Motocross (mx in short) is powersports that involves off-road racing on a dirt bike. It can be quite a demanding sport because competitive racing comes with specific requirements. The requirements to ride through bumps, tight turns, and even make jumps. Both physical and mental stamina are necessary to excel in this sport. This sport comes in different categories that kids can take part in.
You might be a parent new to the sport but with a zealous kid who wants to win a Motocross Championship like Eli Tomac. If you belong to the latter group, you may find the idea of letting your child race daunting. Or as parents familiar with the sport, you will like that your kid has developed an interest in racing.
But where do you start? What equipment and gear do you need? Are mechanical skills necessary? How safe is motocross racing? These are all burning questions you may have. Worry not. In this article, you will learn the basics of motocross for kids. This will also include information on what bikes to choose and how to choose a training program.
Should I Let My Kid Race Motocross?
The decision on whether you should let your child race motocross is dependent on a few factors. Your child’s interest in the sport should be paramount. Is your kid trained with required skills? Does your kid have friends already riding motocross bikes? These are all important to consider.
Bear in mind that your young child can potentially lose interest in the sport as they grow older. This is especially the case if their friends are not into it or they stop riding. Since you will be shelling out a significant amount of money to get your child started, you will want to get value.
Also, you should consider the abilities of your child. For example, your child may have challenges with their motor functions and coordination. If that’s the case, then you may want to pause motocross racing for now. Racing motocross is physically demanding as it is mentally. More so, there are certain levels of risks associated with it. There could be falls that lead to injuries. You want to be sure your child is mature enough to handle these risks and not bolt at the first injury.
So safety should be a top priority. You need to get the right safety gear and also give your child the proper training needed. This way, you are better prepared to let your child start racing motocross on one of the best 65cc dirt bike. When your child starts competing in motocross races, you can be sure there are more benefits to it. These benefits go beyond mere entertainment.
Like most competition sports, your kid will learn:
1. The Power of Consistency
No motocross champion today jumped on a bike and began to win races right away. They all put in the work. Some of them started as early as 4 years to practice their riding skills, techniques, and styles. This involved showing up to practice every day. You stand up from falls and conquer milestones!
This habit builds the discipline needed to achieve great things in life. Your child learns to navigate the world of motocross racing through these activities. Thus, the power of consistency is ingrained in them.
2. Basic Driving Skills
If your kid starts on one of the best 50cc dirt bike, there may not be much of the gear-shifting skills to learn. But when they transition to a bigger bike like the 65cc or rare 70cc bike, they can begin to master other skills. These skills include clutch lever pull and advanced brake application. When they start trying out some of the 85cc bikes like the KTM 85cc dirt bike, they will have mastered the controls. Learning to operate these controls will teach your kid basic driving skills.
3. The Spirit of Sportsmanship
Only a few places can teach your kid the togetherness that comes with competitive sports. With motocross racing, your kid will get to train on the local tracks with other kids within their age group. They may develop solid friendships with these kids as well. So, when they go on to compete in races, they will learn to accept the outcome with dignity.
What Gear Do You Need for Motocross?
Like with all sporting exercises, safety is a top priority. Motocross racing is no different. Falls and crashes are wont to occur when riding a motocross bike. The frequency of these occurrences is dependent on the skill level of the rider.
If your kid is an inexperienced rider, you should expect regular falls and crashes. It’s not a matter of if a rider will fall, it’s when. So, you should invest in the proper kids motocross gear to help buffer the impact of these accidents.
Safety gears are essential for motocross racing to ensure your kid’s safety. Some of the necessary gear include:
A head fall can be detrimental to brain function. Your kid’s developing brain needs protection from all angles when riding. It doesn’t matter how level the riding track is, a helmet should always be worn before revving that bike engine.
As much as your child needs protection while riding, don’t downplay comfort. A good helmet should fit your child perfectly. It is not a prudent choice to get an oversized helmet and say your child will fit into it. Just as the sizing matters, the DOT rating of the helmet is equally important.
As a beginner rider, the rubber fittings on the handlebar of a motocross bike can affect your kid’s hands. It makes them more coarse or even causes blisters. It is thus necessary to incorporate gloves in the riding gear of your kid.
Also, your child may try to cushion a fall with their hands, leading to injuries. Full-fingered gloves allow a firmer grip and bike control. Even better when they come with wrist-fastening. This way, they don’t slip off the hands while riding.
