News 22 Mar 2013

The Point: Pre-season races talks about pre-season racing in this latest edition of The Point.

As the opening round of the 2013 Monster Energy MX Nationals approaches, many riders and teams are hitting up the state level races to get some race experience and seat-time before the real fun begins. But how do you find the balance between getting enough race-time and burning a rider out? We hit up four riders and team members to get their thoughts.

Motorex KTM Racing's Kirk Gibbs is one of the riders using pre-season events to his advantage. Image: Jeff Crow/Sport the Library.

Motorex KTM Racing’s Kirk Gibbs is one of the riders using pre-season events to his advantage. Image: Jeff Crow/Sport the Library.

Rob Tywerould – Motorex KTM Racing team manager

Racing the NZ Nationals is a joint venture for KTM Australia and New Zealand. They have a lites team but no open riders, so it made sense to go and race there, and their championship is the perfect lead-up to the Australian championship. In regards to finding the balance between getting race time and having a rider peak to early, I think it depends on the rider. Both Todd Waters and Kirk Gibbs just want to race and you don’t get that sort of workout on a practice track.

The advantage of racing overseas is they’re out of their comfort zone and they’re seeing these tracks for the first time, which keeps the interest factor high. If they continuously rode the same Australian tracks there’s a chance they would get stale, but right now they’re very motivated.

Kale Makeham – Tunetech KTM

I think it’s important to put a bike through its paces in all conditions in the season lead-up. There’re a lot of variables and you want to test on hard-pack, mud, sand, and dusty tracks to cover your bases and find out what works. Every opportunity we get to test, we’re out there.

It’s all about getting to know the bike and building your knowledge, as well as seeing how your pace compares to other riders. Tracks are a lot different in a race setting than they are if you’re just practising. You can run the risk of burning out if you do too many races early on, but I think it’s important to ‘get your eye in’ before the season starts.

There is no substitute for the real thing. Image: Simon Makker/

There is no substitute for the real thing. Image: Simon Makker/

Kade Mosig – Zero Seven Motorsports

Some people agree and disagree with the amount of pre-season races that we should do, but I’ve found it to be a big benefit to do a few races before the nationals. Everyone’s different, but they definitely help with your starts and the intensity of racing. Doing too many local events can be a negative though, you can gain a false confidence as you can think you’re killing it, then you get smoked at the nationals where everyone steps up to a whole new level again.

We use pre-season racing both for testing and for race experience. You can’t simulate taking off a start line with 40 other guys. I think it’s important to test your form against other riders instead of a stopwatch.

Lee Walker – Ford Dale’s mechanic at Carlton Dry Honda Racing

Usually we try and do as many races as possible early in the pre-season then taper off at the end, but because of Ford’s knee reconstruction we’ve had to take a different approach, he’s going crazy with training and races now, which we wouldn’t normally do. From a mechanic’s point of view you want to get as much out of your rider as possible during pre-season without burning them out.

We had to tell Ford to settle down last year as he was riding five days a week, but I think having Ben Townley on the team has been a huge benefit. He’s taken Ford under his wing and told him to focus more on quality training rather than quantity and the results are already starting to show.