Dirt bikes are always enjoyable to ride, especially when you have some experience. Practicing on a full-size dirt bike track is great, but you can still have fun and improve your riding skill with a short truck. So instead of traveling long distances to practice, why not build a dirt bike track on your backyard?
Having said that, there are some few things you have to consider when building a motocross track. In this post, we will share everything you need to know about building a dirt bike track, from picking the site and design to ground preparation to track maintenance.
Of course, when we talk about building a dirt bike track, we are not referring to designing and constructing the latest state-of-the-art circuit for the AMA series. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a spacious private undulated land to carve up with a huge bulldozer. If you have limited space, we will help you build a nice dirt bike track.
Part 1 – Preparation and Permissions
Before you build your dirt bike track, please take care of the following things:
- What are the noise restrictions that apply to your area?
- Do you need permits before constructing your track?
- How will your neighbors react to your motocross track? Will it interfere with their lives?
- Will you need insurance for the riders?
- How do you control unauthorized users from getting to your track?
- Where will you get water for your track?
- Is the area safe enough to build a dirt bike track? Here we mean free of rocks and trees, which could prevent emergency access whenever necessary.
Here are just a few issues that you have to take care of before you even start planning how to build the track. Let’s look at each of them in details in the next section.
The amount of space needed
As alluded earlier, size matters. Usually the bigger the space the better the track. But this does not mean that you cannot construct your motocross track on a small piece of land. Sometimes, even the free space in your backyard that is big enough to ride a bike in will suffice. You may see that one acre as a tiny space, but you will be surprised what it can do, especially if you are planning to build a dirt bike track for your kids.
Having said that, please pay attention to these minimum measurements:
- Minimal length of the track should be about 400 feet.
- If you want a 6-lane track or 5 lanes and a start area, then the width should be at least 220 feet.
- Remember that you have to maintain the track, so you need enough space between the lanes. The recommended arrangement is leaving a 20 feet space in between 20 feet lanes. If you are fencing your track, set aside an additional 15 feet space that separates the fence and the lanes.
Taking into account your neighbors and surrounding area
Location is very important. You may have a large piece of land enough to construct a nice motocross track, but there is always the issue of disturbing your neighbors. They may cause a big problem, especially if they don’t like it and consequently report you to the local authorities. The main issue is usually the noise generated by the bikes. Some people can’t stand the exhilarating sound of a racing dirt bike.
Taking this into account, you need to be careful when choosing the location for your track. It will be really frustrating and a waste of resources to build a good motocross track, only to be shut down within the first month.
So, if you have neighbors nearby, noise and dust can be a big issue. Trail bikes are generally fine, but motocross bikes can get you into trouble. It is good to get their view before constructing a track. In some instances, you may need to put up a fence or a buffer of trees to control both the dust and noise. But before setting up a cushion, please check with your building to be sure of the setback requirement for the fence. And if your property is not surveyed, it is better to have it surveyed o stay away from the perceived property line.
Insurance is another issue that most people forget when they are setting up their motocross track. You see, while you are building a track for yourself or children, it will be more enjoyable if you race with your friends. And you know, in such competition accidents are bound to happen. So it is better to have the right insurance coverage to cushion you against unexpected liabilities. Consider discussing this issue with your lawyer who will help you understand the consequences of someone getting hurt on your track.
Sometimes it is easy to assume that since they are your friends, there isn’t a big issue with formalities. You don’t want to be held liable when they get injured. Some of them will not accept responsibility for their errors, and will instead find a way to blame the status of the truck. Bearing this in mind, you could end up spending lots of money on things you could have just avoided by getting a comprehensive liability insurance package.
Don’t wait until you finish your track to plan for your insurance needs. Sometimes insurance can get expensive, depending on how you plan to use your track. So it is always recommended to look into this issue before starting the construction. Besides this, you can also tell your friends to sign a waiver and release of liability before they use your track. This way, you will limit the possibility of being sued should an accident happens. A good way to make riders sign the waiver is to make your track members-only facility because it is easier for them to sign the form as they register their membership.
Finally, you should consider installing several cameras along the track to protect yourself from false accusations.
Trespassers is another challenge you have to take into account as you plan to construct your track. If you live far away from the track, it’s difficult to monitor people who use your track without permission. In an ideal situation, if they get hurt, it will be their fault since they did not have permission to use the track. Practically speaking, some riders may blame you for not securing the track. So you should erect poster signs along the track. You can find these items on Amazon or your local hardware store.
