After 23 years of coaching motocross and holding motocross schools around the country from Vermont to California, there is no place quite like Southern California! Many tracks have come and gone over the decades of California being the mecca of motocross, and California continues to be home of the best tracks all nestled within about a 2-hour drive. I’ve coached individuals, small groups and motocross schools at most of them and have personally ridden or raced them all.
Glen Helen Raceway – San Bernadino, CA
I've spent some great days at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, CA. The Main Track, a former AMA national track, has maintained its basic layout for decades and is considered one of the best in the country. It offers high-speed racing, elevation changes, challenging layouts, and the chance to navigate some of the steepest and longest descents you will ever find.
Then there's the Arroyo Track, also known as the Vet track, which takes me back to the old-school motocross days. It has varying dirt conditions, elevation changes, off-cambers, natural obstacles, and forgiving tabletops. I've spent entire days on this track, enjoying rides with friends and finding it so much fun that we never felt the need to explore the Main Track.
One thing I appreciate is that both tracks are consistently well-prepped, as in first-class perfect prep every time. If you're just looking to have a good day at the track, Glen Helen Raceway won't disappoint. And if you have young racers with you, the youth SX track is a great fit, offering rhythm sections and a smaller 180-degree bowl turn like Supercross, along with a starting gate for small bikes.
The facility itself is spacious, providing plenty of room for drill practice without causing any inconvenience. As a coach, I value this feature for its flexibility, allowing me to design various drills for my students with different obstacles and terrains. It's worth noting that Glen Helen Raceway stays open until 6:00 pm every Tuesday, which sets it apart from tracks that typically close earlier.
Fox Raceway – Pala, CA
Fox Raceway in Pala, CA, currently serves as an AMA national track, offering a challenge even for the most skilled racers. With notable features like elevation changes between the famous triple step-up and a mountain on the backside, Fox Raceway is frequented by factory and professional racers who often put in laps, and it would be possible to see Dylan Ferrandis or Adam Cianciarulo practicing during the week. You might also run into Ryan “Ryno” Hughes working with some of his racers.
Beyond the main track, Fox provides a Mini-bike track tailored for 50cc auto-clutch motorcycles, complete with a starting gate. The mini-bike races draw a significant turnout, creating an atmosphere that blends elements of WWF wrestling, motocross, and a rock concert.
There's also a beginner level track designed with fun obstacles to provide an exciting experience for newcomers. Adjacent to the FOX Racing retail store and concessions area, you'll find a STACYC track.
The Vet track at Fox Raceway is on the top of my favorites list. Its design is both challenging and forgiving, catering to both amateur and vet riders. Fox Raceway has invested a lot of time and money to make this one of the best tracks in SoCal. It’s a destination for riders to enjoy their time on the track, and witness professional riders in action.
Cahuilla Creek MX – Anza, CA
Cahuilla Creek MX, hidden in the hills of Anza, CA, has an extensive facility with three motocross tracks and offroad loops. The parking lot is up high, giving you awesome views of the desert below. It's the perfect spot for spectators to enjoy the show. Much like my experiences at Glen Helen Raceway, Cahuilla Creek MX boasts three tracks, the Main and the Vet track and a minibike track. The Vet track is on my top two list of favorite tracks. The dirt is a mix of sand and topsoil with elevation changes and a fantastic flow to it. Grabbing the inside of an off camber and then launching a tabletop and then dropping into a 180-degree corner and then climbing up and out with the best dogleg turn in California!
For the young and aspiring motocross riders, the Novice Mini Track at Cahuilla Creek MX is a great spot to excel and have fun. This natural terrain track provides a safe yet exciting space for novices to develop their skills. The scenic surroundings add an extra layer of enjoyment, making each lap a memorable experience for the kids.
Cahuilla Creek MX's Vet Track winds through rural California and offers sweeping turns and jumps, safe for beginners and casual riders alike. It's a place where riders can practice corner speed, share laughs with fellow enthusiasts, and experience the joy of motocross in the heart of nature.
The Main/Pro Track at Cahuilla Creek MX provides a challenging yet safe experience for riders seeking a high-speed and dynamic experience. This natural sandy terrain track offers a thrilling ride with elevation changes that set it apart. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a novice, the Main/Pro Track ensures a heart-pounding adventure on two wheels.
During coaching sessions at Cahuilla Creek MX, the extensive terrain provides a practical space to teach skills against the scenic backdrop of Anza. Coaching goes beyond just learning; it's a hands-on experience delving into the excitement of motocross. The various tracks at Cahuilla Creek MX offer flexibility for coaches to design drills, contributing to rider development across different terrains and challenges.
