How to prepare a dirt racing track

Dirt track racing is a specialised adventurous sport, made possible by the intense preparation that goes into the dirt tracks long before the final event day.

Warning; if it is the first time you have acquired land for dirt racing and are in the process of setting up required facilities, consider consulting a property lawyer. Melbourne race events have a number of legal and safety requirements that need to be met before the event can be held, and this is usually the case the world over.

If you have prepped a dirt racing track before, you would realise that each event is completely different and there is no one standardised procedure for it. The process will be different for different areas of the country and even within a state, depending largely on weather conditions and soil makeup. Even though there are a lot of variables, some things remain constant in dirt track preparation and should always be focused on first.

Dust Factor – One of the main factors that affect dirt track preparation is dust, which is typically watered down to reduce any hazard to spectators. However, if watered down randomly, the track will become very slick with hardly any traction for the tyres. This will then inhibit racers who will be wary of overtaking, passing and may avoid taking risks, making the whole show boring and predictable. So to dampen the soil, building greater traction without turning the track into a mud pit, track crews introduce moisture to the dirt and dust. The surface is then prepared in such a way that the mixture of dirt and binders hold together for the event.

Soil Content – This varies greatly between locations and typically plays a major role in dirt track preparation. The soil content will dictate the direction of any track preparation, needing to have the right moisture quantity and retain it throughout the race. This enables racers to grip, reducing any skidding problems and reduces the potential of any ruts or potted holes. Typically, moisture is retained by the soil through its clay content, with the ideal ratio 30% clay. However, this not available in most locations which leads to the slow degeneration of the surface as the events progress on race day.

Climatic conditions and Event weather – Unfortunately these highly changeable variables tend to have the biggest impact on soil preparation. Tracks that are located at heights tend to be dryer with less moisture in the air and require a greater amount of watering to bind the track. On the other hand, places with high rainfall or particularly only a couple of weeks before the event will only need a basic rolling of the soil. In these places, the water table will be higher, just below the track resulting in greater retention of soil moisture and maintains the surface of the track.

Equipment needed for track preparation – Specialised equipment is needed for track preparation. A grader for levelling and shaping the surface, a water truck with wide and low-pressure tyres that do not affect the surface and a rake for loosening the top of the track without digging deep are requirements for any track crew.

Approach dirt track preparation systematically after taking into account all these factors and you possibly cannot go wrong.