A natural terrain motocross track is a load of fun, here’s some tips to get around a grass track
Grass track or natural terrain racing rarely features any jumps. So as a general rule, your suspension set up is softer and plusher than a standard motocross setting. You will be served up with some decent acceleration and braking bumps at most circuits, so it’s important to have you setting dialled. Your rebound adjustment and settings come into play here, chat with your suspension tuner to get some tips to keep your bike handling as well as possible. Roost hurts, so handguards are a great option. A tyre such as the Pirelli Mid-Soft MX32 or the Bridgestone X20 will work well on a loamy grass track. Other handy upgrades to your bike are a gripper seat cover, to keep your weight forward when accelerating out of turns and deep ruts. Most motocross bikes come with standard gearing that will suit most grass tracks from the factory. As a rule, grass tracks are fast, but rarely will you be bouncing off the limiter on a 450 in top gear. Your brakes will cop a hard time on a grass track, so ensure you have plenty of meat on the pads. A braided brake line is also a good idea to stop fading.
Line selection is crucial to maintain momentum around a grass track. Think of it as a big road race circuit, starting out wide and apexing the turn, that’s the most efficient way around a grass track. It’s not all that easy though, keep an eye on other rides as cutting across a track will end in tears mid moto. As a race day goes on, the track will change and lines will form, keep an eye out for fresh and smooth lines.
Especially early in the meeting, the majority of turns on a grass track will be flat. Finishing all your braking in the standing position before the turn. Keep your weight to the outside of the bike once seated, weight the outside peg and keep your vision towards the exit of the turn. A nice smooth throttle around the turn will have you ready to click gears down the next straight. Riding your flat corners well will slash your lap times.
Most grass tracks require roll-offs as they are held on farm land. Plan early and ensure your roll-offs are well set-up. If the budget allows, try to have at least two pairs incase of a muddy moto or breakage. Read your manual of how to set the goggles up properly and ensure you have clear vision all day.
Practice your race starts. Some grass track events will feature an elastic band start, where the band snaps from the middle outwards on each side. Most of the time however, you will find the usual self-penalising rear-ward falling motocross gates. A bad start on a grass track means lots of roost, a busy track and you won’t have your choice of line. The leaders will have a massive headstart with an open track to select their lines and pull away.
Try and relax, the high speed nature and long braking areas on a grass track promote arm pump. Squeeze the bike with your knees and try not to hold on to tight. Arm pump in braking bumps is not fun! Drink plenty of water and stretch your arms during the day. A good massage while the arms are pumped is an effective way to release lactic acid from your forearms.