Tag Archives: Motocross

Counting the cost of motocross

When it comes to participation in sport there can be few that suck up the life savings like motocross, and one father has estimated it costs him a small fortune each year just to keep his son doing the sport he loves.

Young Alfie Mountford, 15, from York, is mad on motocross – a form of off-road motorbike racing – and since he started racing at the age of 7, his passion is costing his father a wallet-bulging £17,000 a year.

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‘He needs a new bike at the start of each season and that costs nearly £4,000,’ says his father, Simon. ‘And then it costs a further £3,000 to adapt it to becoming competitive. You’re looking at over £7,000 before you even begin racing.’

Alfie Mountford has proved something of a motocross hit since he first cocked a leg over a bike and now competes all over the country in local and national Red Bull motocross events.

That sometimes means round trips of over 500 miles from where they live in North Yorkshire, and if there’s a mud track to race over then Alfie and his dad are there.

‘The distances are huge’, says Simon who used to ride motocross. ‘The big killer is the diesel getting to and from races. Forget about the motor homes, which 90% of the people have, it costs a fortune in fuel doing just 15 miles to the gallon. That soon mounts up when we are racing every weekend.’

And costs do not stop there. Each season means a new helmet might cost £400. Then there are two sets of race kit, boots, gloves and goggles. On top of that there’s the wear and tear on the bike plus a new set of tyres for each race along with a new chain and sprocket. Race entry fees, mechanical repairs and training replacements, rings, race fuel, food…the list goes on.

‘My son is competing at quite a high level so the costs for us are a bit higher than a lad who ventures no further than thirty miles from his home to race.’

So can motocross be done on the cheap?

‘It can be done cheaper but not cheap’ says Simon Mountford who funds his son’s hobby with a motocross apparel business called moto41. ‘It would mean buying the bike second hand and only travelling locally to race. You’d have to make do at times but bike bits always needed replacing.’

A second hand bike would set you back £2,000 with race entry starting at £35 and each race using £15 of fuel.  Assess the costs at any level and it soon mounts up.

There are estimated to be 80,000 motocross riders in the UK and although it isn’t as popular as it used to be it remains one of the most thrilling and exciting forms of motorsport on two wheels.

The official organisation to getting involved in motocross is the Amateur Motorcycle Association and they are contactable for anyone interested in taking up the sport. You will need deep pockets.

Not so for all your motocross apparel.  Go to moto41 for a wide range of motocross clothing from entry level to top end.

No shortcuts in buying a motocross helmet

You get what you pay for is the old adage when buying a new motocross helmet you would not pay £10 to protect a £10 brain. A company like Arai make helmets which are heat resistant to 800 degrees C, and can withstand huge impacts. There are many makers on the market – Airoh, One Industries, Fly Racing, Just1 – who specialise in motocross helmets – but they differ from say F1 helmets or motoGP lids.

If you ride motocross then the helmet will be the most important piece of equipment you will own. Basically they protect against impact and come in all shapes and sizes – even with wings on or a Mohican – but there are a few crucial considerations when buying a motocross helmet.

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Fit

One of the first things you need think about is its fit. Each rider’s head is shaped differently and so each helmet will fit and feel different. You should make sure you don’t feel any tight areas while wearing the helmet. Your motocross helmet may feel tight initially, and this is always the case but it will fit correctly after the liner compacts. There’s a difference between tight and snug. You also have to consider if the helmet fits low and give full head coverage. It would be no good if it slips down during races to obscure your vision. A good fit will also ease the feeling of the chin strap. A bad fitting helmet will increase the pressure on the chin strap.

Liner

The next things you have to consider is the liner. Some designs use a permanent liner, which can make cleaning it difficult. You should look to buy a motocross helmet that has a removable liner. They are much more convenient to wash and you will wonder how they get dirty so quick. The lining will gradually mould to the head and with modern advancements, they can be taken out and washed as the sweat and dirt build up. The idea is to machine wash and reinstall.

Shell

You will also need to think about the material used to make the shell of the motocross helmet. They should all come having met all the highest safety standards and common materials include fiberglass, composite fiber, carbon fiber, and Kevlar. If you’re concerned about the weight of the motocross helmet, then you should look for a design made from carbon fiber or Kevlar. These two materials are extremely strong and lightweight and of course you begin to pay through the nose for the lighter lids. You could pay £3,000 for a custom-made job but equally there are some great helmets to fit most budgets – from £80.

Eye ports

You should also pay attention to the eye ports on a helmet. Different models will use eye ports of various sizes. You need to make sure that the eye ports will be large enough to accommodate the goggles you will be wearing.

Visor

One of the next things you need to consider is the visor. The visor can be mounted using either plastic or metal mounting screws. It’s best to look for a motocross helmet that uses plastic screws to mount the visor. Plastic designs won’t destroy the visor in case of an accident.

These are a few tips for buying a motocross helmet. You should look for a design that uses a removable liner so that it’s convenient to clean. You should also look for a motocross helmet that has a shell made with carbon fiber and Kevlar due to their strength and light weight. Make sure that the eye ports are large enough to accommodate your goggles.

I’d recommend you never buy a secondhand helmet, be suspicious of something that costs £3 and ideally you would put on the helmet before you buy. There are now specialist retailers of motocross helmets like moto41 who offer advice and great customer service.

Your ready to race, amigos.