Dirt Wurx USA - Track Building Tips
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TRACK BUILDING TIPS

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


BUILDING THE SUPERCROSS TRACK

Last month we got started with a design for a practice Supercross track and went over the equipment you would need and how to get the design from paper to the dirt. This time we need to look at the particulars: How to build the obstacles and what they look like.

Let's say you are caught up to the point where we left off last month, you have a plan you like and you have a lane marked out on the site. What's next?

WHERE TO START
The best place to start is generally at the far end of the lane and work backwards building the jumps or obstacles in reverse order back down the lane. This way you are always working on the faces of the jumps and you don't have to worry about getting stuck between two jumps where it's too tight to maneuver the equipment.

The exception to this is when there is a big obstacle like a table top, a step up, or a big "hotdog" or "banana" jump in the middle of the lane. In that case you may decide to build that one first and work out in both directions from the big one towards the ends of the lanes.

The berms or 180 degree bowls that connect the lanes are the last thing built for the same reason, to allow you to work on the last jumps in the lanes without backing into something with the machines.

FACTORY "PILE IT"
Okay now we're ready to build the first jump. Let's say it's a 3 footer at the end of the lane. Get the loader, dig into your stockpile and get a nice, even, full bucket. Ride over to the lane you're working on and line yourself up so you are riding down the lane straight. Gradually turn in so you are straddling the stakes on one side of the lane, (be careful not to knock over the stakes for the other jumps) and dump your first bucket on the stake on one side of the first jump, about half and half outside the stake and inside.

Why? 'Cause the stake marks the top of the jump and the width of the lane, and you want the jumps to be the same width as the rest of the lane. If you put the dirt inside the stakes, the jump would be narrower than the lane when finished. Get another bucket and do the same on the other side of the same jump, covering the other stake. Third bucket goes in the middle to fill in the center. Then put a couple more on each side, and another in the center to fill it up again.

Try to get nice level buckets of about the same amount of dirt so when you get done piling the jump up, it is as close as possible to the finished shape. This will save a bunch of work when you get on the dozer to straighten things out.

Pile it up higher than what the plan says, 'cause it is gonna smash down when you get on it with the dozer. Dirt spills naturally at about a one and one half to one angle, and that's about right for a 3 footer.

WORKIN' IT
Once you get it piled up, get the bulldozer and finish the shape. Usually it's best to just walk over the jump with the tracks of the machine first, all the way across, to firm it up and get an idea of how far off your piling job is. Then when that's done you can put your blade up and over and get the top of the jump leveled out. Next, fix the face to make it uniform all the way across, with no waves or swells. Back drag out your track marks and you are done with the dozer work on jump number one.

The last optional step depends on what you want your track surface to be like. If you want a looser,more tacky, surface that provides good traction but will require more periodic maintenance, you're done right now. If you want it hard, and consistent and low maintenance, but maybe not quite as rider friendly on the surface, you can take one further step and wheel pack the jump by rolling over the jump with the front wheels of the loader and then skin your tire tracks out with a rolling motion of the bucket.

WHAT IF...?
Next jump a little more complex than a 3 footer? Remember the loader "pile it's" job is always the same, try to pile the jump up on the stakes, at the right width, over the finished height, and as close to the finished shape as possible to save aggravation on the dozer.

Let's say your next one is a backward ski jump with a kicker on the bottom. Start the same way as you did with the 3 footer, piling up the high front of the ski jump, dirt on both stakes slightly over wide, fill it up in the center. Go higher until it's over the finished height to allow for the dozer "crush factor". That gives you the front edge.

Then, being careful not to disturb the peak, start laying buckets into the face, all the way across, and slightly lower. Back up and do it again, and again until you get to a point just short of the stakes for the kicker and have a slope built that approximates the look of the ski jump.

If you mess up and dump a little too much or to little you can rake it into shape with the bucket. Leave the kicker off until you get the ski slope shaped up with the dozer, then build the kicker just like the way you built the 3 footer.

Landings are built mostly the same as a ski jump except that you need to put a few buckets in front of the peak as well and then roll over the edge with the dozer so the leading edge is round and not a do or die wall.

DISTANCES
On a rhythm lane like we have been describing, the distances on a pro track would range between 24' and 30' or so and be very uniform. In other words, there would not be an obvious take off or landing spot, just a series of jumps with very similar spacing between. This makes for a challenging lane with several choices of ways to ride it for pro level riders.

On an amateur track you may want to make the landing and take off spots more obvious by making them longer and the gaps to be jumped shorter in order to make the course more forgiving while you get used to it.

THE BIG STUFF
Jump over to the next tip: Go Big with Takeoffs, Tabletops and Whoops


Rich Winkler, Dirt Wurx USA

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