dirt track 101
Dirt Track 101
Dirt Track is one the most exciting and also easiest forms of motorcycle sport to get started in. It doesn’t require a new bike, the latest gear or an intensive training regime. A rider of average fitness can easily handle the 4 lap sprints. There are classes to suit many types of bike and riding levels to suit beginner, junior, social, intermediate, advanced or veteran. Dirt track is an entertaining and enjoyable sport to watch, the natural amphitheatre provides elevated viewing for friends and family to watch all of the on-track action.The Broadford Dirt Track is located at the Broadford State Motorcycle Sports Complex which is about one hours drive north of Melbourne with facilities that include hot showers, modern toilet blocks, first aid and a canteen. The bike control skills developed in dirt track, controlling a motorcycle when tires are sliding and adapting to the changing track conditions a rider can carry over into other motorcycle disciplines including motocross, road riding or racing.
The bike control skills developed in dirt track, controlling a motorcycle when tires are sliding and adapting to the changing track conditions a rider can carry over into other motorcycle disciplines including motocross, road riding or racing.
A dirt track is similar to speedway track or American flat track but the track layout has right and left hand corners linked to one or more straights and is roughly kidney shaped. The track is normally on a flat area but can have a bit of elevation from one end to the other. There are no jumps and the surface is usually of granitic sand. Track length is between 500 to 700 metres and is approximately 10 to 12 metres wide.
The start area consists of gates similar to those used in motocross with a maximum of 12 solo competitors or 6 sidecars/quads. The start area is concrete, running approximately 2 metres behind the gates and 1 metre in front leading onto the track surface itself./p>
These days motocross and enduro bikes are normally used in dirt track but you don’t need to have the latest machine to be competitive. Massive horsepower, long travel suspension and powerful disc brakes are not as important as in MX or Enduro. This makes it a lot cheaper to compete.
There is also the ‘slider’ which was the weapon of choice quite a few years ago but has just about disappeared as the ‘chook chasers’ gained popularity. They are similar to a speedway bike; having the same type of motor and being very light but have rear suspension, brakes and a gear box.
The Harley Club runs Dirt Track practice at the State Motorcycle Sports Complex at Broadford. All riders must be current financial members of the Club, have one of the licences listed below and be a financial member of Ambulance Victoria. Bikes must also be set up according to the current Motorcycling Australia General Competition Rules and riders must have the required safety gear which includes helmet, goggles, jersey and MX pants or leathers, gloves, boots and body armour and back protector.
Practice is normally held on a Sunday but can vary according to track bookings etc. Sign in commences at 8am with bikes on track around 10 am through to approximately 4.00pm with a lunch break at midday of around 30 minutes. Practice sessions are broken up into seniors and juniors alternating and each session runs for approximately 8 to 10 laps.
Practice days are a low key affair and a good chance for the novice (both senior and junior) to have some fun and gain experience without the pressures of a race day.
Cost to ride is $45 (Senior) and $35 (Junior), unless you have a Broadford Medallion, in which case it’s free. One day recreational license is $30 for Junior or Senior if you don’t have an MA license. Club membership – Junior - $20, Senior - $40, Family - $60 (a one off joining fee of $5 applies to all new memberships).
Please Note: All practice day prices were correct at the time of writing however they are subject to change without notice.
Normally run on a Sunday but again depending on track bookings. Racing starts straight after a 9:00am practice and finishes around 4:00pm with a 30 minute break for lunch. Most race meetings are entry on the day with sign in normally starting from 7.00am and closing at 8.00am. Riders briefing starts around 8.45 am, followed by one round of practice, then racing gets underway.
Races consist of 4 laps and there are usually 3 rounds in the day for seniors and 6 rounds for juniors. Races are about 2 minutes long (lap times of around 29 to 35 seconds) so you don’t need to be super-fit unless you’ve entered multiple classes. Then you will have a very busy day.
Entry fees are $65 for seniors and $45 for juniors per meeting. A day license, if needed, is $45 for a Senior. There are also two non-competitive classes, Pee Wees and Junior Clubman (up to 160cc four strokes). These classes have been included to introduce kids to Dirt Track without too much pressure and hopefully they’ll step up to competition eventually. Non-competitive entry fees and day licenses are $35 and $30 respectively.
Please Note: All race day prices were correct at the time of writing and are online pre-entry, They are subject to change without notice.
Suspension settings are normally firmed up on the rear spring and the compression. Rebound is also tightened up a few clicks both front and rear. Gearing is usually made taller by reducing the back sprocket by 1 or 2 teeth but can vary according to riding style. On 2 strokes it’s advisable to increase the main jet 1 size as the bikes are on higher revs for a longer time than in MX. Front forks can be lifted through the triple clamps 5 to 10 mm to quicken up the steering.
Knobby tyres are OK on the front wheel but are not allowed on the back as they tear up the track surface up too much. Front tyre pressures are around 10 to 15 psi. Senior Bikes 18” Rear Wheels: The most commonly used tyre on senior bikes is a trials radial type. Michelin and V Rubber are the most popular at Broadford but Dunlop, Midas, IRC, Bridgestone and others also have a trials tyre. Pressures are from 8 psi to 15 psi depending on track conditions. The more grip the track has, the higher the pressure. For 19” rear wheels Vee Rubber make a trials tyre otherwise a speedway tyre can be used but they’re not that well suited to your MX/Enduro type motorcycle. Tyre pressures are again about the same but also vary with track conditions. Junior Bikes: Two strokes up to 100cc and four strokes up to 150cc can use knobby tires. Anything over these capacities use the trials type tires.