Getting Started In DH Racing and Etiquette

Dangerous DaveDangerous Dave Posts: 8,349
edited September 2006 in Downhill, freeride and 4X
Most DH clubs organise some form of Race series, so check out your local club for events, uplifts and races. There is a good chance that the races will not be held near by, so be prepared to travel.

For example, the Midland Super Series races are often in Wales, or Shropshire.

If you don't know who your nearest DH club is, check the closest bike shop, or search Google. Search by county, or region.
The British Cycling website also has this handy search engine: ... Finder.aspCompulsory Requirements
You need a Helmet. Full face is strongly recommended, but not compulsory. Also you need to do it up, sounds trivial, but if you are spotted with it undone, and you will be, you get disqualified. Of course there is the slight issue that if it isn't done up, you may as well not wear it for the good it will do in a crash.
You need bar end plugs. Again, sounds trivial but not when you consider how much a bar can puncture you or a spectator if you crash. Think of it as an Apple Corer and you'll get the idea. You will be disqualified if you don't have any.
To be 12 or over.
To be able to travelRecommended
Whilst armour is not compulsory, it is a damned good idea, most courses will feature many trees, and those buggers do not move no matter how much you scream at them, or try to use your non-existant jedi mind powers as you are sailing towards them. Means the difference between carrying on, or going home in an Ambulance.
Lots of money: be prepared to pay petrol and probably buy new tyres as conditions change, new parts as your bike falls apart, and of course, food/beerdrink
A set of dry and wet weather tyres, we are in the UK of course, weather conditions are never guaranteed! No matter what time of the year it is! Wrong tyres will make your weekend hard work and probably unenjoyable and while some people love the felling of sliding around like a proper mad-un in the gloopy shite, this is a race![;)]
British Cycling License: while it isn't necessary to have one to participate, you get injury cover if you hurt yourself at a race, which is pretty handy if you crash and can't work cos of it. You also cannot earn points if you don't have a license. Costly, though.
Find yourself one Here.
You also need one to compete in your age category at NPS level.

Bike Set Up
This is not a what bike to buy for how much money guide, this topic has been covered numerous times, please use the forums search facility before posting a topic asking for advice. Most likely your topic will get slated or just plain ignored if what you are asking has already been posted!

Good Tyres - More important than anything else on your bike.
No matter how great your frame, suspension linkage, shock/fork, shiny bar ends are, if the tires are 20p for the swearbox you'll simply be loosing grip and that means lost seconds!!!!! There is a pretty comprehensive topic about it here
If you are serious about getting into a race, at least give your bike the once over. Make sure everything is done up tight, nothing is about to snap and that things like gears and brakes are working well. Not only for your own safety but for others. If you run into someone because you couldn't be bothered to fix those mullered brakes, you're not going to be very popular.
Worth considering that your bike will probably have the most concentrated amount of abuse that will have had so far (riding for 2 days full on, possibly 8 or more runs if you are going non stop on practice day, 2-4 on practice session in the morning then 2 race runs.....). If you are unsure, some bike shops will do an inspection for free to tell you what is wrong with your bike and how much it will cost to get them to fix it. It's worth just at least getting it checked out even if you fix it yourself.

Now I'm not suggesting you strip the bike down after every single race, service the forks every 2 races or whatever, but just don't expect the bike to last long if you don't maintain it with the abuse it will get if you continue to race.
12-14 Juvenile
15-16 Youth
17-18 Junior
19-29 Senior
30-39 Master
40+ Veteran
If you have a Hardtail, you can enter the Hardtail category if you are 12+ NO age limit.
You can only be in Expert if you are 19 or over, and have enough points (need to be placing in the top 5 at least in all races and enter a fair few. You also need a licence)
Elite is if you get enough points in Expert to be moved up.
[*]If you want to enter a Nationals Race, but have no licence, you can enter the Open or Novice Category.BASICALLY you can Race, so long as you have are 12 or older, have a bike, a helmet and bar ends.
If you have a hardtail you can enter.

You can even enter on a cheap piece of 20p for the swearbox you got from your local supermarket, chances are you will destroy it in a weekend though.

Racing costs a lot of money, and unless you are getting good results, possibly isn't value for money, but is still fun, and most people at the events are friendly and happy to help, just follow the Downhill Etiquette instructions stickied in this section and you'll be welcomed.

