28 April 2021

There will be dirt! Motocross comes to Canberra

| James Coleman
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Motorcross racing

Tip for beginners: don’t wear white. Photos: Supplied.

Heart-pounding, breath-taking, edge-of-the-seat motorsport is back in Canberra when the ACT Motorcycle Club hosts the second round of the 2021 ProMX Championship at the Fairbairn Motorsports Complex on Sunday (2 May).

After hitting South Australia, NSW and Victoria, the annual series will finish in early August with Rounds 7 and 8 in Queensland.

At its simplest, it’s a celebration of motocross, the art of getting two wheels to go very fast on dirt.

Canberra’s track is 1,450 metres long with an 80-metre straight stretch and 15 turns. Riders average about 56 km/h. A unique feature is ‘The Three Sisters’, or three table-top jumps in a row.

John Davison is the publicity officer for the ACT Motorcycle Club and says spectators should expect about 40 riders from all over the country and “great, exciting racing, with jumps, bumps and competition”.

For those behind the handlebars, he says it comes down to “vision”.

“They need to be looking ahead. They need to see and have great reflexes. Really, the only time they get to ‘rest’, is when they’re in the air, jumping.”

An MX1-class bike in action

An MX1-class bike in action – the rider is enjoying a brief ‘rest’ while in the air …

Off the track, riders “don’t just go down to the gym” – there’s training specifically designed to keep hand-eye coordination in tip-top shape and exercises that target muscles used in keeping the bike stable.

John says that for most, motocross isn’t a full-time career, but for those who are really good and end up in international championships with major sponsors, it can come with a paycheque in the millions.

John himself has been riding motorbikes since he was a kid, and his son, James Davison, started at the age of seven.

The riders typically begin between the ages of four and six on a 50-cc motorcycle “for fun”. Then it’s on to 50-cc Division 2, which introduces some competition. Once you reach seven, the size of the engine increases to 65-cc and there are two classes. Then, there’s the possibility of continuing onto 85-cc and 125-cc before climbing up the major ladder rungs of MX3, MX2, and MX1.

“You step through your skills,” John says. “The more and more you ride, the bigger the bike, the faster it is, and the more skill and practice you need.”

His son is now 18 and already in the MX2 class. This brings with it 122-150-cc two-stroke or 200-250-cc four-stroke bikes. By the time he’s at an MX1 level, he’ll be among the most-talented and best-funded teams with the fastest bikes.

Resting rider

… A rider enjoying a brief rest on the track.

“It’s a good family sport because the rider can’t do it on his own. He or she needs dad and mum, and brothers and sisters.”

And with tracks all over the country, John says that you’re together, as a family, for long periods of time.

This upcoming event will feature the 65-cc Cup and all three MX classes. There’ll also be a ‘Trade Alley’ for those wanting to pick up motorcycle parts and gear at bargain prices, and for those who want to frighten their parents, a ‘Mini Moto Experience’, where kids as young as four can try their hand at riding a 50-cc bike.

There will also be several trucks serving food and drinks on site.

The gates open at 7:00 am, practice begins at 8:00 am for the riders, with racing commencing at 10:00 am and running on and off throughout the day until 4:00 pm. Entry prices are $30 for an adult and $25 for a concession; children under 15 are free. Tickets can be booked here.

The Check-In-CBR app is mandatory for COVID-19 compliance.

For those who can’t make it in person, Round 2 of the 2021 ProMX Championship will also be televised to SBS and Foxtel. John says everyone is very excited by this, the first TV appearance of Australian motocross since the early 1990s.

MX3 rider

Fans showing their support for the MX3 rider.

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