It is also important to protect the torso against impact. This is the work of the chest protector. Chest protectors are usually made of hard plastic. They are worn to protect the chest and back. They can equally help prevent rib breakage or cracking. Some chest protectors provide warmth to riders when riding during cold weather.
It is awesome to expect your child to maintain the lead in all racing competitions or even training. But this is not practical. So, you have to get goggles as part of your kid’s safety gear. By doing so, any debris or dirt raised by the rider ahead of your kid will not enter their eyes. Also, accidents can happen on the track. These tracks of dirt and rocks can prove hazardous to your kid.
Like the helmets, sizing is important when getting boots for your kid. It is not only important for them to be the perfect fit, but they must also be comfortable. This enables your kid to focus on only the race and not on how discomfiting the shoes are.
Knee and Elbow Guards
Patellar injuries are common among racers. The knees and elbows are the most common parts of the body that get injured fast. This is because many riders land from a fall on their knees. Some try to protect their upper trunk with their elbows. Thus, necessitating the need to get your kid a knee and elbow guard for protection from injury. These guards are usually made from hard plastic.
Categories in Youth Motocross Racing
There are various categories in youth motocross racing. These categories usually vary by country and racing organization. In the FIM Junior Motocross World Championship, three classes take part in the race. They are 65cc, 85cc, and 125cc.
In the AMA Motocross Championship (2023 Competition Rulebook), several categories in youth dirt bike racing abound. These racing categories depend on the age of the rider. The displacement size of their bike engine is also a determining factor.
There are other considerations. They include the wheel size and general specifications of the bike. But these are mostly dictated by the rule book to keep the races fair and discourage the use of modified bikes.
These bike classes according to AMA include:
1. Limited Peewee Jr (4-8 years)
Kids that can take part in this race category are usually aged 4-6 years. They are expected to bring bikes with the largest engine displacement sizes being 50cc. The engine can also be two-stroke or 4-stroke.
2. Limited Peewee Sr (7-8 years)
Like the junior category, young riders can use 2-stroke or 4-stroke engine bikes. They must have their largest engine displacement size to be 50cc. Only kids aged between 7-8 years can take part in this kid dirtbike racing.
3. Limited Peewee (4-8 years)
This category is for riders aged 4-8 years old. But unlike the junior variant, only 2-stroke engine bikes can be used in this race category. The maximum engine displacement is 50cc.
4. Limited Peewee (4-8 years)
The difference between this category and the one above lies in the wheel size and engine stroke. A 2-stroke and 4-stroke engine bikes can be used in this race. Unlike the earlier category, a bigger wheelbase of 38 inches is allowed. This is as opposed to the 36 inches max on the wheelbase size in the previous category. Kids aged 4 can take part in this category. 8 year old dirt bike racing is also accommodated here.
5. 65cc (7-9 years)
Riders with engine specifications of 2-stroke can take part in this category of racing. The engine must be between 59cc-65cc displacement. The riders must also be between 7-9 years old.
6. 65cc (7-11 years)
In like manner, the participants in the category must bring a 2-stroke engine bike. This engine should have a 65cc max engine displacement. The riders must be between the 7-11 years age bracket.
7. 65cc (10-11 years)
Still, in the 65cc category, riders between 10-11 years old can race their peers in this category. 10 year old dirt bike racing must be with a 2-stroke engine bike. It should come with a 65cc maximum engine displacement size.
8. 85cc (9-11 years)
For the much bigger bike, the 85cc racing category allows riders aged 9-11 years. They can ride on 2-stroke engines and the minimum displacement is 79cc for this category.
9. 85cc (12-13 years)
12 to 13-year-olds will find good competition in the 85cc category. There, they will find riders within their age bracket. A 2-stroke engine bike can be used for the race.
10. 85cc (14-15 years)
The older riders between 14-15 years will find riders within their skill level here. They can use 2-stroke engine bikes with 79cc-85cc engine displacement sizes.
11. Supermini (12-16 years)
The supermini category, as the name suggests, is a super category. It typically accommodates riders aged 12-16 years old. Riders can use 79cc-112cc dirt bikes that have 2-stroke engines. They can also ride on a 4-stroke engine bike with an engine displacement size of 75cc-150cc.
Other categories include the schoolboy categories for young riders aged 12-17 years. There are also the girls’ categories and the Mini-E Jr and Sr categories. The latter categories require the use of bikes with electric motors for their race.
What are the Costs Involved in Motocross for Kids?
