Flying high — without wings

By GERRY STEELE, Baker City Herald November 25, 2008 05:26 pm

Few sports can match motorcross racing for pure adrenaline production

Motorcross is not a sport for the weak of heart.

Or the weak of pocketbook.

“Motorcross is competing with motor bikes on a track with obstacles,” said Richard Riley, a member of the Riley Racing Team in Baker City.

“You get a chance to test your skills on cornering, hills, and other racing areas.”

The size of bike usually depends on the size of the individual, Riley said. Smaller riders are more comfortable with motorcycles in the 50cc to 80 cc engine size range. Teenage riders are more accustomed to riding 125cc to 250cc bikes. Older riders chose bikes in the range of 250cc to 450cc.

“The difference is the way the power is distributed, where the power is,” Riley said.

Prices for motorcycles vary widely.

“Used bikes are pretty cheap, so to speak, anywhere from $900 to $5,000,” Riley said.

“But if you plan to race, you have to be dedicated. The average price of a new 450 bike is about $7,300. You can get a 250cc for probably around $5,000,” he said.

And, your other gear — helmet, boots, pants, goggles, chest protector — also will put a dent in your pocketbook.

“You don’t want to go cheap,” Riley said. “You want to have the best gear you can afford.”

Riley said the low end of the scale, bare bones, runs about $250. He said packages in that range can be purchased from racing magazines.

“And, usually if you buy a bike from a shop most will add the gear to the package price,” Riley said.

“If you go with the better quality of your gear it will run between $1,800 and $2,000.”

Riley said other costs incurred while racing include fuel for traveling to races ($150 to $200 per trip), passes to get into the races ($8 to $10 per person), entry fees ($25 per amateur class, and $30 to $35 per pro class), fuel for your bike each day of the race (about $40 per day), and extra cash for incidentals.

And, you have to take extra care of your ride.

“You have to change the oil frequently, change the air filter, check the coolant, tighten the spokes and check the tire pressure,” Riley said. “I change them each ride.

“On a racing bike before you ever go to a race you need to check every nut and bolt,” he said. “Hard riding will rattle them loose.

“Always, always have a clean bike. Make sure it is spotless, everything is gone over, everything is greased.”