A New Take on Rider Safety

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3/9/2018 10:03 AM

As with many of us, I've been shocked again this year at the number and the severity of the injuries piling up at the top level of this sport. I've read many articles and threads/opinions on the matter, and have added mine to the list on occasion. I do believe the speed increase to be the problem, as any increase in speed equals an increase in the force of an impact during a fall.

I have been of the opinion that 450's are too much. And maybe they are, as they have all the power of the old 500's, but demand little of the respect the 500's did. Thus, guys can do ungodly things on them, until something goes wrong. Which eventually always happens.

But, I think I've been coming to a new realization on the subject, and it's mostly from watching video of old races on Instagram or Youtube. If you pay attention to these, you can easily see that the suspension was vastly different even in the early nineties, never mind the eighties or god forbid the seventies. The bikes appear to have springs taken from ball point pens, and valving that would be soft on a modern enduro bike. Also, you can see the bikes swap and twist a lot more, likely from the chassis' being very flexy. (example; I raced a KX500 as a NESC expert and also at a few nationals, and at 200 lb's I used .40kg, or .42kg fork springs!! I now use .48's in my YZ250 for trail riding!)

So, what I've started to see, is that the speed increase is coming from the modern chassis as much or more than it is coming from the 'over powered' motors.

This is a problem. Because while it's easy to say, 'put a restrictor plate in the 450's', there's no way anybody is giving up their modern suspension and handling. This doesn't really leave many options to make the sport safer in the future. Maybe equipment will evolve some. But I can't really see track design making a huge difference, as there are crashes on every kind of obstacle on the track, and when you remove an obstacle the riders will just go faster.

Sorry, I didn't come here with any answers. But maybe if we all look at the problem differently somebody will come up with some.

****And please don't tell me it's because guys are training and riding harder, and then cite the 90's party era of MC as your example. I understand if that's as far back as your history in moto goes, but if you could look a little deeper at guys like Hannah, Wardy, O'Mara, Stanton, Larocco, Barnett etc. you'd see that the MC era was the aberration (mainly because he was just so ridiculously talented that nobody could beat him so they just figured wtf? might as well join the party).


3/9/2018 10:21 AM

I don't think speed has anything to do with the injuries. I wasn't going all that fast when I was paralyzed, neither was a friend of ours and neither was Jesse Nelson.

My brother broke his wrist trying to stop the bike from tipping over in a corner when he hit neutral.

Shit happens.


"Sorry Goose, but it's time to buzz the tower."

3/9/2018 10:22 AM

Been saying this for a while now. The technology of the current bikes and the confidence in the bike has surpassed any supercross obstacle that you can put in front of it outside of a legit death trap which is the exact opposite of when supercross was born. Basically the 450 has out grown modern supercross tracks of today. IMO. Flame away...


3/9/2018 10:26 AM

-MAVERICK- wrote:

I don't think speed has anything to do with the injuries. I wasn't going all that fast when I was paralyzed, neither was a ...more

Agreed. My brother broke his foot dumping his bike in a corner. Dumb luck.


3/9/2018 10:34 AM

And I mean quad..none of that 2 singles and a table bullshit Photo


3/9/2018 10:54 AM

I was on a trailride, hit this bump, and thought, if I was on inferior equipment, I would have ate it. Thanks to better stuff. I wasn't going fast, not even if I was on an older bike. Its not speed.


3/9/2018 10:57 AM

As to the tracks, one reason why guys are going SO MUCH faster is the tracks are built faster.

Transfer between jumps have more room than they did 10-15 years ago. They are also rolled more so they can jump for distance not height. If the faces were steeper then they wouldnt be doing quads. Remember last Hangtown the face of the Fly 150 was too steep for guys to huck it.

Plus dont forget, this is motocross, guys will always get hurt regardless. In 2003 all but 3 factory guys were injured. In 1998 there were 16 factory riders at the start and 6 by then end. Its the nature of the sport.

hell jimmy button tipped over on a parade lap in the whoops and broke his back while Weston Peick does his best meteor impression and walks away fine.


"If you feel in control, you're not going fast enough" ~Mario Andretti

3/9/2018 12:04 PM

250 knocked down to 85s
450 knocked down to a 144s


3/9/2018 2:05 PM

Motogp faster than ever and fewer and fewer injuries.


3/9/2018 2:55 PM

kkawboy14 wrote:

250 knocked down to 85s
450 knocked down to a 144s

I was paralyzed on a 85cc, granted I was pretty much WFO at the time but point is like Mav said, sometimes shit just happens. This is a very dangerous sport, I knew that all along. I accepted the risks. I got bit, the end. I had many other injuries before this one. We push the limits and sometimes go over the edge, part of the reason I loved racing so much.


MCM2 name - RXR_ProKawi24
PS4 Gamertag "Rocko24" - Add me for MES2 (soon to be MES3)

3/9/2018 3:09 PM

Ride in sand, softer landings