The cost involved in motocross for kids can add up quickly. From the cost of the bikes to the training fee and protective gear. These costs can hover in the range of a few thousand dollars, due to a variety of factors. These factors include the age of your child and their skill level. Even the level of competition they will be participating in is a determining factor.
If your kid is a beginner rider, you should expect to pay for many bike changes over the years. This is because as they improve their skill levels, they will need bike upgrades. This is especially so if they wish to participate in competitive racing. More so, they will begin to outgrow some of the protective gear they have such as the boots or even jerseys.
Usually, a new bike will cost a few thousand dollars. The exact amount will depend on the brand and the engine size of the bike. But you can also go for used bikes. You should be wary though when doing so. Most used bikes have been in a crash or two. You don’t want to buy a bike that has little to no utility with scarce resources.
Also, you will need to get protective gear. This should cost a few hundred dollars depending on their quality. Training fees are also another expense to make for motocross racing.
Some tracks charge door fees between $10-15 to allow you to use their tracks for training. Or, you can pay membership fees at some racing grounds. You may also consider joining a club. This usually requires a club membership fee.
Then, you may have to pay for your kid to get professional training. Your kid can get proper training in preparation for kids motocross racing. This can cost anything between a few hundred to thousands of dollars. To take part in racing competitions, you must pay a racing entry fee. This may cost between $20-50.
How to Train for Motocross
As mentioned earlier, motocross racing is a physically and mentally demanding action sport. You will need to inculcate in your kid the raw grit and stamina needed to push through. If your child is not familiar with kids dirt bike racing, you’d want to start practicing on a race track first.
To excel in motocross, your kid will need to get involved in the following:
1. Be physically fit
Physical fitness is important for motocross racing. This is because the race involves a lot of strength and endurance activities.
To do some jumps and riding styles, you will need a lot of arm strength to be able to hold onto your bike while riding. Thus, the young rider needs to build their physical stamina.
This should involve exercises that target cardiovascular health and strength. They include running and cycling. Some kids, depending on their age, may gain from weightlifting.
2. Practice riding skills
Practice makes for perfection. This is true even for motocross racing. The more time spent practicing, the better the skills of any rider will be. You can either get a membership at junior motocross clubs near you. Or pay to join a local racing ground. Or you could find a nearby wood to practice your riding skills.
If you are a beginner rider, you may want to start on smoother and flatter surfaces. This way, the specks of dirt and bumps typical of motocross tracks will not throw you off balance. You can also reduce the risk of injuries through crashes and falls by starting on level grounds.
As you master your controls and bike, you can take up tougher terrains to up your skill level. You can then begin to master your turns. Jumps, maneuvers, and general advanced techniques will then become easier.
3. Get professional coaching
You may need to get feedback on your riding skills. This is where a professional coach that organizes motocross classes for beginners comes in. They provide external eyes to your riding.
This is because they have extensive experience in the world of motocross racing. Working with a professional coach can help you improve your motocross skills. You get personalized feedback and also receive guidance.
How Do I Get Started?
Getting started with motocross can seem overwhelming. There is usually a lot to consider. But the basics to getting started with motocross involve:
- Choose the appropriate bike for your kid’s age. Factors to consider include the bike’s height, weight limit, and even the skill level of your child.
- Find a local track. Research motocross tracks in your local area. You can start this search online. Join online forums and groups for motocross racers. Ask about tracks or a motocross riding school near you. Visit the track and learn about their practice days and hours.
- Get the protective gear. Crashes and falls are bound to happen. To protect your child against this, protective gears are essential. So, keep them handy. When packing essentials for practice, you may also want to add an ice pack in case of sprains.
- Take lessons. Classes in youth dirt bike racing near you are necessary. This is so if you want to improve your skills and learn proper techniques. Chances are that if you practice on your own, you may master control of bigger bikes as you grow older. But this may not mean that your skill level and techniques have improved. Professional youth motocross racing classes will help you prepare best for competitive motocross racing.
- Practice and take part in races. Practice is important if you want to excel in motocross racing. Work on your techniques and focus on improving your riding speed and balance. With time and more practice, you will gain general control of your bike and the race. Of course, all that practice may be of no use if you don’t take part in races. Provided you are not riding for recreational purposes alone. You can start with local races before advancing to bigger events as you gain more experience.
How to Sign Up for Motocross
The specific process for motocross sign up near you varies with each racing event. But a few key steps are often involved in all.
