Motocross drops the gate begins every summer and if you've never been to one or have attended many but find it such an ordeal you swear every year you're not going back then this guide is for you.
But first, before we begin, understand that attending a Motocross round is an ALL DAY event. There's no other way around it so give yourself time, bring your patience and don't schedule anything afterwards you absolutely must get home for.
Since that's settled, now we can discover the best way to enjoy this all day affair, make the most of the experience and, best of all, have fun.
Buy your tickets early. If you've chosen a round to attend and it's a done deal on your calendar buy tickets as soon as they go on sale which is usually shortly after the season ends. If you're just planning now for this year, it is early, and with three months left the rounds on the tail-end of the season put you in better shape than what is scheduled in the next few weeks. The pit passes and Saturday only tickets almost always sell out. If you wait too long you'll be stuck with buying either only a pit pass, only admission or spending money on the 4-day pass which, unless you're camping, you won't need.
This brings us to the first reason to get a pit pass in addition to race entry. For some odd reason, many Motocross races take place in an obscure location that only has one road in and one road out - for 20,000 people. It's worse than attending a concert.
At the Washougal National, for example, if you time it wrong, it literally takes an hour to go one mile. Get your pit pass, leave early, avoid traffic and spend time with the teams and your favorite riders. Getting trackside before the crowd arrives also ensures a great viewing spot.
Getting early to the race track ensures an awesome viewing spot
Now we come to the second reason you want a pit pass - Autographs! The pit pass gets you into the pits where the riders hang out and hold autograph sessions. Most events provide a program with a schedule so you can get in line early (there's early again!) and be near the front when Trey Canard, Ryan Dungey, Eli Tomac or whoever holds the session comes out. The more popular riders also tend to provide a whiteboard with information on the next signing.
Many riders provide posters that they sign but you can also bring your own or for a really special collectible take a hat or jersey that you can frame and display proudly at home. Some fans bring a helmet, which is really cool, but think about carrying that around for the next five hours. A front number plate that matches the bike your favorite rider uses is also an exciting keepsake and something you can easily stuff in a backpack.
What to Wear
Motocross is also called Outdoors for a reason and outdoors in the summer usually means one thing - it's going to be hot. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes and bring sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. Don't wear sandals or flip-flops. You're walking on dry, dusty dirt and you'll walk a lot. Wear shoes, you'll be glad you did.
By all means bring a camera, whether it's on your phone, a point-and-shoot or you're an amateur photographer pulling out the detachable lens. Motocross offers some of the best opportunities to take spectacular racing photos plus if you get in line for the autograph session what's more impressive than a frame-ready photo with you alongside your favorite rider or a famous Motocross Champion. Plus, think of the likes you'll get on Facebook or Instagram. You know you want them.
Now here's the reminder that will save your day - charge the battery and/or bring extras. In Moto fandom world, nothing's worse than having a straight shot of the finish line when the checkers drop, you click as the winner flies overhead and nothing happens.
Look at all those people. Somehow they got in, somehow they'll get out
Bring cash. Motocross is not held in state-of-the-art stadiums like Supercross. You'll more than likely need cash to buy food, drink and any merchandise as most of the venders won't be set-up for credit card transactions. Have no fear, if you forget there's usually an ATM on premises but we can't be held accountable for the cash withdrawal fees.
Bring water. Buy water. Whatever you do - drink water. It's hot, the sun beats down and dehydration sets in quickly. Keep hydrated so you'll last all four Motos.
Leaving the Venue
There's two schools of thought on leaving once the race is done. Remember the traffic getting to the event? Now, everybody's got to leave, right? So, after spending all day and you've seen three Motos and you're not so bent on seeing the last Moto to the end, leave halfway through. This ensures an easy ride out and a quick drive home.
Stay late to see the victors and possibly walk away with the winner's goggles
If however, you want to see the outcome of Moto 2 rather than read about it later, then stay for the podium celebrations and interviews. This passes enough time for traffic to clear out plus by staying and celebrating with the winners you just might score yourself a pair of race-used goggles or something else tossed into the crowd by a winning rider.
Have fun, be safe and cheer hard!