If the thrill of competing on a dirt bike gets your heart racing, then this article is for you.
How to Become a Pro Motocross Racer – Summary.
#1 You should have a natural riding ability for riding fast under pressure.
#2 You must have a burning desire to make it.
#3 You must love dirt bike riding.
#4 You must want to win and hate losing.
#5 You have to sacrifice some good things in life.
#6 You need to practice your drills at least 5 days a week.
#7 You will need to workout with a specific training program.
#8 Get yourself a coach.
#9 Get yourself a pit crew.
#10 Get your AMA pro racing licence and get medical insurance.
#11 Enter into as many races as possible.
#12 You must set realistic goals and have an overall plan in place.
#13 Build your mechanical abilities.
#14 Build a following on social media.
#15 You must have plenty of tenacity and commitment.
Professional dirt bike racing is probably one of the most exhilarating career choices anyone can make in my opinion.
Being sponsored by the big brands, wearing the best gear and the bright lights.
Having your own pit crew! The cheering crowds.
Travelling around the world! Getting paid to ride full time and promote products! It’s super exciting.
This type of mind blowing lifestyle is typical of a pro racing lifestyle and is available to anyone that wants it badly enough.
But what do you need to do to get there?
There is really not much that is written on the topic.
So I thought I would take a shot at writing down some points based on the many pro riders that I have had contact with over the years.
Personally, I’ve never really wanted to go pro as I already gain maximum pleasure from recreational riding.
I have no desire for the commitment and responsibility of it, but I certainly respect the guys that have made it.
Don’t get me wrong, the thrill of racing is exciting and being known as an elite dirt bike rider would be a real trip!
It would be a thrilling life, but a life where you have to make huge sacrifices. It takes real guts and determination to make it in the professional riding world.
In the end, if you really want something out of life, the best way to do it is to learn what the pros are thinking and doing.
Then apply it in your life with as much determination and commitment as possible.
By emulating the habits of the pros, you can discover a successful path for yourself if you want to follow the same journey.
In this article, I will be showing you what the pro riders are doing and thinking on a consistent basis.
I will also be breaking down the essential traits and skills that they have crafted for themselves over their careers which have been crucial to their success.
#1 Natural Riding Ability.
Obviously, you need to be good on a dirt bike. I’m not talking about being amazing straight off the cuff (it certainly helps though).
But you need to be unafraid of pressure, high speeds, jumping and crashing.
Pro racing is all about pushing the bike to its absolute limit.
This means that you need to have a natural ability to hang on and get a round a track consistently at top speed.
#2 Burning Desire to Make it.
I know some people will debate me on this, but this is the basis of any achievement.
Making the pro level is really difficult and if you do not have a huge desire to make it, you will eventually be defeated by a few setbacks.
Your career will be over before it began.
A common trait of the pros is that they can’t imagine doing anything else.
Rain, hail, shine, whatever, they are there at the track thrashing out laps every day to get better.
They are completely self-motivated.
Only a burning desire can keep you pushing through all the adversity and pain of climbing through the ranks.
#3 Love what you do.
Also like burning desire, if you don’t love what you do then eventually you won’t be doing it anymore.
I see kids all the time at the track getting pushed hard by their parents to perform like race horses.
You can easily spot the kids that are into it and those that aren’t.
The ones that are really into it are fully engaged in everything to do with their dirt bike from dawn to dusk. Those that aren’t are sitting in the van playing Xbox.
You have to enjoy riding and absolutely love all parts of the sport, from the riding and mechanical to the fitness as well.
#4 You Must Love Winning.
One thing that all pro riders are known for; they just can’t stand losing!
Some people have this competitive spirit and others don’t.
If you want to race pro, you must love winning and use it as a primary driver in your racing career.
#5 Sacrifice the Party Life.
There’s 3 main things you need to sacrifice as a professional rider;
1) a big social life,
2) drinking alcohol,
3) eating junk food.
Social life: I’m not saying that you can’t have friends at all, but the days of partying every other night is over.
The life of a riding pro is super competitive and every advantage that is available, you will need to take on just to keep up.
If you can’t sacrifice this, you just won’t make it.
The pros are on it 24/7, watching their sleep and food intake and practicing all the time.
Drinking alcohol: Consistent alcohol consumption will slow down any athlete and performance will always suffer. That is just fact.
The odd drink is fine of course but excessive consumption will wipe out a riding career.
Junk food: Think of food like the gas you put in your bikes tank.
If the gas is shit then there is no way that the bike will perform properly and it will eventually get damaged.
This goes exactly the same for food.
Quality food equals higher performance, simple as that. That is why a lot of pro riders have their own nutritionists that direct their eating plans.
#6 Practice like all Hell.
You have to be on that bike, practicing at least 5 days a week and at nights if necessary.
I’m not talking about just messing around on the track either.
What I mean by practicing is focusing on one specific skill at a time and improving on that skill, or in other words, doing drills.
There is a reason why they are called drills and it’s because athletes do them so often that they get drilled into their brain permanently.
All professional athletes do them religiously as an essential part of their training.
For example, one session should be practicing taking off from the start line, the next session should be learning how to handle corners, practicing on whoops, and so on.
You should have a full training plan in place so you are practicing a full set of skills every day. This is how you get better.
For more information about drills, read my blog post about how to build a motocross drill plan.
