Martin Varrand – His complete dirt bike handguide: Motocross success principles
As soon as I hit the floor, I knew I was in trouble. The pain was unbearable. The other kids looked on in shock as my BMX lay in the road with its bent forks; the noise of the spinning back wheel drowned out by my agonising screams. A few of the kids ran off at the sight of my protruding, jagged collarbone and pale face. Two thoughts ran through my mind. The first; I’m not going to be able to ride in this year’s championships, was quickly followed by another. Dad is going to be furious!
Motocross has always been at the forefront of my life. Even smashing my collarbone to pieces in a foolish bicycle stunt could not change that fact. At the time of the accident I had already been Junior world champion twice, and Estonian national champion six times. I was heading for great things. