[News]

Your First Race … It’s Time, Tiger!

1 month ago | Words: Andy Wigan | Photos: Donat O'Kelly, Sal Aloisio

Why do most people ride their dirt bike, but never race it? Because stepping up from casual rider to dog-eat-dog racer would take the fun out of it, right? Or would it? What if you could get a taste of racing by joining your mates on a team and racing purely for fun? What if racing actually turned out to be more fun than riding?
Well, consider the five main reasons why Transmoto Enduro events attract more first-time racers than any other event in the country…

1. THE ATMOSPHERE

Race it or ride it; run a motocross weapon or trail sled; fly in and fly out or make a weekend’s surf-and-moto roadtrip out of it with your mates … take your pick. At Transmoto Enduro events, people take the racing as seriously or lightheartedly as they want to. All the organisers want to know is that they’re enjoying themselves. After all, “It’s the vibe of the thing”. It’s all about fun, not officialdom; about back-slappin’, high-fivin’, trash-talkin’, roost-throwin’, road-trippin’, campfire-yarnin’, mate-racin’, fun-lovin’ good times. That’s why these events usually sell out overnight.

2. YOU’RE NOT ALONE

Racing solo can be intimidating, especially if you’re new to it. Racing as part of a multi-rider team, on the other hand, means you’ve got a ready-made support network in your corner. You can even share one (or all) of your teammate’s bikes, if they’re up for it. Even though it may technically be a six-, eight- or 12-hour race, there’s a few of you to carry the racing load, which means you’ve got time off the bike to enjoy your surroundings. Meet the crew in the neighbouring pit plot. Indulge in a hand or forearm massage. Steal a cheeky snooze. Cruise trade alley. Wander over to the far side of the pits to suss out that tricky corner. Take a squiz at how the team is going on the timing screen (if that even matters to you). In short, enjoy the experience; the race that doesn’t feel like a race. We suspect this is exactly why, for half the entrants at every Transmoto event, it’ll be the only race they enter all year. If your team rides like a busted arse, you’ve got the perfect excuse: simply blame your sluggish teammates for finishing way down the results sheet. If you end up killing it, then remind everyone how you carried those bozo teammates of yours to a better-than-expected result. Either way, you win … until you realise no one even cares where the team finished.

3. WEEKEND WARRIORS: THE REAL WINNERS

The events’ 15km-long race loops intentionally don’t include extreme obstacles. Sure, depending on the venue, there’s the odd creek crossing or rocky hill or rough section, but the courses are designed to challenge riders’ endurance, not their obstacle-conquering skills. Each loop includes multiple areas where fast guys can pass slower riders safely, and any technical sections have a ‘chicken line’ for those who don’t feel quite up to the task. Admittedly, the courses do get pretty rough by the end of the event, but as track deterioration is a gradual process, you get the chance to adapt and adjust your suspension clickers accordingly (if you’re that serious). Either that or put your feet up in the pits and send a teammate back out to face the bumpy music. A majority of riders sign up as a ‘Weekend Warrior’ team, which reflects the fact a majority pay for their bikes, parts, gear, travel costs and race entries in cold hard cash, and like nothing more than simply getting out there and tearing around on their bikes with their mates on the weekend. It’s the Weekend Warriors who get the brightest media spotlight and biggest prize bootie.

4. BUILT-IN BACK-UP

Aside from the reassuring fact your teammates have got your back, there are also 15 experienced sweep riders out on the race loop, whose primary job is to make sure you don’t get stuck or lost or tangled in bunting, and give you the best chance of greeting the chequered flag at the end of the day with a smile on your dial. And if things do go tits-up, rest assured there’s a super-experienced emergency medical team on hand to look after you and your teammates, with vehicular access to the entire track.

5. RACE CRED!

C’mon, admit it. You’ve always wanted to say that you race your dirt bike, rather than simply ride it, right? Who doesn’t want a little Steve McQueen race cred by casually referring to “last weekend’s race” in public? But there’s more to it than that. Transmoto’s Enduros are one of the very few events in the world where first-time racers get the opportunity to share a racetrack and campfire yarn with some of the world’s best Pro racers. If you’re interested, you can even compare lap times with these Pros in mufti. Most entrants, however, are there simply to have fun and call themselves a finisher. Or at least say they gave it a red-hot crack.

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