An Old Motocross Riderís Guide to Dirt Track
It probably started a few years ago. One of those recurring conversations where you talk about something you ought to do sometime, but usually never end up doing it. On several of these occasions, the subject was about me riding the Cambridge TT. One of my father-in-laws is a long time member of the Norseman Motorcycle Club, the club that promotes the Cambridge TT. He raced dirt track back in the day and his main reason for being in the club, and the event that gets his most attention, is the TT. When the subject came up, I was usually the one suggesting that I ride it, which was then followed by a look of concerned skepticism on my wifeís face, then a change of conversation topic.

Except for some trail riding when I was starting out, Iíve been a motocross guy and nothing else. Iím interested in and read about almost any form of competition that features two wheels and a motor, but the only one Iíve actually done is motocross. This year, I decided to finally try some of the other forms of competition that were out there. Iím not exactly setting the world on fire at motocross, so competing in something I didnít do too well at would not really be that big of a change. My low budget approach would be to make the minimum amount of modifications to my 2003 YZ 250 to make it competitive, or at least legal, for the type of competition I was trying.

The Cambridge TT was the natural choice for Dirt Track, and since it was scheduled fairly early in the season, it would be the first other venue that I would attempt. My first step was to find out what I needed to do to the bike and what classes I was eligible to enter. I contacted the District 23 Dirt Track Rider Rep, Rick Waschek. He told me that the knobby on the front would be fine, but with a knobby rear tire, I could only run the Knobby and Beginner class. If I had a dirt track tire on the back, I could then run another four classes.

Rick generously offered to let me use one of his partially worn, nineteen inch dirt track tires. After revealing my rather embarrassing inability to change tires, he even mounted it for me. I set the front to 15 PSI and the rear to 18. The other changes I made, at his recommendation, were to soften the compression damping and stiffen the rebound on both ends. The soft compression helps it settle down into the travel sooner and the stiff rebound helps to prevent highsides. The other no cost things I could have done would have been to raise the forks in the triple clamps, reduce the preload on the shock spring, pull the bars back and move the levers down. I decided not to do any of those things and see how it felt in practice. If this had been an oval race, I would have been required to remove my front brake lever.

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