Overall, Cahuilla Creek MX is a motocross venue offering tracks for novices, casual riders, and seasoned pros, each combining challenge and safety. It provides an environment where a passion for motocross can thrive. It's a destination where riders, similar to experiences at Glen Helen Raceway, can enjoy the ride, spend time with friends, and appreciate the diversity of tracks available.
Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park – Lake Elsinore, CA
Another of my favorites is Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park – where the thrill of motocross comes to life. There are so many track options at Lake Elsinore all the way from PeeWee to minibike to full on Supercross practice tracks for AMA Pros only. And let’s not forget one of my favorite training tracks: the Ovals! The main MX track offers a mix of high-speed stretches, rhythms, and challenging gaps, catering to both amateurs and professional AMA-licensed riders.
What sets this park apart is its diversity in tracks. Positive reviews highlight well-maintained tracks that prioritize both excitement and safety, creating an inviting atmosphere for riders. The park's inclusivity is evident in its variety of tracks, welcoming beginners and seasoned pros alike.
I always appreciate the extra space for coaching and training on different tracks with different soil conditions. Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park isn't just a place to visit – it's a historic site where the Lake Elsinore Gran Prix was originally raced. Whether you're starting your journey or honing your skills, this park provides the perfect platform for an enjoyable and challenging motocross experience.
Nestled in the heart of California, Perris Motocross stands as a testament to the rich history of motocross in the region. As the oldest motocross track in California, Perris has witnessed the evolution of the sport and the thrill it brings to riders. For me, the track holds a special place in my motocross journey, having raced there consistently throughout the '80s and '90s.
During those golden years, Goat Breker, a name synonymous with Perris Motocross, managed the track. It was a time when many top professionals would gather to race during the offseason, turning Perris into a hotbed of motocross talent. The track's main attraction was its exceptional dirt, offering a challenging main track and a Vet track designed for safety while maintaining a supercross-like rhythm – minus the daunting 75-foot triple jump.
Perris Raceway encourages a more observational coaching style due to the lack of large areas near the tracks. As a coach, it means closely watching the rider on the track and pulling them aside to discuss insights and improvements. While it might not be my preferred coaching method, Perris Motocross remains an outstanding racing venue, providing the perfect setting to either compete or burn some gnarly practice laps.
LACR – Palmdale, CA
Nestled in the desert of California, LACR (Los Angeles County Raceway) has been a staple in the motocross community for decades. The recent move to a new location has only enhanced its reputation, offering riders a revamped and impressive track setup. As you descend into the quarry, the sight of multiple tracks unfolds – a beginner/minibike track, a Vet Track, and the Main track, each meticulously maintained to ensure an unparalleled riding experience. The sandy soil at LACR provides the ideal terrain for honing your sand riding skills, making it a perfect destination for riders looking to master the art and ride the rough sand whoops.
Whether you're a seasoned rider or just starting your motocross journey, LACR caters to all skill levels. The variety of tracks, coupled with the dedication to maintenance, guarantees that you'll never have a bad day at LACR. The facility's commitment to providing an exceptional motocross experience is evident in every detail, making it a go-to destination for riders seeking thrilling tracks and a welcoming atmosphere. So, gear up and get ready for a memorable ride at LACR, where the legacy of decades meets the excitement of new possibilities.
Quail Canyon Motocross – Gorman, CA
Situated in the scenic mountains of the Gorman area, Quail Canyon stands out as a motocross haven that truly embodies the essence of old-school riding. Upon entering the gates, riders are subject to a mandatory check for a spark arrestor on all motocross bikes. The track itself exudes the charm of classic motocross, featuring a seamless flow, dynamic elevation changes, and a nostalgic ambiance reminiscent of the sport's early days.
The dirt at Quail Canyon is nothing short of exceptional, with weekly track prep, ensuring that riders may encounter either a rough, challenging track or a freshly groomed one, depending on their timing. This track has solidified its status as a favorite among riders, offering a timeless experience that takes them back to the roots of motocross, before the dominance of supercross-style obstacles.
For enthusiasts eager to savor the past and establish a connection with motocross history, Quail Canyon emerges as a must-visit destination. Through its commitment to preserving an old-school track layout, maintaining an impressive flow, and providing quality dirt, Quail Canyon stands as a testament to the authenticity and thrill of traditional motocross. So, gear up and immerse yourself in the nostalgic allure of Quail Canyon, where the spirit of motocross finds its home in the heart of Gorman, California.