Dirt Wurx USA - Track Building Tips
home news news news news news


1. Choosing The Site
2. Desiging The Course
3. Building the Supercross Track
4. Go Big with Takeoffs, Tabletops and Whoops


Last month we talked about how to find the right site to build a track... what we need to look for and what we need to avoid. This time we will talk about the actual track design, laying it out on your site and the what equipment and other materials you will need to get started.

That's your first decision, but it's an easy one based on what you want and what kind of terrain you've got to work with. Got a flat pad... I guess you will be looking at a Supercross style track. Got a piece of property that looks like Ward Robinson's farm in Unadilla New York.... well I guess I would have to go natural terrain motocross in that case!

What's your strengths and weaknesses? Need to practice jumping and rhythm? Like that kind of riding? Planning to do an arenacross series or try to go pro and ride in the stadiums? Level that pad and start designing jump sections! Got no interest in that kind of thing? Like high speed and bumps and elevation changes? Want a track that's fun for vets and beginners as well as the good guys? I'd say look for terrain and think motocross!

Getting started is vastly different depending which way you go. Motocross is the heart and soul, the roots of our sport. It started on completely natural terrain and even today the best tracks are more natural than man made.

Supercross is man made 100%. It started of as an effort to recreate natural terrain in a stadium, but it has evolved to a point where there is absolutely nothing about it that is comparable to natural terrain motocross whatsoever. It's an artificial creation of jumps and rhythm sections with a very uniform, measured look and feel.

For these reasons we approach the two in a different way. Motocross is best done without a static plan or blueprint, better to feel out the terrain and work from your gut! Supercross on the other hand cannot be done correctly or safely without a real blueprint or scale drawing to work from, the distances and shapes and trueness of the track is what makes or breaks it!

Okay, you've got the terrain and you want to build a motocross track. My advice is forget scale drawings, topographical maps, aerial photographs, GPS, whatever. Get out on your property and see what it has to offer. Scout it out on minibikes or fourwheelers and start to get an idea of where you want the track to go to make the most of the property. Look for terrain features you can use, hills you can cut and terrace to make step up or step down sections, off cambers, banks, ledges, g-out ditches, etc.

Try to imagine what can be done with the heavy equipment as far as enhancing what terrain is all ready there, pushing up pre jumps before hills, making cuts deeper and hills higher, carving in existing banks, etc. Look for the path of least resistance as far as trees and big rocks and other hard to move obstacles. Look for good dirt. Make it flow, stay away from tight 180 degree turns and other features that feel unnatural.

Think of the really fun outdoor tracks you've ridden. They were big and sweeping and flowing, lots of hills, big floaty jumps up and down hills, rough and bumpy, loamy soil, that's your goal!

Got the plan in your head? What do you need to make it happen? POWER! Pushing power that is. You're gonna need a bulldozer and not much else as far as heavy equipment goes. Most of the work you're gonna do on a track like this is grading, shaping, and pushing of the dirt in about the place where you find it. You're not gonna need to carry it anywhere.

You might also need a water truck, depending on the type of dirt and weather you've got, and your ability to access the terrain. As for the actual type of dozer, within reason, bigger is better. The bigger machines have more power to move a lot of dirt and wider blades that let you make less cuts to get your track full width.

For this kind of work the DIRT WURX USA boys like the John Deere 750H or the Caterpillar D-6H or D-7H. If you're gonna use a water truck stick to a 2000 gallon single axle truck, the larger tanks and double axle trucks are too heavy and not maneuverable enough for what you're doing.

To do it right it is mandatory that you start with a scale drawing to work from. That means you make an accurate measurement of your site and then put it on paper by making an inch equal 30 ft. or any other workable scale. This way you know if your imagined track is going to fit. (Remember what we said last month about leaving enough room between the lanes.)

Then, lay out your basic footprint on the paper to scale. For a Supercross track my advice is keep the footprint simple Basically a number of parallel lanes with 180 degree bowl turns connecting them, maybe with a short cross lane at one end. Why? Because with Supercross what you are really practicing is doing the various obstacles and stringing them together with a good rhythm, you don't need a complex footprint. In fact, the more basic plan I'm talking about makes for the longest possible straight lanes for a given site and allows you to make better obstacle sections.

There are certain things you just gotta have. Supercross is about rhythm, so you need at least one lane of rhythm type jumps. Something simple like a series of 3 ft. jumps you can double, double, double through, or a more complex series that includes 3 footers, backwards ski jumps, etc. That gives you a choice of ways to do the lane.

You should also have a step on, step off section, like a 3 footer, table top with a lip, 3 footer combo. A whoop section is also mandatory. You need a good size step up or big table top. After that it's up to you and an honest evaluation of your skills as to how radical you get with gap jumps, like full size doubles and triples.

Remember to progress and improve your skills you gotta ride... a lot... and that means you gotta be able to do laps without being intimidated by the track or worse yet, wadding yourself up. Be honest with yourself, and remember it's just dirt, if you can build it to begin with, you can change it later on down the road. Make it more difficult as you get better.

Got the drawing done, what do you need to actually do it? A little more stuff required for SX than for MX. You will need to transfer your drawing to the site, so you're gonna need a couple 300' measuring tapes, some stakes or flags to mark the jump peaks and the heavy equipment.

You don't need a giant dozer like you did for the outdoor track 'cause the dozer work on a Supercross track is finer finish work and is almost all on steep slopes or in tight quarters. We like the John Deere 450, or 550, and the Caterpillar D-4. You will also need a bucket loader so you can get the dirt from your stockpile and place it where it needs to go for each jump or track feature. The John Deere 624 or 644 and the Caterpillar 938 or 950 are the right size.

A water tuck is almost mandatory too, unless you are lucky enough that your dirt is already moist, 'cause you need to compact everything pretty tight to keep the jump faces, bowls, and whoops from rutting and cupping out. You can't do that with dry powder, you need moisture.

Put stakes in at either end of your pad at the right spacing for your lanes. Starting with the outermost lanes string the tapes lengthwise and put stakes in at the right distances for your jump peaks. Get the loader, and start piling it up!

What's the right spacing and the right jump angles?

Next: Building the Supercross Track

Rich Winkler, Dirt Wurx USA


Support the People Who Support the Sport.

Thanks to our sponsors and other true believers. This is the Core of Motocross!








Parts Unlimited



Dirt Wurx Logo Usage

© 2010 Dirt Wurx USA