The NCHSA is a great place for anyone who likes to trail ride or race. Doesn't matter if you have never ever raced before or an "A" class Pro, we have a class just for you. You are never too old or too slow to race in the woods. Attached and below is a great guidebook that one of our long-time racing buddies (Neal Hamilton) put together to help you though your first day of racing. Read over this info. Then just show up and race!!
The info on this page and the attached PDF does not override any NCHSA form or document regarding fee, rules, start times, etc. Please refer to the Race Day Forms page for any fees or other official NCHSA info.
New To Racing Start here
Welcome to the NCHSA (courtesy of long time racer Neal Hamilton)
If you found this doc your on-boarding is well underway since this web-site contains much of the pre-race info you will need including: class selection, sign-up forms, start times, schedules, directions, as well as your butt-kicking class results.
Sign-up process – Pick a class: You must be a member of NCHSA to participate in any of the C classes at 3p. You can also ride Unlimited at 3p. You can ride any A or B class with or without NCHSA membership. Visit the Class Info page for deails. (Neither Sportsman or Unlimited classes require NCHSA membership. For the rest of us, there is a class for every skill and age level.)
Age classification is based on your age beginning January 1st of the current race year. Points are not transferable when changing classes. When picking a skill level class, please be objective. “C” is truly a novice class, so if you are an “A” motocross guy, consider starting out in “B”, “A”, or our Sportsman/Unlimited classes. In the latter, you can compete in a race or two, compare lap times and then join the appropriate class level. Selecting the right class is truly a key decision and directly impacts your ability to enjoy good competitive racing. Based on the numerous forum posts, close completion within the various classes leads to great camaraderie and lots of great bench racing. “SandBaggers” are quickly identified and are non-grata. Typically, class promotions are done off-season and based on your relative lap speed, NOT accumulated points. You can always promote yourself up, but you must petition the NCHSA Board of Directors for a class demotion.
Sign-up process – NCHSA Membership: After you decided what class to run, you must sign up for an annual membership in the NCHSA to collect year-end points or run any “C” class.
You can sign up for membership race day morning. AMA membership is NOT required for NCHSA membership. You do not have to be a NCHSA member to race any Big Bike “A” class, “B” class, Unlimited or Sportsman. Mini riders are not required to be a MCHSA member to ride any class but must be a member to collect year-end points.
Sign-up process – Race Day: AMA membership is NOT required for race day sign-up. Signup will be located at the large white trailer with the USA Flag flying nearby. All needed forms are located on the table at signup. If you are not sure what class to run, just ask the ladies at signup.
First, let me tell you two truths about your first race, unless you are some prodigy or big-time sandbagger, number one you will be nervous, and second you will be lucky not to come in last in your class. The best “Newbie” advice is to team up with someone who has been doing this a year or two, but if that isn’t possible maybe reading below might help.
You experts and advanced riders can stop reading now, this is the A/B class cut off! Pre Race Bike Prep: Just about any trail capable bike will get you through a NCHSA race. What bike to ride is really your choice, all the modern bikes are very good and will do the job. However, to be competitive you need to make sure whatever bike you choose is properly prepared:
· Install a good set of barkbusters, NCHSA trails are cut a bit narrower than most race series, so you will quickly find out why you need them.
· A good set of tires is almost a necessity. Typically soft/intermediate tires work well around here. Many folk runs a trials tire on the rear.
· Regardless of brand or type just make sure they are properly inflated (9-12 psi) and have good sharp edge on them.
· In the 90 minute race a stock fuel tank topped-off should suffice.
· Double check all nuts and bolts are properly torqued.
· Check the brake pads, if you haven’t raced before you may be surprised how fast they wear in race conditions, especially if it’s a “Mud Run”. Bleeding them would be wise as well.
- Not much more than that is required for your bike to survive your first race.
For your body, the main thing is hydration, drink lots of water and or Gatorade the few days prior to the race. Sucking down a half-gallon or so race day is also a good idea, if you can do it. Many folks like to carb-up the day before as well. The “C” race is at 3:00 so make sure you eat a good lunch.
