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Rough Racing - When is Rubbin Racin'?

by Sean Casey


The 250 East SX series is shaping up to be a wild and crazy ride. Barcia and Wilson had an epic battle in the front of the pack early in the race as the fireworks went off between the two riders. However, Barcia wasn’t content with 2nd place and made Deano aware of this with an aggressive pass. Wilson countered with another pass, but it was not enough and Barcia took the checkers.

After reading some of the posts in the informative forums on Vital, some were calling Justin’s passes as reckless and dangerous. I have to admit, Barcia is indeed the wild child, but that is his style. After all, isn’t rubbin’ racin’? Making a split second decision on whether to pass or not is usually a difficult one. As I have said before, you don’t just pass on a whim. If you want to make a pass stick, it has to be calculated…or you will end up like Blake Wharton and Ryan Sipes.

If you watch on the 4th lap of the main, Barcia plans his pass almost 2 corners ahead. He takes an alternative line in the rhythm section to clear the triple. He cuts to the inside and takes the line from Wilson. But Dean tries to get Justin back in the next corner. This back and forth passing is great for learning to set up passes. Below, I’ve got the whole 250 (trying to get rid of the term Lites) program.

What you have to take away from this is whether the pass is necessary or not. If you can get a front wheel on the other rider, odds are you can make the pass without any major crashing. However, if you try to bomb through the other rider, you WILL end up like Sipes and Wharton. Is this the last lap in the final moto of Loretta’s or just a Saturday night race at a local track? Obviously, you will go balls to the wall to make a pass in Hurricane Mills. But, is that pass at the local track going to put you and the other rider on ground? It is all relative. As I said before, plan out your passes and be smart about it.

About the Author:
I’m Sean and I have been riding since I was 13 years old. I’m 20 years old now and pursuing a degree in Athletic Performance and Exercise Science. I’m not a professional and I don’t have a degree yet. However, I just love to read about racing techniques and training for the sport. This is what led me to start writing about everything I have learned. I have so much information on the sport; I think it could really benefit people who want to better their riding. When you’re healthier, riding is more enjoyable. Check out more articles from Sean on his site -

That's it for now, until next time, good luck with your training and remember, if you have a question, log on to the Virtual Trainer Expert Forum and have your question answered by a panel of experts. In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section. Your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness. VT Signature

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  1. Gravatar
    Dustin February 17, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    OK, I submit that Barcia's passes were not smart. By going out of his way to hit Wilson, (or who ever else he slams) he is forcing retaliation. Live by the sword code. Wilson is now required to knock Barcia down in the next race or be labled as a soft target. I hope Dean does so, Dean owes him a few! In the long run I don't see how this benefits Barcia as he had made himself a target for several riders.

  2. Gravatar
    Sean February 17, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Dustin, I agree 100% with you. I like Barcia, but he's got a huge bullseye on his back.

  3. Gravatar
    Scott February 17, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Barcia needs to learn how to be a racer. Did you ever see Carmichael, McGrath, Wardy, Pourcel, etc. ride like this? Barcia has made a living by essentially taking the other guys' front wheel out (he doesn't even try a traditional block pass), which doesn't requre much skill. I have zero respect for the kid, and hope some of the other riders punt him into the tenth row...

  4. Gravatar
    Rob February 17, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    There's a simple rule that every racer knows: if you don't have at least a partial wheel on someone then it isn't a legitimate pass, it is just a take out move. I've seen at least two passes so far this year that definately weren't legitimate and in fact were senseless and stupid as they endangered both riders.

    I love rough racing as much as the next person but the riders aren't in cars, they are on bikes and outright ramming someone isn't just unfair it is dumb.

  5. Gravatar
    Tim February 17, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    THIS IS racing, I'm 43 years old and I still race. back in the 80's thats how we raced, rubbin plastic. thats true racing, these days these kids are wimps, pass me but dont touch me or my bike. back in the day we use to push each other over the burms just to get the pass. If you dont want the guy to rub and bang you go faster then. GO JUSTIN.

  6. Gravatar
    kyle Hamann February 17, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    I love to watch Barcia but he is out of control and somebody is going to get sick of his dirty ways pay him back on the track or maybe off the track.

  7. Gravatar
    TonyC693 February 17, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    yea you guys are nuts......WHEN did he even hit Dean? not sure he Dean threw a block pass back on him....not sure what you guys are seeing here......its MX not CHESS!!!!

