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New England motocross track review: Southwick MX338

Note: This is the first in a series of posts where I will be reviewing the motocross tracks of New England from my perspective. Remember, I am not an expert racer, but a newly promoted Amateur. These posts are my opinion, just because I like/dislike certain characteristics of a track does not mean riders of other abilities/preferences will like/dislike them.

Southwick is the most famous track in New England. Paul Buckley Photo.

MX338 in Southwick, Mass is by far the most celebrated track in New England. With its long history of AMA Nationals and its ominous deep sand layout, Southwick is a track all motocross riders should ride. The berms are deep, the braking bumps choppy, and the holes big. Southwick is one of my favorite tracks on the NESC circuit, its fun layout combined with great dirt and good lines make it a blast to ride and race on.

 

Dirt

Southwick's most famous featue is its deep cocoa brown sand. Paul Buckley Photo.

By far, Southwick's most famous feature is its deep, cocoa brown sand. The almost beach like terra firma is known throughout the country as some of the best motocross sand around. Fortunately, the dirt at the 'wick does not disappoint, and fully lives up to it's reputation. In the morning the smoothed sand is a highway for riders of all abilities, but as the day progresses, the sand begins to break down. Great lines form throughout the track and huge breaking and acceleration bumps form which separate riders in almost every class. If you like sand, you'll love Southwick. The sand seems bottomless in places, and it definitely takes a certain type of riding style to master. Unfortunately, some of the newer sections of the track seem to have a harder base underneath them which aids in the formation of square edge bumps. These are not traditional for the track at all, and truthfully, I am not at all a fan of them. Overall, however, the dirt at MX338 is excellent. It is some of the most pure motocross sand in New England and the lines it forms make for great racing at the end of the day.

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Planning for 2009 (Step 1): Winter Cross-Training

Note: This post is the first in a series following me as I prepare for 2009. Check back often or subscribe to the RSS Feed so you don't miss any of the following posts in the series.

Winter is quickly setting in. Photo by Swisscan on Flickr
-Photo by Swisscan.

The 2008 motocross season is over, as is summer, and it is time to start planning for 2009 as winter sets in.

Why Cross Train?

The winter off season provides the perfect time to cross train for motocross. A lot of riders ignore cross training as part of their motocross program, and I believe this is a mistake. Nothing can replace riding motocross in order to perfect your skills, however, being in good physical shape can do wonders for your riding. The winter off season is the perfect time to get this done because of the break from racing. The winter break gives riders time to take a needed mental break from riding in order to improve their physical condition. Come springtime, it is much easier to get back into the swing of motocross if you are in top physical condition as opposed to a lazy, out of shape lump after doing nothing all winter. This winter will be one of my first where I stick to a rigorous training schedule, and I am hoping that I will definitely notice a difference come February when I begin riding again.

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Leatt Moto-GPX Club Brace Review

The Leatt Moto-GPX Club Brace is a great neck brace at a great price
The Leatt Moto-GPX Club and its more expensive brother, the “Sport,” have completely revolutionized the neck protection market.

For years, the most advanced neck protection available was foam neck donuts with little to no scientific credence. In the past few years, however, as neck injuries have risen, so has the level of neck protection available. The Leatt Brace essentially created the advanced neck brace market, and has been followed by many “copies” including one from Alpinestars and EVS. However, the Leatt Moto-GPX Club is by far the most popular, and one of the most affordable braces on the market, and this is why I choose it as my neck protection for 2008.

Build Quality

Overall, the build quality of the Club is pretty good. The brace feels very solid in the hand, and does not feel cheaply made at all. The higher end model, the Sport features carbon fiber segments of the brace which save about 70 grams (according to the Leatt-Brace website), but the added price is not worth the minimal savings, in my opinion. Another nice feature of the Leatt is the removable pads. This makes cleaning a snap after mud races. The pads can be thrown in the wash and the hard plastic sections washed with hot soapy water. However, I did find a problem with this method. When using water, the glue holding the velcro sections onto the hard plastic parts of the brace seemed to disintegrate. I have not heard of other reports of this problem, but it definitely makes me leery of cleaning the brace regularly. I hope that in the future the Leatt company will upgrade to higher quality glue in order to prevent this from happening in the future.

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Recap of my 2008 Racing Season

The 2008 motocross season is over, and it was a huge learning experience for me.

2008 was my first year on big bikes, and it was a lot of fun. I took the spring season completely off from racing and almost entirely off from riding. This gave both my father and I a needed mental and financial break from motocross. In addition, it allowed to get in better shape, so I would be ready for the bigger bikes, and it gave my dad time to find me a bike. After a few weeks of searching, my dad and X-Pro put together a 2006 RMZ250f for me. Although it is a few years old, X-Pro completely went through the entire bike, getting in back into excellent shape. The suspension was sent to Factory Connection and it worked awesome all season long. It may not have been the newest bike on the track, but it definitely was sufficient for my needs, and allowed me to adjust to the full sized four-stroke motocross bikes.

NESC Fall Series

After spending the Spring Series getting my bike together, I finally began racing in the fall in the NESC Fall Series. I had to miss the first race at MX207 because of mechanical issues with our box truck, so this meant that my first race of the year would be at CCC in Central Village, CT. This race was humbling to say the least, I hadn't ridden in weeks, and it was my first time ever riding my new bike. After a few weeks of racing, however, I finally started to get the hang of the bigger bike. I even managed to win a race in the 125 Youth C class at Jolly Rogers. A few weeks into the season, and I had already earned enough points to move up to the 125 Youth B class. This class was a lot faster than the C, but it felt good to know that I had moved out of the Youth C class after years of racing that class on my underpowered (compared to the 250fs) KX100. My first few races were really tough in the newer class, but, eventually I got the hang of the new pace, and began to improve my results. My best finish of the year in the Youth B class was a 5th at Jolly Rogers.

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Welcome!

Welcome to the latest rendition of mikemartinracing.com!

You have reached the third version of mikemartinracing.com, my weblog about motocross, cycling and life. You can expect a lot of great content in the coming weeks and months. I have a lot of great posts planned including a recap of my 2008 season, some product reviews, and an ongoing look as I prepare for the 2009 NESC Spring series. I hope to keep this site as an ongoing log of my motocross racing, and

hope that you will stick around to see how the site grows. If you would like to know more about me, visit the about page, in addition, be sure to check out the archives and subscribe to the RSS Feed.

I hope you enjoy your stay here, be sure to check back often for new and exciting content regarding motocross, my journey as a cyclist, and life in general.

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