A dirt racing track can be an exciting place. Lots of noise, excited kids and the thrill of winning can all make a day at the annual meet a great way to spend quality family time. There are a few drawbacks, but most can be overcome with forethought and planning.
First, there are probably no convenient grocery or drug stores. Most meets are held in isolated locations with one road in and out. It will be nearly impossible to leave to get a desperately needed item. You’ll need to think about what you’ll need beforehand because you likely will not be able to get required items while the racing is in full swing.
1. First aid pack
People are going to get hurt. It might be the rider, but there’s also a good chance it may be one of your family members watching from the sidelines. Bring the following at a minimum. Carrying the kit in an easily accessible fanny pack is not only convenient but quick.
- Sun block
- Instant ice packs
- Burn and blister dressing cream
- Various sizes and types of band aids
- Gauze dressings
- Adhesive tape
- Small thermometer to check for heat exhaustion
- Emergency disposable blanket package
- Insect repellent
- Moleskin for blisters
- Scissors, blunted
- Duct tape, 2 inches wide
- Safety pin
- Extra hearing protection
- Acetaminophen, adult and child doses
- Extra medical supplies for diabetics, prescriptions for allergies, etc.
2. Protective clothing and personal items
The noise at a race is incredible. Each bike is quite loud to most people. When you get dozens of riders pumping up the cool factor while waiting for the start, it’s downright uncomfortable. Each member of the family, as well as the rider, should wear hearing protection buds while the race is ongoing. Everyone should have a hat that covers their face and neck. Sunglasses are a must. The weather is usually hot, and the meets last all day. Sunblock is a great idea. Physical barriers to the sun are even better.
3. Water, drinks, and snacks
In the heat of a summer race, everyone will need plenty of hydration. Stay away from the energy drinks that are laced with caffeine. They tend to dehydrate even more. Pure water, juices, and flavored drinks should be kept cold in a portable ice chest.
Take as many as your chest will hold. The foil packages are great for saving room and getting cold quickly. It’s better to drink small quantities more often than a large bottle of water that will warm before it’s finished. Snacks should be light. You can prepare sandwiches, pack fruit cups, and bring energy bars without lugging too much weight. Don’t forget disposable eating utensils. Bring trash bags to use to clean up the messes and leave in the containers.
4. Bath wipes
At your local big box or drug store, you can find bath wipes used for bedridden patients. These are far superior to the baby wipes. The pads are large, well moistened, and clean very thoroughly. You can give your little speed demon a complete bath after the race with one of these. They will be left clean, sweat-free, and ready to go out to eat on the way home. The cost for these wipes is quite minimal.
5. Extra clothing
Spilled drinks and food are just two of the daily disasters at a track. The dust stirred up by the racers spells trouble for clean clothes. Don’t wear sandals or flip-flops. Bring at least one extra set of clothing, underwear, and socks. They can remain in the car until needed.
6. Extra cellphone
If two adults are going to the race, they should each bring their cellphones and battery chargers. Murphy’s Law applies here. If something can go wrong, it will go wrong.
7. Small toys or books for siblings
It’s natural to focus on the child who is racing during meet days. If you have other children who are attending, make sure you have small toys, handheld electronics, or other favorite amusements for them. Meets last a long time for a little one. The last thing you want is tots who are hot, tired, and cranky.
8. Seating for comfort
If allowed at the race, bring portable collapsible seating for everyone in the family. Attending an all-day meet is tiring, particularly so if you have to stand the entire time.
Whether you use your cellphone, a still camera, or a video camera, be ready to capture the moment. Extra fully charged battery packs will ensure you don’t miss the best shots.
If you want or need to buy gear, souvenirs, food, or drink, you’ll need to pay cash. Remember, the locations are isolated and not well-suited for vendors to set up advanced pay mechanisms.