You also need to be watching your times very carefully. This leads me to my next point..
#7 Build a Workout Plan.
If you want to be at the elite level, you will need to get your body onto the elite.
This means that you will need to exercise and train in a certain way that maximizes strength, flexibility, balance and agility.
You will also need very high levels of cardio.
This means that just pumping iron won’t cut it. In fact, building mass muscle gain is bad for professional riding.
You will need a very specific training program that is designed for dirt bike riders.
To find this do a search on Google for pro dirt bike rider training programs.
Also, check out my article about building a fitness training program for dirt bike riders.
#8 Get Yourself a Coach.
Probably the single most important piece of the puzzle in going pro is getting an experienced dirt bike coach.
A coach will be able to correct your mistakes, keep you motivated and help you build a training plan.
A coach keeps track of your times, is your advocate and helps with a bunch of other useful things that you haven’t even heard of yet.
To find a coach, check out the area of my website that lists dirt bike training schools. These schools have the best coaches available.
When you are choosing your coach, make sure they have trained successful dirt bike riders before. The last thing you want is to learn bad habits from an inexperienced coach.
#9 Get yourself a Pit Crew.
This step can be a little tough if you are strapped for cash so you will need to think creatively here.
Can your parents help? Or your uncle or cousins? How about a buddy that loves dirt bikes and will help out on race days?
The trick here is to talk to as many people as possible and also post a wanted ad on social media or the local classifieds.
There will always be someone out there that would love to get involved in this type of project, you just have to reach out and find them.
Having at least 1 decent mechanic on hand on race day is essential if you want to be consistently competitive.
You can’t do it all yourself.
#10 Get your AMA Racing Licence & Medical Insurance.
To enter into professional racing events, you will need to join the AMA (American Motorcycle Association).
The AMA is the association that builds and sanctions pro racing events and is the only real path to becoming a pro dirt bike racer.
Also, to join the AMA you will need medical insurance as it’s compulsory if you want to race in any AMA sanctioned racing events (which is most of them).
Medical insurance will cover you for injury to yourself and other riders and is an essential part of becoming a pro racer.
#11 Test Your Skills and Start Racing in Events.
It is one thing to be great on a test track, but it is a completely different thing to race under pressure with other riders jostling for the top spot.
Pressure from pro races force dirt bike riders to make mistakes and you must learn how to control this pressure and use it to your advantage.
The lesson here is to enter into as many professional races as you can, as this is where you build your experience and really hone your riding skills under pressure.
Also, another technique is for increasing your skills rapidly is to ride with riders that are better than you and learn as much as you can from them.
You will have to eat some humble pie, but you will be able to watch and learn techniques that you can implement in your riding style.
Super experienced riders are also a wealth of information and most will be happy to chat to you if you have questions.
#12 Set Goals & Build a Plan.
Set goals that are difficult but achievable.
Goals need to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely (SMART).
Vague goals fall apart easily and have no real urgency about them.
Get your coach to help with your goals and building a plan.
Goals should always be made up of short term and long term goals which make up your overall plan to get you to greatness.
Building goals and your plan is not easy and takes careful planning and consideration.
To build a plan I would strongly suggest talking to someone that has done it before.
This may be a coach, a professional rider or an industry expert that has helped with this type of thing before.
#13 Practice your Mechanical Abilities.
Whether you ride dirt bikes or racing cars, professional racers understand their machines really well.
Completely understanding your bike will let you properly communicate problems back to your pit crew (or make the modifications yourself if you have no pit crew).
Every pro rider I know of help out in the pits if they have time. For example, here’s pro dirt bike rider Taylor Robert changing a tire.
Taylor Robert using the Rabaconda 3 minute tire changer.
A deep understanding of your bike will also let you tweak performance to milk as much performance out of your bike as possible.
It will also allow you to diagnose problems fast.
Don’t leave this up to your designated helpers, a strong understanding of the mechanics of your bike will take your career to the next level.
#14 Build a Following and a Brand.
Back in the day before the internet, getting people to follow you was tough.
These days though, social media has made it so much easier to build a big fan base.
By building up followers on a local level you are actually building a brand, and that brand is you!
So have a think about the brand you want to build for yourself.
Reinforce that brand in the way you ride, the riding gear you wear and the way you communicate to the media.
The public like following and supporting local riders! and
The more followers you have, the more opportunities you will get for sponsorship, coaching and mechanical help.
Always wave the flag for your local town in your social media so the locals can really get behind you.
If you want to learn more about sponsorship, read my article here about how to get dirt bike sponsorship.
#15 Tenacity and Commitment.
My last piece of advice is to be tenacious, hang in there and never give up.
The pro game takes many, many years of blood sweat and busted gears!
The door will open up only to the ones that are the most persistent and who have worked the hardest for it.
Have you gone pro? Let me know some of the biggest lessons you learnt in your career that really helped you get to your goals.
Let me know in the comments box below and please like and share this article if you enjoyed it.
- How to Whip a Dirt Bike. A Beginners Guide to Getting Sideways. - September 23, 2019
- The Best Dirt Bike Tool Kit for Trail Riding [that Won’t Break]. - August 6, 2019
- How to Wash Dirt Bike Pants. 5 Tips for Making them Last Longer [and 5 things to never do]. - August 5, 2019