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Going from purchasing your first bike to actually racing competitively requires a lot of effort that no rider wants to put to waste. Once you’re comfortable on your bike, signed up to a club and confident enough in yourself to challenge others, there’s a lot of preparation left to do. These top tips for your first motocross race cover everything from the obvious to the unorthodox, but will do their part in ensuring your first match is a thrilling experience.

#1. Attend a race first as a spectator

Providing you have the time to do so and there’s an event sometime before your race, why not go and see firsthand how things are run? Aside from just being able to walk the track and to learn where everything is, you can talk to organizers and other racers for specific tips, and see how other riders approach the start and initial corners.

#2. Practice with fellow riders

It’s a privilege being able to ride with your friends, but if they aren’t at or above your skill level it may not help you improve you ability. Just like any type of game, it helps to learn from the best, not only on a practical level but also by receiving technical hints and feedback on your riding technique.

#3. Don’t slack on your fitness

Right from the moment you begin riding regularly, your physical wellbeing should be as vital as your bike’s. For competitions especially, being in good shape will help your body handle the shock of a high octane ride and improve your control ability, so schedule an exercise routine and plan out a balanced diet as soon as you can.

#4. Keep your expectations realistic

You’re almost guaranteed not to win your first race, so don’t feel discouraged if your initial qualifying time isn’t amazing. It may take you a while to perform a flawless lap, or to move on from the Junior class to the Senior class, so just make sure you race as fast as you’re capable of, and that you don’t go over your head (we mean that figuratively and literally!).

#5. Bring plenty of food, water and energy drinks

On race day you’ll need to come prepared with all the right riding wear and gear, of course, but make sure you also bring a lunch bag with plenty to keep your energy up. This means simple foods such as sandwiches, breakfast bars and fruit, plenty of water and a flask of energy drink (not caffeine filled ones either, just lemonade or some kind of juice).

#6. Stretch fully and properly

You’ll hardly enjoy your first race if your body isn’t fully prepared for the punishment it’s about to take. Don’t leave your stretching to a few touch-toes before race time; make sure you have a full routine that gets the blood flowing properly in your arms and legs.

#7. Make sure your bike is working correctly

One of the reasons to wake up early on race day is that it gives you enough time to check out bike for any last minute hazards. You’ll need a few hours at least to ensure everything’s in working order –after all you’d hate to do poorly in your first competition because the shift pedal kept falling off.

#8. Don’t skip the rider’s briefing

Many races will have a quick meeting beforehand, and it’s very worth attending it. You’ll learn the start procedure, as well as any last minute changes or decisions made.

#9. Tips for when you’re at the start gate

Whilst the gate you start at will often be assigned randomly, don’t take this as an excuse to show up in your own time. Once in position, stamp down any loose dirt on your start pad and in front of you, and before that five second board is up make sure your goggles are secured and your bike’s in gear.

#10. Perform a post-race checkup

Once the race is all over and you’ve had a chance to breathe, eat a bit and celebrate with friends and family, give your bike a once over. Lube and adjust the chain, see if anything (like the air filter) needs replacing and clean out your goggles. This will be good practice for when you start doing multiple races back to back!

For future news and features on all of the biggest motocross events of 2018, keep an eye on the JD Racing Facebook page and follow our tweets over at @jdracingKTM.