If you are a fan of Motocross, then you have probably had the dream of having a track that you can ride on in your own backyard. Well, as a kid, you might not have been able to do this but now you might have the space and money to be able to finally live those dreams.
But how do you do it? Well, you don’t have to start out with a huge tournament-style track, and you’d be pleasantly surprised how much fun you will have just by making a few piles of dirt that you can do jumps off of, which are simple to make.
With the information in this article, you can begin the process and have your track built in no time. With some detailed planning and lots of hard work, you can have a good-sized motocross track to practice on right in your backyard.
Before You Begin
Before you start thinking about how to do this, you want to consider a few things.
First, if you live close to neighbor’s houses, then you have to consider the noise level that the bikes will make. This may mean that you put up a fence or a row of tall trees to help contain the noise.
Things like noise or dust could affect the neighbor’s backyard. So, if you are going to do this, have a talk with your neighbors to make sure that they won’t have any issues with it.
If they do, then suggest having times during the day or on the weekends where you can use it. Then, at certain times when you will give them some peace and quiet. This small compromise will go a long way.
If need be, here are some great ideas to make your backyard more private.
Secondly, you will have to figure out the liability situation. If you will be the only one riding, then this may not be a big issue. But, if you ever plan on having friends over to ride, then you have to consider the insurance issues.
If you already have good home insurance, then some injuries may be covered, but it is good to check with your agent to see if you will need additional coverage to be protected. Otherwise, you could end up paying out of pocket in the event of an accident.
You may also need to ask about liability for trespassers. Although you may think that you wouldn’t be responsible if someone uses your track without permission, you could still be found at fault. So, it is best to protect yourself by adding safety features and signs to ensure that you won’t be liable in any situation.
Some states may have stricter policies for this issue than others, so it would be beneficial to look up what the laws are in your area and adhere to the highest safety and liability standards to protect yourself.
There are some steps that you want to go through to ensure that your track has everything it needs, and is safe for riding. So, here are the steps that you will follow to build your motocross track:
Step 1: Plan Your Track
This step is important because the other steps will work off of this blueprint. Figuring out how much room you have to make the track and what materials you will need will allow you to estimate the cost of everything and have a budget to work with.
Draw It Out
Although you could have this all in your head, it is also a good idea to get the blueprint down on paper. This will make the design easy to stick to when you are making it and will give you something to show others who may find a mistake or problem that you didn’t catch yourself.
When you are designing the track, you will need to figure out the cubic feet of the area. Here is how to do it:
- Measure the width
- Measure the length
- Measure to the height of the highest hill
- Multiple these three number together to get the cubic feet
Keep It Simple
It is also a good idea to keep the first track that you make on the simpler side. Having a few singles jumps and a whoops section will give you what you need to practice and improve without getting yourself in over your head.
Doing too much will make the whole process harder, and cost you more. Plus, you don’t want to start a complicated track only to quit and be left with an unfinished project that you can’t ride on.
Spacing of Whoops
It is also important to get the spacing of the whoops section right. To start, you should keep the spacing around eight feet with a height of two feet. This will make it easy enough to handle for the first track you make.
Once you get your first track down, then you can start changing the spacing to more of what the pros use. However, doing this too early can make the track too tough to ride.
Figure Out Drainage
When designing your track, you have to think about what you will do when mother nature decides to rain all over your new track. With dips and hills, the water will likely pool into the lower areas and cause erosion ruts.
Taking a look at proper drainage methods will help you figure out what will work best for you and keep your track from getting ruined every time you have a rainstorm.
One popular of fixing a drainage issue is to add drainage pipes in the areas that need it the most. The least expensive way of doing this is to add corrugated pipes made from plastic. These can be put underground and covered by dirt so that you have proper drainage.
Step 2: Find Out What is Under the Ground
Before you begin any digging, you want to make sure that there are no surprises underneath the soil that could stop your work. There may be utility lines under the ground that you don’t know about. There should be signs for some things, but a sign can be stolen, rusted out, or knocked over.
So, calling ahead and finding out what you will find, if anything, will make the rest of the process smoother. If there is something that is in the way, you can adjust your design so you won’t be digging in the areas where you will be blocked.
If this happens, it’s better to find out earlier than in the middle of digging, so make sure to double-check before you begin.
Step 3: Bringing in Dirt
Even in an area where you have access to extra dirt, you will likely need to bring in more to complete the entire track. However, working with the terrain that you have is a great place to start. You don’t want to bring in a ton of dirt that costs a fortune just to have half of it leftover and unused.
If you don’t have enough to fill in the hills for jumps, then you can dig a lower part of the track before it and use that extra dirt to build the hill. This will keep costs down and allow you to work with what you have.
So, figure out how much you need by finding the cubic feet of the area. If you need help with this, then refer back to four steps listed in step 1 to figure out the number. Once you have this, you can see if you are in need of more dirt and order it.
It is always a good idea to get a little bit more than you think you’ll need. It is better to have too much than too little. Plus, there is typically a delivery fee for the dirt to be transported to you. So, if you over-order, you ensure that you won’t have to pay that fee again to order more dirt.
Type of Dirt
When you are purchasing dirt, you want to get a kind that will hold together and not interfere with your riding. Loamy soil is known to be the best to use for dirt bike tracks, but it is the most expensive option and may not be in the budget for someone who doesn’t do it professionally.
Clay soil is better at keeping its shape but it can get very slippery in the rain. Sandy soil is another option, it won’t get slippery like clay soil and it drains better. So, decide what kind will work best for your track and purchase the one that makes the most sense for you and your budget.
Most dirt and soil are sold by the cubic yard, so you will need to figure out what that means for you by converting the cubic feet into yards. Here is how you do it:
- Measure the area in feet (width, length, and height)
- Multiply those numbers to get the cubic feet
- Divide that number by 27 to get the total cubic yards
- Do this for each jump to ensure you will have enough
Step 4: Getting the Necessary Equipment
If you were planning on doing only a few little hills for the first track, then having some good dirt and a shovel may suffice. However, when building a full-size motocross track, you will likely need to rent some equipment to get the job done.
One of the best options to rent for this type of project is a mini excavator. With this machine, you can remove dirt easily and move it into the spots that you need for your jumps. These are not the most complicated machines, but they can be intimidating if you’ve never used one.
When renting, you can have the rental employee go over instructions on how to use it safely. Mini excavators can be a bit temperamental and may not start if the proper steps aren’t taken.
Below is a video on how to use a mini excavator that will visually walk you through some of the basics that you should know before using it.
If you are wary about using one of these machines yourself, you can also pay someone who knows what they’re doing to handle this part of the job for you. However, you will want to figure out if you will be doing this in the planning stage so you can factor in what you will spend.
It is a good idea to check the weather for the weekend before you start this project because you will not want any rain on your dirt, but you also don’t want the rented machinery to get soaked. If it rains on the weekend that you were planning to finish this track, then you could end up having to pay for another time.
This will cost you more in the long run and the rental company will not take pity on you and give you a refund. So, check the weather diligently so that you know you won’t get caught in the rain and be unable to use the rented excavator.
Whether you want to build a small track for use with friends and family, or you just want a place where you can practice your riding skills on your own, a backyard motocross track might be the perfect thing for you. A simple track can only take a weekend to build, and you could be riding in no time.
This is a fairly big project and going into it blindly could cause you to have several different issues along the way. So, knowing all of the information above will help keep you on schedule and allow you to protect yourself against lawsuits or liability issues.
When you make sure to plan out the track, take the proper precautions, and measure and purchase the correct amount of dirt that you need, you can create the backyard motocross track that you’ve always wanted.