Most races will happen over a weekend:
Saturday: Uplift/Practice day.
Sunday: Morning, final practice/Afternoon, seeding run and final run. Be prepared to be camping in a wet crappy field with poor toilet facilities and lots of drunk/stoned bikers wandering about at night.
Expect to pay upwards of œ45 (more to enter an NPS without a License) to enter the entire weekend, or about œ25 for just the race.

Mail Dave or Alx if you feel anything should be added to this guide

[another random post by]
BiGDaVe![}:)][}:)]GeT Orf YeR 20p for the swearbox AnD RIdE A BIkE[}:)]
[[url=]Chameleon][/url] [Gemini[/url] [url=]DH] [[url=]Justice reborn[/url]]
[[url=]XC[/url][url=]Riding[/url]] [[url=]Messing[/url] [url=]about[/url]]
Apologies for engagement induced excitement[^]
Shut up. And ride your bike.
Originally posted by Jon
As Dave and Alex raced past, someone in the other group of people said 'those two are good'


  • AlexAlex Posts: 2,224
    quote:Kindly posted by Nicklouse

    - This one is easy, it just seems that some people don't quite know what they are meant to do. if you are riding, no matter in a race run or practice, if you catch up to a slower rider in front of you, yell "rider", or "track", or another OBVIOUS word or phrase.
    - If you are the rider in front, get off the track or out of the way as soon as you can. Yell out "on my left" or "on my right" if possible. Make sure you time this well. You don't want to say it too early or they will run into you, and you don't want to say it too late or they won't be able to pass.
    - Now no one expects you to ride into a tree or dive into a bush, but as soon as you can, get out of the way. If that means you have to stop and put a foot down, then so be it. You must get out of the way as fast as you can, especially in racing.
    - The faster rider should also be patient though, and realize that sometimes there just isn't anywhere safe to get off the track. Leave a bit of room between you and the rider in front too, it will be pretty slow if you run into them and crash.

    - When you crash, check behind you to make sure you have not damaged the track. Sometimes you will accidentally push a foreign object onto the track, which could cause a crash, so make sure you have a good look behind you.
    - So, when you crash, if you have accidentally pushed a large rock into the middle of the track, or any other foreign obstacle (or moved an obstacle that was already there), either put it off the track entirely (and away from the fall-zone) or back to its original spot, securely.
    - If you fall off and decide to have a bit of a break, and want to have a sit down or lie down and get your breath back, that's fine, in fact I'd encourage it. But, make sure that you are well away from the track, and unless you need help, do not look in distress. Remember; put your bike well out of the way. Do not put it next to the track - EVER. If someone wants to pull off to the side to let another rider past or to just have a break and they run over your bike, I bet neither they (who has now crashed and may be hurt) or you (who has just had their bike damaged) are going to be happy - and it's all your fault. Again, common sense, but do not put it in a fall-zone. If someone crashes and lands on your pedal or gets a handle bar end in their liver or kidney I'm sure you won't be very popular.
    - If you do crash, and cannot move or get off the track, then you need to be very mindful of what is going on around you. Listen very carefully, anytime you think you hear an approaching rider yell out "rider down" or "stop" or even "help". It's safer to yell heaps that it is to be run over.
    - When you are re-entering the track, make sure that you look and listen before you jump onto the main line. You don't want to be in another crash before you've even started to ride again.

    - Everyone needs to stop and have a break every now and then. You do have to make sure that you will not cause an accident though!
    - Never stop on the track, always wait for a safe area away from the track and fall-zone where you will be out of the way.
    - Never, ever, stop on the track without warning. If for some reason you have no choice but to lose all momentum, yell "stopping on track" loud and clear, so that anyone near you can hear it. Give as much reasonable warning as possible, don't just yell it and then slam on the brakes, yell it, then stop a bit more gradually.
    - If you are about to pull off the track to have a break, make sure that any riders behind you know that you are about to slow down and pull off. It may catch them off guard, and you might get a rider up your bum. Yell "stopping on the right" or "stopping on the left" so that everyone can hear it. Again, make sure you give plenty of warning. Don't yell it as you are doing it, yell before you do it!
    - If you have had no choice and have stopped in the middle of the track, and there is no where to go, but you cannot move on (bad mechanical etc.) make sure you are listening and looking very carefully for riders. If you hear an approaching rider, yell warnings loud and clear like "rider down" or "track out". It is your responsibility to get out of their way, if that's not possible then make sure they know you are there in plenty of time.

