Build A Track - Planning

What's better than riding a dirt bike or competing in motocross? Riding your dirt bike on your very own motocross track! Building your own motocross track may sound intimidating, but it IS do-able! This series of articles will give you enough information to get you started.

We'll break down the building of your own motocross track into phases. We'll start with location and planning.

When picking land for own dirt bike riding, you need to keep two important things in mind. The area available to you, and who else is in the neighborhood. An acre of land is big enough to build a track, but it's probably not a good idea if you have homes nearby. On the other hand, if you have 50 acres of forest and clear an acre in the middle of it, you could be surrounded by neighbors who may never know you're running dirt bikes (especially if you're riding 4-strokes). If you're trying to build a competition track, you'll need about 400 feet by 250 feet of area. If you only need enough space for two or three bikes at a time, you can do it in a smaller area.

Make sure you check out by-laws and local regulations as well. I know of one rural area where it's okay to build a personal motocross track, but only for use by the owner of the property and his or her family. In other words, you can't have a dozen of your friends out riding dirt bikes on the weekend.

If the track you're going to build is not where you live day to day, will you be able to keep people off of it? You want to avoid strangers coming in and wrecking the track or vandalizing anything in the area, and you want to avoid some idiot suing you for hurting himself while riding on your property. At the very least, you'll need to post “Private Property” and “No Trespassing” signs. If you're out in the country, “No Hunting” signs are also a good idea. You don't need an enthusiastic hunter hurling bullets in your direction. On the other hand, if the closest neighbor has a couple of kids with dirt bikes, allowing them to ride your track may win you a lot of points. You'll probably want them to sign a waiver though.

So, assuming you have a suitable piece of land, it's time to map it out. If it's an open field, you can do it with a 100 meter/yard tape measure. If there's bush or forest, beg, borrow, or buy a newer GPS unit, and get some software. There is some free GPS mapping software available, and the program I use can be found HERE.

Make a rough sketch or map of the area you're going to build on. Are there rocky areas? Low spots? Hills? Water or swamp? Depending on the type of riding you want to do, you can avoid some areas or incorporate them into your track.

This is also a good time to get an idea of what kind of building material you have access to. Jumps take more dirt than you think. There are tricks to get around this, and I'll cover them in the building phase. The soil should be clay-based – something you can pack -- so it doesn't erode quickly. If the dirt is soft and loamy, you'll end up doing a lot of track repairing and grooming.

Once you have your map. Sit around for a few days (or weeks) and sketch out possible track layouts. Again, this is YOUR track, so design it the way YOU want it. If you like whoops, there's nothing stopping you from putting in four sections of them. Like table tops more than doubles? Load your track with them.

Also keep in mind the kind of dirt bikes and dirt bike riders that will be on the track. You can pack a whole lot of fun into a small area with smaller jumps if you're into pit bikes. Younger or beginner riders will want smaller jumps to build up their confidence. If you want to go screaming around on a 450, you'll need to scale everything up.

Keep the terrain you mapped out in mind. If there's a hill or even a slight rise, putting a jump there can save you a lot of dirt. The bottom edge of a hill is an easy place to carve out a berm. A pile of rocks is better on the inside of a turn than the outside.

The focus of these articles is creating a motocross-style track, but keep another option in mind – if you have the space, you can create an excellent trail to ride. One guy I know has 60 acres of bush with a small track in the centre, as well as close to three miles of trail surrounding it. By zig zagging your trail, you can pack a lot of riding into a small area, and you can still add jumps along the trail.

Once you have what you think is a good layout, head back to your property with some stakes or flags. With map in hand, walk out your track and mark track sections with your stakes. You may find that something that looked great on paper, jut doesn't work on your piece of property, or that if you move a jump over a little, you can use a natural hill to build it. If at all possible, once you've staked things out, ride the track to see how it feels. Are the straights long enough? Are the jumps spaced okay?

Make adjustments and keep tweaking until you're comfortable with the layout.

Then it's time to start building. You'll find that article by clicking HERE.