Some states require you to put your name and address on the poster sign for them to consider to be legal. Also, some trespassing laws are specific on how far from your property you need to erect the poster sign. In short, you should do some research on the trespassing laws for the area you plan to erect the track.
Apart from erecting posters, consider installing surveillance cameras around the track to help you monitor who is using your track. Erecting a fence is another viable option. But all these additions mean extra budget on your part.
Access and parking
Besides taking care of the design and size of the track, you also have to take into account access and parking within your park. This is especially important if you are planning to open up your track to the public. IF you are a motocross racer, then you already know that motocross racers also lover trailers and other big machines that may take lots of space. So allocate a portion of the land, preferably a flat surface, for parking.
Besides parking, also take into account access for bulldozers, mini excavators and water trucks, even after the track is completed. Allocate enough space around the track for an easier passage should there be a need to renovate the track. You should expect your track to last forever. There will be times when you need to grade it, which is usually done with large vehicles, so you track needs to be fairly wide to accommodate them.
Part 2 – Designing Your Dirt Bike Track
The easiest way to building a dirt bike track is to ride your bike around the area you intend to construct the track. You can use ropes to demarcate the proposed racing area and the parking space.
It would be ideal if you have natural jumps you can work with. Also, check if you have hedges or trees you can use to build berms around. Basically, any natural feature should be put to good use.
When you have a clear picture of how your track will look, put everything to paper. Take into account the perimeter, parking areas, the length and size of lanes, spaces required, obstructions and trees. Allocate enough space for overtaking, especially if you plan to hold races in your track.
Unless you track is located on the side of the hill, proper training is required. Water will find its way to the lowest point, which may erode that area. So it is good to do some research on erosion and drainage control to have a better understanding of how to get water to where it is required without interfering with the track.
The best way to do this is to keep the track slightly raised to allow water to run straight off. Leave some space between the lanes so that water can flow into. Whenever necessary, add some culverts that will drain water away from the main track.
Check if there are underground utilities
Before you can dig a pond to get soil for the jump, it is always a good idea to check if there are underground utilities. There could be secondary transmission lines in the area. While such utilities are usually signposted, it is good to confirm because some signs may have rusted off or fallen off. Call an underground locator hotline in your state to make sure there is nothing lying beneath the proposed area.
Part 3 – Execution: How to Construct a Motocross Track
Dirt is obviously the most crucial component of your track, so you need to think deeply about how you will get a good amount of dirt. Clay-based dirt is usually the best. On average, you may need about 3,000 cubic yards of clay to construct a dirt bike track. If you are lucky enough to have a free space on a sloppy or hilly area, then you have dirt is readily available to you.
To construct a good track, you need to have the proper equipment. Some equipment you may need to build a motocross track are stakes, a large measuring tape, a bucket loader, a water truck, and a bulldozer. An excavator can also come in handy. The equipment may vary depending on the type and size of your track.
If you are not sure of how to operate the equipment, have a rental guy explain to you the safety procedures. Also, establish in advance if you are going to pay for the machine even if you are not using because sometimes it may rain.
When building your track, keep in mind the hills, sweeping and flowing motions, and jumps. Whoops and jumps will surely eat up all your dirt, so if you have large logs or boulders, use them to fill the jump. Also, ensure that you have the right transition of the jumps and using enough dirt to get the job properly done. Make them nice and long, so they don’t throw riders around. Try to keep this proportion: 3:1 (3 for length and 1 height).
So if you jump is about 5 feet high, you need to make it at least 15 feet long. Besides this, make your jumps as wide as possible to provide more lines for rides to use and, in the process, avoid tearing up the same section of the jump.
Expect it to last about 3 – 4 days, depending on the machinery you are using, who operates that machine, type of soil, and if the land needs clearing. For instance, if you are using a powerful bulldozer such as Caterpillar D6 being operated by an experienced mechanic, you can build a 3-acre size track within a week. Clearing can take you 2 to 3 days.
To this end, you now know how to construct a dirt bike track. The most critical thing to keep in mind is how you plan to start the track and how to push the project off to a start. So pay attention to planning and design. This will influence the outcome of the final track. Take your time on this area, and you will have a track you are proud of.
On top of this, you shouldn’t worry about building a sizable track. If you are still learning the sport, it is okay to build smaller jumps on a smaller track. There is no loss since you can always go back and adjust everything once you gain more experience.