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The Unprofessionals: Nitro Main Improvement

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By Tyler Hooks

The Unprofessionals is sporadic column where we lend our interns, editors or otherwise opinionated people a platform for their voice on RC matters or racing events. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of LiveRC. Got an opinion? Submit your story to and we might publish it!

It's time to improve our results in long nitro mains, check out some tips and tricks from Tyler Hooks.

I'm by no means the best at this or even arguably good, but i've been running long nitro mains for about half of my life now and have taken some time to analyze the successes and failures to pull out some consistencies.

Alright so you just started making the main at your local track or regional events where the main is 20 minutes or longer or you would like to learn how to make the mains. While you have figured out how to run 5-7 minutes fairly clean on your own pace to make said main, the results aren't translating in the way you would want them to in the main. Well ladies and gentlemen the mains are an entirely different animal.

I was listening to a podcast recently with Jeremy McGrath where he was explaining that in dirt bike racing if you wanted to make the jump from being a 15-20 rider to being a top 10 rider you need practice starts and attempt to start in the front of the race so you can run the pace of the leaders for as long as possible and get comfortable with the pace to gain confidence.

It doesn't quite work like this in RC but there are parallels, we don't have gate starts so you can't just grab a good jump and be up front, but what you can do to put yourself in a good position is to set a goal of not crashing for a certain amount of time.

"Wow Tyler, what a revelation don't crash and you will do better."

Yeah i know, it sounds stupid, but seriously start the main with a solid 5 minutes without a mistake or make it to the first fuel stop without a mistake. More often than not if you back it down to 95% of your qualifying pace and just don't crash for the first couple of minutes you will find yourself closer to the front than where you started.

This alone will do wonders, there is no way to replicate race pace outside of attempting to run with the leaders for as long as you can and you won't be able to do that if you crash in the first couple of laps. No offense but if your last name isn't Maifield, Phend, or Tebo, you probably won't be able to rip back through the pack after making a mistake.

The second part of this is when you do make a mistake and fall down the field early, it isn't like qualifying anymore, the slower drivers aren't going to let you by, you are now racing for position and it isn't their fault you crashed. Make your life easier and don't put yourself in that position.

The second half of the race is emotion management, I don't care what anyone says, long races like that are exhausting and you will feel some sort of emotional and physical fatigue. The best thing you can do is stay level headed, try your best to not get too frustrated or excited for that matter.

I've done a couple of different interviews with Maifield after race wins where after the interview I ask him why he isn't more excited. His response is always that you can't get too excited or emotional in the moment, you can be mad or celebrate later but that isn't going to help you during the race. Keep it calm and keep pushing.

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About the Author

Tyler Hooks is a recent college graduate with a BBA in management and a Minor in Communications from St. Edwards University as well as a ROAR Stock National Champion and was apart of the IFMAR World Championship USA team in 2016. Tyler is currently an Editor as well as in the Advertising department at Live Race Media and frequently is apart of the broadcast team at major events.

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