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Rider Etiquette

Dictionary definition:
'Etiquette" -
'the code of ethical behavior regarding professional practice or action among the members of a profession in their dealings with each other'

Rider Etiquette while practicing on a track.
By Laren van der Westhuizen

One of the most intimidating things about starting motocross, like any other sport, is knowing the unspoken rules of etiquette which exist at the track. Bare in mind that this is a very dangerous sport and etiquette forms part of the safety habits we practice in our fraternity!

Once you arrive at the track for the first time to practice, there are a few important things to take note of.

1.

Report to the track owner or caretaker to pay practice fees. (If it’s a privately owned track) Make sure the track is open for practice and that there are NO workers or heavy machinery working on the track.

2.

Make sure there is NO official race or practice happening that day and if so, how you can be involved.

3.

If the track is free for regular practice, take note of any times on the practice board that might be scheduled for various size bikes at certain times. Mostly this only happens during an official practice. Please also note which bike size is allowed on which track.

4.

Make sure you are aware of the track direction. Don’t take for granted that you know, because the track might have changed since the last time you were at the venue. This has caused many severe accidents in our sport.

5.

Take note of the exact entry and exit points to the track. Entering in the wrong place could (EG: the base of a jump) could cause a collision with a rider who was blind sighted!

6.

Ride the first 2 laps slowly, to make sure there are no hidden hazards on the track, like rain wash-aways, rocks, or holes.

7.

Do not stop in the middle of the track at any given point, but pull to the side or off the track if possible. Do not stop on a jump, especially the landing. When pulling to the side or off the track, check for riders coming up behind you before you turn.

8.

If you fall, lie down until all bikes have passed. Worse injuries happen from a bike hitting you standing up, as apposed to lying down. When you are sure the track is clear, crawl to the side of the track for assistance, or stand up and pick your bike up. If you are in a dangerous, unsighted area, move the bike to the side before attempting to start.

Don’t be scared to ask other riders at the track if you aren’t sure. If you are both/all not sure, make sure you all agree on a track direction and stick to it.

If you follow these basic rules of etiquette when you pitch up to practice, it should make for a safer, less intimidating ride.


National Champions #1 (717) Richard van der Westhuizen & No. 54 Sacha Naude

Rider Etiquette when racing.
By Laren van der Westhuizen

Race day has its own unique rules of etiquette.

1.

Make sure you arrive early enough to get entry done before practice starts.

2.

Do NOT pull into any pits, unless you are sure they are free/open pits. Many tracks have pits which have been paid for by a rider or sponsor, for the year. If you would like a certain pit, make sure you pre-book it with the organizers.

3.

Make sure you walk the track or are aware of track direction and changes before you start practice.

4.

Make sure you are truthful about your ability and enter the correct class. A novice rider in an expert class can be dangerous for both the fast rider and the slow rider. This is also true for an experienced rider trying to enter a beginner class.

5.

Do not move onto the start line until an official calls you to the gate. This is normally done on points from previous races. Riders with no points will be called last.

6.

When on the track, you may be lapped by faster riders. It is not always easy to know when a fast rider is approaching, but holding you position on the track, is normally the best way of letting the faster rider through. If there is a section of the track that makes it difficult for the leader to pass, do your best to allow him/her through. Only move to the side of the track if you have seen the faster rider coming from a long way back. Sometimes moving out of the way sees the slower rider actually moving into the way.

7.

If there is a big jump you are not clearing, it is best to ride this jump on the opposite side to the main racing line. This will make sure there is a clear line for the leaders when approaching you and to make sure you will not be landed on.

8.

Study the flag signals before you enter your first race. If you are not sure of the flags, ask the Clerk of the course to go through them during riders briefing. The flags are the only communication between officials/marshals and the riders. Most of the information you need will be shown by a flag. Eg: a fallen rider in the track, medics in the track, start of the race, 1 lap to go and the finish.

These are the basic laws of etiquette when it comes to racing. Stick to these and you will have a safer, friendlier experience on race day.

 

 

 


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