happens). Even radiator guards will help keep a vital part of your machine intact throughout the course of the race. Companies like Fastway/Pro Moto Billet (
www.promotobillet.com) and Moose Racing (www.mooseracing.com) make goodies for nearly every bike on the market that are built to withstand the wrath of EnduroCross.WATCH THE PROS**
Want to do well at EnduroCross? Watch the pros, dummy! These experts are the top off-road riders on earth for a reason, and keeping an eye on them can drastically improve your own results. Things like line selection, technique and even bike setup can all be gleaned from just paying attention. Open your eyes when the top riders hit the track, because if there is anyone you want to emulate, it's them! Plus, there is a 99 percent chance you can walk right up and talk to these guys earlier in the day in the pits. Try that at a supercross!CHOOSE THE RIGHT RUBBER
A few years ago, many of the top EnduroCross pros chose to run 18-inch trials rear tires for improved traction in the rocks. However, at the end of the 2007 season these trials-style tires were banned from the series. The reason? They simply get too much traction! The recent move to non-trials tires has made the EnduroCross courses tougher because you lose so much traction with a knobby, which doesn't stick like trials rubber. There's a reason people are using trials tires for rocky trail rides and nasty off-road terrain: They're that good! But they're illegal in EnduroCross.BREATHE RIGHT
"You must never quit breathing! Don't hold your breath at all, and always try to breathe through a section, even if it is technical. Big, deep breaths will keep you from getting too tired. You should almost be yawning!" -KTM EnduroCross star Taddy Blazusiak****GO SLOW TO GO FAST
Want to be faster off-road? Slow down! Although seemingly counterintuitive, toning your pace down a few notches can pay off big-time in the long run. If you watch the top riders, you will notice that they actually slow down before big obstacles so they can attack across them. Why? Because riding through a tough section in control will take less time and generally less energy. Try to be as calculated, calm and precise as possible, and you'll notice a significant drop in your trail times compared to when you ride overly aggressive or without fear.BE CREATIVE
"With EnduroCross, you have to be creative. If a corner is too tight to do a standard turn, you can look for a place to do a foot plant and get around it that way. The best way to do this is to find a rock or something that is higher-so that you are putting your foot up on something-which gives you more leverage on the bike. Then, use the fork rebound to get the front end around and initiate the direction of the turn." -2008 fourth-place EnduroCross finisher Geoff Aaron

Now this is something that you won't see at a supercross race! With little time between heat races and major case damage a high possibility at EnduroCross, you may have to throw a little Quicksteel patch on busted cases, water pumps or clutch covers. This simple compound can be molded like putty and applied to the hole where it will dry quickly and get you through the day, just like out on the trail.REMEMBER THE BASICS
It sounds simple, but concentrating on the proper basics of riding a motorcycle can improve your EnduroCross-type skills dramatically. For example, when using the throttle know the difference between feeding the power on slowly or just whacking it open. Correspondingly, don't grab the brakes for all they're worth if you need to slow down, control is the key. The most important control that you need to remember to use correctly is the clutch; it is a tool-not a crutch. Use the clutch to pop the front end up or urge the bike through a tough spot, but stay away from fanning or popping it; doing so will wear you and the bike out in no time. Plus, it generates an incredible amount of engine heat. And if you really can't come to grips with the clutch, just make it automatic! Several companies make auto clutches specifically for off-road, and these are growing in popularity among riders of all skill levels. You'll find Rekluse auto clutches (www.rekluse.com) on more than one pro's bike.STAY BALANCED
Of all the basic skills that can be put to use at a high level to make an obstacle easier, balance and body positioning are critical. When approaching and hitting an obstacle, you must remember to remain firm yet loose on the bike, yet you need to let it work underneath you. Fighting the handlebar or holding on with a death grip are sure signs that you aren't working with the bike. Grip with your ankles and knees, but keep your weight centered over the top of the machine. Use input on the pegs to help the tires grab traction, and don't be afraid to lean around a bit with your top half in order to keep the bike balanced. If you are rigid as a broomstick and at odds with the suspension, you will have a much tougher go at it than if you remain neutral, relaxed and in control.DON'T FOLLOW THE LEADER
Want to make a pass in a tight section? Rule number one: Don't follow! If you take the same lines as the person in front of you, you are essentially at their whim if they mess up or want to take a slower line. Instead of sticking to someone's rear fender and hoping they mess up or move over, try anything to get around the person. Also, follow the unwritten rule of passing-which is to not look at or focus on the person in front of you. Instead, stay on your line and find a safe, clean way around them. And if that doesn't work, don't be afraid to give them a little nudge!DON'T CRANK THE PERCHES
Worried about busting a lever off in the rocks? Even with hand guards, it happens all the time. One way to avoid snapping off a lever is to make sure that your brake and clutch perches aren't tightened down as tight as you can get them. If you back off a bit and run your perches so that they stay in place but can still swivel on the handlebar without too much effort, you help your chances of not breaking one off in a fall. Also, should you have a hard get-off and need to readjust your levers, running them just a tad looser than snug will allow you to pound them back into place without a tool.HUMBLE YOURSELF
"I think the number one thing you need to do to have any success at EnduroCross is to check your ego at the door. Prepare to humiliate yourself, prepare to fail in front of a crowd of people. Be prepared to look like a fool. There are many riders with tons more talent than I have, but their tender egos will not let them even try EnduroCross. The number two thing about EnduroCross is understanding the difference between riding well and riding fast. Too many riders focus on fast but don't ride all that well, and it becomes brutally evident at EnduroCross. Think you have what it takes? Then get signed up for the next round, because the crowd will tell you if you really have what it takes to be an EnduroCross star!"
-Weekend warrior and EX enthusiast Charlie Williams****THE ULTIMATE TIP
"Want to do really well at EnduroCross? You'll first need to get your KTM, Husqvarna or Kawasaki covered by a Geico Insurance plan (you never know what can happen out there). Once that is handled, hop on www.thumpertalk.com and tell everyone how fast you are. When the race finally rolls around, be sure to pound a Monster Energy drink before the main event. Then, throw on your Moose gear and Alpinestars boots and head on down to the starting line. When the gate drops, drop your Rekluse clutch and use your Maxxis tires to grab traction as your FMF-equipped motor pulls you toward the first turn. If anyone gets in your way, show 'em the end of your ProTapers--right in the ribs. When you get to the water section, try not to get your Uni Filter wet, and pull a tear-off from your Scott goggles, but only if necessary. Don't worry about breaking a case in the rocks and spilling your Lucas Oil on the track; your Pro Moto Billet components have the protection side covered. Ride the rest of the race out in confidence, knowing that the Motion Pro tools and Kal-Gard lubricants you used to prep your bike will get you to the finish. After crossing the checkers well ahead of second place and spraying Monster flavored champagne all over, take your huge cardboard check to Girardi Wealth Management and head over to RideNow Powersports to pick up a new bike for next year." -Lance Bryson, EnduroCross Director of Sales and MarketingHungry for some EnduroCross race action? The 2009 season spans six rounds all over the U.S., so there is no reason not to get in on the action! Whether you want to attend as a spectator or as a participant, tickets and entries are available online, along with a wealth of information regarding the series. For more, log on to www.endurocross.com.2009 AMA/ Geico EnduroCross Presented by E3 Spark Plugs Schedule:
Las Vegas, NV - July 25
Guthrie, OK - August 15
Florence, SC - September 12
Columbus, OH - October 3
Denver, CO - October 24
Las Vegas, NV - November 21