  8. Gravatar
    jason February 17, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    Maybe I am just too old but making contact is part of racing. Someone said that you did not see MC, RC and others race like this. I remember RC hitting some folks, I rember KDub parking DV12 in Phonenix so I am not sure that the memory of no "rough riding" is not correct.

    What about Rick Johnson, The Dogger, Howerton, Hanson (not Josh)? All great and fairly sure you can find photos and videos of them making contact.

    Look I am a nobody. I have never raced on any real level what so ever but I race and I hit. When I was younger back in the 80s I once broke another kids arm for a $6 trophy. Guy kept pushing me wide and pushing me wide in the same spot. Two corners later on the last lap BAM. Did not hit him with the intention of hurting him. I wanted to hit him hard enough to slow him down and have him finish after me. We raced each other for another 5 or 6 years. Talking about the hit from time to time but always agreeing that it was part of the sport. I am not sure when being agressive at racing became a bad thing.

    As far as risking injury not being worth making contact, I would have avoided injury in my past by not jumping, cornering at the fastest speed I thought possible, etc. Again, part of the sport.

  9. Gravatar
    Doug February 17, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    But, it's O.K. for Bubba to use other riders as landings...what is more reckless?

  10. Gravatar
    Mcgreagor February 17, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    No one is Mentioning the major slam Wilson gave Durham that broke durhams foot. He hit him so hard they both had to roll the triple. Wilson dishes it out but deffinately can't take it!

  11. Gravatar
    ChuckyB February 17, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    Those of you talking about rough riding.....The moves by lil stewie and sipes was much more flagrant, and potentially dangerous, than any of the "racing" that barcia and wilson had between one another.

    These racers of today, I raced back in the 70's in Texas, are spoiled compared to what racing really was, with an emphasis on "WAS". Suspension has allowed the racers to be quicker, but racers of my generation had "track savvy" and moxy.........

    Howerton, Hannah, Weinert, Grossi, DiStefano, Smith, Croft, Priddy, West.....the list goes on. Now these racers would get a wheel on you in a heartbeat..........

    Al ya'll stop whinning about close racing. None of todays racers intentionally want to hurt anyone!!!!!!!!!!!! BUT LET THEM RACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Gravatar
    Carlsbad February 17, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    The pussification of the world has even leaked into the original exteme sport? Say it isn't so!!! Bleeding hearts are rejoicing and forming encounter groups as we speak......

  13. Gravatar
    Josh February 18, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Hey i got an idea, lets just put on our skirts and ride around the track in single file. You guys are a bunch of whimps. This is Supercross/Motocross, every rider/racer pro/amateur who signed up for this sport knows thats there's risk involved. They know they are exposed to guys that ride rough and guys that ride super clean. That the nature of this sport.
    I got a question for you.. If you were getting paid 10s of thousands of dollars to win races and chapionships, and during a race somebody was gonna come pass you, are you just gonna move over and let them by just so they dont block pass you and hit you? I wouldn't. Im gonna make them earn it. If its thowing block passes every corner and maybe touching some wheels or be it.

  14. Gravatar
    ddmx February 18, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Anyone that thinks barcia's pass was uncalled for, needs to quit drinking light beer. Rubbin's racin.

  15. Gravatar
    Racer X Virtual Trainer February 21, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    And just for the record so you all know where I stand. In the pro ranks, the rougher the better. I've never understood how a pro rider can complain when he gets punted into the first row. Especially when he knows its coming since he left the door wide open. I'm old school. Its not "dirty" racing. Its called competition and getting to the checkers first.

    Just not sure I agree with it on Sunday when I'm running at my local track and some Jackass tries to ride the same way. Sometimes local amateurs forget that "rubbin ain't necessarily racin'" when we are riding at our local track. Guess thats what the pits are for after the race.

  16. Gravatar
    Johnny Fontenot March 05, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    @timcryster. Amen brother. Followed this 15 or 16 year old kid over to his dad's truck after he took me out while we were simply riding the track on a saturday. The dad was around my age(old), but super fat and for sure not fit, but I am so I told him and his kid I was gonna pound them both if they didn't leave immediately. They left immediately and I heard the dad say to his punk son 'I told you that was going to happen if you keep doing that'! lol. But, on the flip side if I hear you coming up behind me, even during a race, I'm going to let you by as I know you have earned it, you are faster and I need to practice practice practice just like Canard did for Villo before Trey got hurt.

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