The First EnduroCross: Amateur Motocrosser

Racing EnduroCross 101

MXer Matt Bynum Goes Racing In The Rocks!


By Matt Bynum | Photos simply by Bob Theobald

Right after following the Geico EnduroCross series being a fan for the past few years, I have put a lot of hard thought into looking to race this series. I have a background associated with racing amateur motocross and rough-road, but EnduroCross was something I had been not familiar with as a racer. After two years of being hounded to race simply by my buddy and Dirt Rider Mag Associate Editor Kris Keefer, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to give EX a try. It was less than a week aside when I decided I would go ahead and subscribe to the race. Thanks to my friends in Dirt Rider for supplying me with a 2015 Beta 350 RR, I had been ready to give this a go.

 

Along with having very little time on this bike, and no time at all on a professional EnduroCross track, I thought participating in Destry Abbott’s rookie class would be the most helpful tool I could use to make the best of my first endurocross experience. With the help of Destry Abbott along with other top endurocross pros—Cody Webb, Gary Sutherlin, Taylor swift Robert, Wild Wally Palmer, plus Ty Tremaine—I was able to learn as much as possible in the short one hour class upon Friday night. After walking the particular track and talking about each barrier with the pros I have been watching for a long time, I had a better feeling about the big day of racing in front of me, that was until we looked at the matrix. The matrix section, for those of you that are not familiar with this obstacle, is a series of logs spread out in a row, with less than a bike length in between each log. The matrix is usually one of the most challenging sections on an endurocross track. During Destry’s one hour class I actually spent a good half hour working on this section with Ty Tremaine plus Wally Palmer. I was never in a position to get through the matrix without obtaining stuck or dropping the bike; this gave me a really unsure perception of racing EnduroCross!

 

Saturday morning came with a lot of excitement and nerves, as this was something I was completely new to. I had never raced in a arena, so I didn’t really know what to expect. EnduroCross is a completely different atmosphere than what I am used to. After the early morning rider’s meeting and track walk, it was time to go get ready and head out for practice. As I’m sitting in staging with nothing but that will matrix in my head, Kris arrives over to me and said “Relax, just go have fun! ” Easier said than done, correct?

Matt Bynum's first time racing EnduroCross

I have never tipped over so many times in my life as I did because timed practice session! After exercise I was starting to re-think the whole idea of racing EnduroCross. I mean, how much enjoyable is getting stuck on logs plus picking up a bike in a heap of boulders? I was ready to shut down my truck and find the nearest motocross track, until I realized that if I could get better at EnduroCross it would make everything else on a motorbike seem easy. That was my inspiration to not give up. The racing file format of EnduroCross is very similar to supercross, you have a timed practice for gate pick, a qualifier race plus an LCQ if you don’t make it to the night show from your qualifier. This type of racing format was all new in my experience: in motocross and off-road you show up and race, you’re not qualifying for a night show. Despite hanging in there and giving it our all, I continued to struggle in my qualifier and failed to make it into the night show. I never ever thought racing EnduroCross would be therefore physically demanding, I barely made a lap without getting arm push and my max heart rate has been at 189 bpm! As if looking to race on such a gnarly track wasn’t already hard enough, being out of breath and having numb for arms wasn’t helping me out. This wasn’t until my LCQ which i started to feel more comfortable on the bike, and this was on the most difficult racetrack I have ever competed on, undoubtedly. It was rewarding to finally find a groove, and this taste of sensation comfortable around an EX track gave me hope that I can get much better. In this sport anything can happen in a blink of an eye. To me, every thing on that track was unforeseen; I didn’t know where the bike wanted go in a pile associated with boulders. At that point it was too late to obtain the flow, let alone get used to the particular bike I was racing. But I did so start to have a lot of fun!

 

I actually ended up being a spectator at the final round of EnduroCross, but We are proud of myself for giving it our all. I would like to thank everyone at Dirt Driver Magazine for giving me this opportunity to try something new. I would also like to thank Destry Abbott and all of the pros that offered me some very helpful advice. If you’re like me—maybe a motocrosser, or an off-roader who has never tried EnduroCross—I’d recommend that you give it a shot. It will not be easy, it won’t be pretty, but it’ll definitely drive you outside of your comfort zone plus teach you some things, all of which can make you a better rider.

 


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