Race Day –Getting There: If you are showing up by yourself for the first time, arrive at least two hours early, pay your gate/entry fee (This is good time to ask where the sign-up booth and starting area are and find a convenient parking spot to both if possible). When parking, consider things like shade if it’s hot, or being out of the wind if it’s cold. Since we park in fields, make sure you find a spot you can get out of if a rain shower or thunderstorm pops up during your race. Also, keep in mind folks will be coming in throughout the day so try to pick a spot where you won’t block or be blocked by the later arrivers. Remember point one in the paragraph above, you will be super nervous, so porta-john availability should be considered. Once parked, introduce yourself to your neighbors. Another guarantee, EVERYONE there will be more than happy to help you out. NCHSA folks are all super friendly, so feel free to ask for advice, god knows most NCHSA folks love to give it. This is not Supercross, MX, or even GNCCs, it’s totally laid back, everyone helps each other.
Race Day – Sign Up: Find your way to the sign up tables. Fill out the paper forms and wait in line to sign up for both membership and the event itself. Cash, checks and credit cards are accepted. First timers will need a bar code sticker as well, so remember to ask for it. Along with the bar code sticker you will get a small colored patch and a vinyl “punch card”.
1. First, attach the bar code to the Right side of your helmet, I find forward along the chin bar is best.
2. Second put the small colored number patch on the back of your helmet, make sure your goggle strap doesn’t block it from view. (The color of the patch indicates what class you are riding, so when you come up on someone you know what class they are in.)
Again please ask your parking lot neighbors to show you how it’s done. Bike graphics with formal number plates, while very cool, are NOT required for NCHSA races.
Race Day – Getting Ready: So you are signed up, bar code, punch card and helmet sticker on, but you still have an hour before your race. Now what? I would recommend a couple of activities. First, do your final gear/bike check.
· Tire pressure typically between 9 - 11 lbs front and rear
· Suspension clickers set soft & fast for rebound and compression
· Bleed air out of forks, check rear race sag set for 112+- for KTMs with PDS most others around 105.
· Chain lubed and properly adjusted
· All fluids at correct levels, don’t forget your camelback
· Fuel tank full, extra gas can trail side (If you think you might need to fill up to go 35-30 miles)
· All bolts nice and tight, especially those barkbusters, on NCHSA courses you will use them
· Layout your helmet, goggles, gloves, and boots
· Fill your camel-bak to the brim.
Second thing to do is grab plenty of water and/or Gatorade and go walk the track a little (pre riding your race bike on the trail will get you disqualified). Start at the Start. In the Starting area note the small signs on the side of the track. They designate the start lines for each class. Now you know where to line up. Walk down the track a bit, mentally note the first few turns. Chances are there is another race going on, so sit back and enjoy the action. You should be ready and hydrated now.
The Race – The Start: You know where to go and where to line up. Get there about 20 minutes before schedule, even earlier if you have a preference on where to line up (Honestly, gate position for your first few races will not matter. Your goal is to finish. Further, this ain’t SX and your name ain’t Villopotto, so this 90 minute race is not decided by your hole-shot. Many riders bring a small box for their left leg to stand on, it facilitates kick-starting required on our dead-engine-starts.
Staff will check your bar-code name and number on the line at this time. At some point a NCHSA official will give a high level overview and description of the course and maybe some general announcements, then they will have a prayer, then the national anthem. Please be considerate and respectful. At the conclusion of the anthem everyone fires up their bikes for final warm-up. After 60 seconds or so the official will wave a flag, that’s the signal for everyone to shut their engines down. (ALL NCHSA EVENTS USE A DEAD ENGINE START FORMAT). Sometimes folks in the way back rows can’t see the official, so if you see other riders in front motioning their hand over their head, take it as signal to shut down your bike. The official will announce “30 seconds” then “10 seconds” then sometime after that he will raise the green flag. This launches the first row only. Subsequent rows follow 60 seconds apart. You are allowed to start your bike briefly after each row takes off, take the opportunity to practice your dead engine starting technique and keep your bike warmed up. For the second row its the same procedure; wave flag to shut engines, announce “30 seconds”, then “10 seconds” then the start for that row. Ditto for all the rows/classes. This is controversial, but I would recommend that for your first race you just let everyone in your class take off, just worry about not stalling your bike.
