ATV Dirt Days

Thursday’s temperature reached 104 – not counting the horribe 111 degree heat index – which felt like walking into a blowdryer, even the wind hurt. My real job for this weekend is covering the quad national, and as I sit here watching practice in the Fox Tower, there’s a distinct change to the groomed racetrack. The Weekend Warrior accompanies the ITP and Moose Racing banners high in the air, but there are no stakes or posts lined anywhere on the track; remember, the ones we ever so carefully hammered in for the bike national. My guess is that the ATVs will plow through everything anyway, so there’s no use. At least the haybales are still there. I’ll be wandering around with my camera…

Saturday –

The weather forecast should stay under 100 degrees today, as the heat advisory has been lifted for this area. There is, however, a code orange air quality in effect, meaning conditions are unhealthy for ‘sensitive groups.’ Of course, being decked out in long sleeves, pants, boots and a helmet constitutes a heat advisory in itself, but don’t tell the riders that. Heck, even the Queen Aretha Franklin postponed her hometown concert on Sunday, citing heat concerns. Yet, the rising mercury has nothing on the world’s fastest ATV racers.

So, here’s how to avoid heat exhaustion, according to

  • Air conditioning is the No. 1 protective factor against heat illness.
  • Reduce strenuous activities or do them during early mornings and evenings when it’s cooler.
  • If you’re outside for long stretches of time, carry a water bottle, drink fluids regularly, and don‘t push your limits.
  • People who play sports should wear light, loose-fitting clothes and drink water before, during, and after activity.
  • If you see someone experiencing heat illness, have the person lie down in a cool place and elevate the legs.
  • Use water, wet towels, and fanning to help cool the person down.

Got that? Should motocrossers have to wear Camelbacks…? How about scheduling the races during the hottest time of day…? Have you ever seen loose-fitting dirtbike gear besides from LBZ or SMP…? What about pushing the limits at the last race of the series…?

If I see someone experiencing heat illness under their full-faced helmet and goggles, I’ll be sure to make them lie down in a cool place, if I can find one…before taking off their steel-toed boots to elevate their legs. At least if they make the top 10, they have to stop by the impound and take some water; although I won’t be there for frame numbers this time, I’ll be watching.

Today starts the first motos for the amateur classes, including Pro Am and Pro Am Women. Last I heard the rider count was just under 600, so this year’s turnout is much bigger than last. The actual Pro riders will only practice today, with two motos to come on Sunday. I’m anxious to see the lap times for the quads, and how they measure up to riders like Canard, for one. More to come!


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