We all remember that Budds Creek.
That's when Justin Barcia won his first career 450 class Motocross round and eventual champ Ryan Dungey hit the dirt in not only a rare crash but a rare header. It didn't phase him much. He got up and finished the race.
Oh yeah, it was really muddy.
The summer mud fest proves that mud races don't necessarily happen only during the winter and spring months when rain is a plenty but since fall is here and the clouds have started crying it makes perfect sense to discuss what to do and what not to do when riding in the mud.
What not to do is pretty simple: Don't prep like a normal sunny day riding on loam.
Once it's obvious you'll be riding in the mud, whether it's currently raining or you had a monsoon the night before, understand mud covers you and your bike like 1970's era wallpaper. Therefore get your bike ready and yourself ready.
There are two styles of mud and both eventually, if not right away, wreak havoc on your bike and your ability to ride. There's loose mud that's more water than dirt which usually is the case when it's raining. Think of it like a muddy ride in the shower. The other type of mud is the stuff that cakes all over you, the bike and can quickly overheat an engine or simply bog you down. Either way your bike needs some defenses to help it and you get through a Moto or a day on the trails intact.
Muddy conditions can quickly over heat a dirt bike engine
Dirt Bike Prep
- Duct Tape
- Bike Parts
Grease (or lube) is your bike's best friend. Put it on everything! OK, not everything like the seat and grips but most everything. Your fenders, sprockets, chain, chain guide and even the clutch and brake cables. This prevents the mud from sticking which over time cakes up and bogs the bike down.
Just don't be misled. The lube works for a while but the thicker the mud and the longer you ride eventually the mud wins especially when it comes to your fenders. You'll add tons of weight which not only slows you down but helps burn out your engine.
So, help your two-wheeled friend out and add duct tape under the fenders (leave a small tab for easy pulling) and inside the radiator shrouds. When the mud builds up, pull on the tape and quickly release all the mud. Oh, please be sure to add grease after you've placed the tape.
Another option is foam which the mud hates but it costs more and takes time to get it on. Usually race teams have a second set of plastic equipped with foam so that's an alternative if you ride a lot.
Save your fork seals and remove mud from the out tube by adding a pair of SKF Removable Fork Mud Scrapers to your tool box. You can install these as needed depending on conditions.
Risk Racing makes some pretty cool mud grips that slip on over your current grips for extra control otherwise add some handguards that shield your grips and controls from caking up with mud. You'll also want to ensure the seat cover keeps you on the bike. Most seats on the market provide excellent grip but if yours is a few years old grab a new one before heading out. However, you'll probably find better seat stick with a ribbed seat like the FLU Designs or one with a step like the Factory Effex TC-4.
Take a look at the foot pegs. Despite their sinister appearance you might need to sharpen them to provide extra hold in the slippery conditions. Or forget the file and ride these Turner Aluminum Footpegs that offer replaceable cleats.
Grab a mud scraper to quickly remove accumulated mud on your bike in between Motos or before heading home.
Finally, you need mud tires. Get tires with deep, meaty lugs for extra grip and help fling off the mud to keep you in contention. Check out the Starcross 5 from Michelin, the Battlecross X20 from Bridgestone and or the Dunlop mud tires.
Betcha can't tell who that is! Hopefully he brought an extra change of gear
First and foremost wear, at the very least, tear-off goggles, but even better is roll-off style goggles. Some riders even wear an extra pair of goggles but that means dumping one mid-race and likely never retrieving it. Expect a thick spray of mud infused roost throughout your ride so you'll need to clear away the muck from your vision probably each lap.
If you're racing two Motos bring an extra change of gear. You're not going to get dirty, you're going to get muddy and wet, even if it's not raining.
Look at that muddy pit right in the middle of the track
Avoid the center of the track! This is where mud accumulates the most. Stick to the outside and choose your lines carefully. This means always looking ahead, something you should do anyway. Keep the throttle open, you'll need speed to get through thicker parts of the track and without momentum you'll slow to a crawl, literally.
Keep your feet on those newly sharpened pegs as much as possible. This helps prevent your boots from accumulating mud.
Now if you want to avoid much of these suggestions do one of two things. Grab the holeshot and stay out in front.
Seriously, unless a decent payout is on the line no one will blame you for avoiding the mud pie especially if you have little experience riding in mud.
Besides, clean-up is a Bee Otch.