1. Finding a Race
There are a few motocross race events that take place every year. Find the one in your local area or taking place in a location you can readily access. Once you have earmarked a racing event, find out race dates and see if they fit into your available days.
2. Checking the Eligibility Requirements
Like many other competitions, there are eligibility requirements for motocross racing. Before you sign up, ensure you meet all eligibility requirements. This usually includes getting the right bike, protective gear, and license.
Once you have zeroed in on a racing event and seen your kid is eligible to take part, the next step is to register. You will have to pay a fee for your child to take part in the racing competition.
This fee covers expenses that come from track maintenance and insurance. Also, the event may need online registration or an in-person paper fill-out. Your racing license and similar documentation should be handy to present upon request.
4. Preparing for the Race
Once registered, begin preparing for the race. This involves getting your bike checked to see if it meets all requirements. You can equally study the race course to get familiar with the tracks. Practice your riding skills and the general rules of the race.
5. Race Day
Check-in on the day of the race. It will be best to get to the venue early so you can have your bike inspected. After that, you wait for the race to begin.
How Do You Get Sponsored for Motocross?
Motocross racing is an expensive venture. From the training fees to the cost of bikes, expenses abound. Even maintaining your bike can set you back a few hundred dollars.
Hence, pursuing sponsorship opportunities will help you offset some of these costs. Sponsorship is a great way for you to have both financial and material support.
But, how do you get sponsorship for motocross?
1. Invest in your visibility
Potential sponsors are not looking to put their resources in low-yield platforms. For them to sponsor, they must be getting some value in return. This may be more visibility for their products and/or services.
To get under the radar of industry sponsors in motocross, you need to invest in your visibility. This could mean maintaining a professional image at all times. Getting a large social media presence or following also helps. This way, you guarantee potential sponsors their products will reach a wider audience.
2. Build a great racing portfolio
As it is with visibility, you need to show how much of an asset you can be to a sponsor. They want their products on the map. To show this, you will need to build your racing portfolio to attract sponsors. This involves getting into races and performing well in them. By keeping your performance stats, you can show that you have the track record to excel in the sport.
3. Reach out to potential sponsors
Another way to get sponsored for motocross is to reach out to potential sponsors. This may involve pitching to them why they need to sponsor you. You can also create a sponsorship proposal. In this proposal, you should highlight your achievements. Also, show how you can help them achieve their marketing goals.
How to Transport a Dirt Bike to the Racing Venue
As we already know, motocross bikes don’t come cheap. Hence, it is important to transport them to the racing venue safely. This means, transporting them through a means that will not damage the bike.
First, choose a suitable transportation vehicle. A van, trailer, or pickup truck can serve. The ideal vehicle should be big enough to accommodate the bike and other equipment. Another option is to get a hitch-carrier that you can attach to the back of your car.
It is important to strap the bike so it is held firmly in place during transportation. All loose parts and accessories should be removed and kept safely. This is to avoid losing them during transportation. While driving to the racing venue, avoid sudden stops and speeding over bumps. This way, you prevent dislodging the bike from its secure position.
Competitive racing in motocross can be exciting. Once you have gotten your kid started in motocross, it is important to understand that it is not all about the wins. There will be losses and you should encourage your kid when this happens.
More than winning races, you get to spend quality time with your kid, on and off the track. Safety is paramount when on the tracks. Once your kid dresses in the appropriate gear, danger is reduced if not averted. The right sizing also matters. Motocross for kids is safe. It provides them with a healthy boost of confidence in their skills and capabilities.
What age can a child start motocross?
A child can start motocross between the ages of 4 to 5 years old. This varies with each child. Some have the physical form to handle the bikes. While some may need a few more years to be able to start motocross riding.
What is the best age to start a kid on a dirt bike?
Kids as young as 3 years old can start riding. It is important at this age to start them on a balance bike. They can also start with other motorized bikes with trainer wheels. But most kids can typically start between the ages of 3-6 years old.
What age do most people start motocross?
To become adept at competitive riding, most people start early at ages 4-6 years old. But they can start earlier. This is if they opt for balance bikes rather than small electric or gas-powered bikes.
What is the youngest motocross class?
The youngest motocross class is the 50cc bike class.
How old do you have to be to race a 125cc dirt bike?
If you want to ride a 125cc dirt bike in competitive racing, your age will depend on the racing organization. Your country can also determine the age that can race a 125cc dirt bike. But typically, many 13 to 16-year-olds can ride a 125cc dirt bike.