    [magenta]- If you damage it, fix it. It's a very simple thing. If you crash and take out some bunting, put the damn bunting back up. If you roll over a jump over and over and wear away the lip, fix it back up - but only if you posses the knowledge to do so. If you don't, tell someone who you think does, or better yet the original builders of the track.
    - Do not change the track because you don't like a section. NEVER EVER change something that is not yours. Don't forget, if you do change the track, the new part you build will be illegal, and thus make the whole track illegal, meaning that a club can't race it, and that the land owner may rip it down/cover it up.
    - Don't cheat, or create huge new lines that are obviously not part of the track. Ride on the track, not next to it. A bit of common sense needs to be applied here, but everyone knows where the track ends and where cheating and cutting starts.
    - If you can't ride it, please swallow your pride and walk it. It is much better to walk than it is to skid down it and damage the track, or to make a new dodgy line/track that makes land owners angry. [/magenta]

    - You need to display common courtesy. If you are out for a weekend ride, and you see someone who is struggling to fix a broken chain or punctured tube, stop, say hello, and give then a hand! If you have tools with you then make sure you offer their use. Imagine if you were in their position! If you are at your local trails think about what sort of reputation you want your area to have, that of a friendly bunch of keen riders or that of a bunch of snobby fast guys (or slow/rich ones)?
    - If you see lost riders help them.
    - Offer some water and/or food to an injured or obviously fatigued rider.
    - In fact, if you see a rider who needs any sort of help, and you can help them in any way, then do so. If not, still stop and say hi.
    - Do NOT EVER push in line for shuttles or chair rides. This pisses everyone off, and if there are other people using the service then you also give mountain biking as a whole a bad reputation. If you are seen by a race official, you may well be disqualified too.
    - Don't be elitist. It sucks, and makes the sport very hard to get into.
    - Don't be novice-ist. It's the opposite of elitist, where you think everyone who rides fast is out to get you.
    - Always take your rubbish with you.

    - Don't cheat. You know what cheating is, and you know that you shouldn't do it.
    - Don't sandbag!
    - Be nice to any volunteers, even if they don't know what they are doing. If there is a volunteer who is clearly over his/her head, speak to the race director about it, so that the person can be educated. Don't just tear their heads off, that will only end in tears and a disqualification.
    - Help out! Say to yourself that you will help out at one race a year, or at a particular track each year, or every second race, or that you are happy to do one job every race. (Remember, there are jobs to be done that allow you to race and help).
    - Stay after the race and help pack up the gear (bunting, wires, collecting rubbish, packing up tents - there's always lots to do).
    - If you want to fight, DON'T!
    - Leave the agro on the track.
    - If you have got a placing, then get up onto the damn podium. When making your speech, always thank the organizers and volunteers, as well as anybody who has helped you out. Don't yack on for too long though, you're not that interesting!
    - Send an e-mail to the organizing club after the race and thank them for the race. If you have any ideas for improvements send them too, but not phrased as a complaint. This is only really necessary for bigger events, and maybe once a year to the organizers of a club series. Or just thank them on the day!
    - if you are asked to, make sure you hand in your number plate

    Complaining at races:
    - Do it subtly, and only to the Race Director. Do not ever go around bad mouthing the race before you have spoken to the organizers.
    - Do it politely, don't just walk up to them and start yelling.
    - Do it at an appropriate time. Don't start talking to them about slow shuttles while he/she is doing the presentation. Some things are best left to after the race.
    - Once you have said your bit, and they have acknowledged your complaint, leave them alone. If you choose, you could send the organizers an e-mail after the race just to re-cap on your problem, but do not come across agro or upset, just do it in a way that is to remind them of the problem at the same time as thank them for the race. Make sure you ALWAYS say something positive.
    - If it's something you could fix, or help to fix, then offer to do so.

    The general theme of the whole thing is: "just think about what you are doing, if it's going to piss someone else off or injure someone, don't do it". That's pretty straight forward.

    Originaly posted on

    quote:Originally posted by Alex in the ettiquette topic

    In addition to all that, if you're at a DH course with a very definite start ramp, don't set up camp on it. People want to start without having to dodge round your bags, bikes and bodies. It's annoying, ignorant and terrible manners. If you want a to sit around, do it away from where people need to ride.

    Also, while you're trolling around the start ramp, show some fucking respect for the riders and thier kit, throwing stones at your mates might seem a good idea till it pings off someone's pride and joy.

    Finally, have some respect for the course and quit skidding, skidding doesn't slow you down, it just makes a mess of the course and singles you out as someone who can't operate a brake let alone ride a bike well.

    It's all 20p for the swearbox behaviour and it spoils it for the rest, if you're guilty of this then you need to sort yourself out before someone sorts you out.
This discussion has been closed.