The Race – The First Lap: Hopefully you are to a clean start, now exhale relax and remember to start breathing again. Seriously, everyone is in full-blown panic mode the first mile or two, so its best just to chill let everyone expend their energy yelling and screaming and fighting for position. It’s a 90 minute race, plenty of race time ahead. Ride 80% look ahead and pick your lines. Let the crazy folks behind pass you if they want. Somewhere on the course they will have a “Check point”, these are used to discourage course cutting and if required, verify number of laps finished. You will be riding along and come to a couple of large yellow flags and a “No-passing” sign. You will see 3 or 4 guys lined up on the left side of the trail. Go to the one who waves you in. Usually it’s the one farthest up the trail. Come to a complete stop. Let him punch your “Punch” card before you take off. Be patient! These punches can back up and punching a muddy or bent card is more difficult than you think. Eventually the trail takes you back near the start; there you will come to the scoring area (old timers called it the scoring barrels). The scoring area is a strict “No Passing” zone. So come in slow, you will be funneled up close and parallel to the NCHSA trailer. On your right will be two folks, one makes sure you come to a stop, the other will use a hand-held reader and will scan the barcode on your helmet. Once scanned one of them will let you go with a “go” signal. Look straight ahead you should see a LED display that tells you your position class and time behind the class rider in front of you. So if you see “Open C” Position “3” “Behind 1:08” it means you are 1 minute 8 seconds behind 2nd place in the open C class. Congratulations you just completed your first of thousands of laps racing!
The Race – The Middle Laps: Getting the hang of it now? You are relaxed, maybe passing some of those frenzied folks that got in front of you on lap 1. You are running at 85-90% feeling good, looking way down the trail for the best lines, so you can avoid all the bottlenecks, right? But you are wondering how many more laps is in this race. Well that depends on how fast the “Fast” guys are. Officially, novice races are 90 minutes plus one lap for the lead rider. So it could be as few as 3 laps or as many as 6 given the length of the course and speed of the leaders. Sometime during lap two or three these “Fast” riders who started on the front row will be coming up behind you. Yes, you are about to join racings largest, but least admitted to fraternity, you are about to become a “Lapper”. Many of the truly fast guys don’t say anything, maybe they rev their motor, others usually the wanabee fast guys scream like their momma just de-friended them on facebook. Acknowledge they are behind you by shaking your head, but do NOT stop! As soon as the trail straightens out a bit, point with your hand or foot to the side you want them to pass you on, slow down and make room. Again always be considerate, always make room, but never come to a stop in the middle of the trail. FYI, the truly fast guys will pass you before you even know it. This will happen to you! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bm7tJyrp1cU&feature=plcp
The Race – The Pit Stop: For those running stock MX tanks, and racers with an aggressive riding style you will likely need to add a splash of gas to finish. There is no official pit area at NCHSA events. However, most like to pick a spot trailside just after the scoring area. While filling up, it might be a good time to change goggles and or gloves as well as suck down some extra fluids. Fluids.
The Race – The Last Lap: Getting tired now? Never thought 90 minutes took this long, but you just came through Scoring area and you saw one of the workers waving a white flag. Hellaugha. You can do it, just one more lap. Try to relax that death grip you have on your handlebars. By now half the folks in the race have pass you, but that’s ok. Just try to finish. Before the year is out you will be passing folks with ease. After coming to the scoring are you will be greeted by the checkered flag. Feels great! Get scanned but, please remember to move forward and make room for the folks behind you. As you leave the scoring area, make sure to stop at the table where workers are removing punch cards. (In the event that the computer scoring malfunctioned these cards will determine you finishing order, so don’t forget.)
Post Race – Bench Racing: Usually by the time you get changed and your bike and gear loaded up, an official will post the scores at or near the sign-up area. They print out overall and class finish and lap times. In the rare event you honestly and truly believe a scoring mistake was made, seek out a NCHSA official and lodge your protest. But 99.9% of times the computer times are accurate. Now the real fun race begins, the Bench Racing with your new friends and racing mates. If you finished in the top half of your class you may be eligible for a trophy. If you want your trophy you have to go get it. Typically the promoter will hand out the trophy’s at or near the sign-up. You will quickly see a line form, the promoters will ask for your class and name, then ante up your trophy. Enjoy it!
That’s about all there is to it. Make sure to remove all the trash in your parking area!
Racers check List:
4. Bike shorts
7. Kidney belt
8. Chest protector
10. Goggles/glasses x2
11. Ear plugs
12. Gloves x2
16. Aspirin / Ibuprofen
17. Water, a gallon
19. Soft drinks (post race)
20. Adult beverage (post race)
23. Paper towels
24. Gas tank full
25. Gas can
27. Basic tool kit
28. Bike stand
31. Pop-up Tent
32. Garbage bag(s)
33. Entry form or online confirmation
34. Directions to race venue
35. AMA card (Non NCHSA races)
36. Check /cash
37. Cell phone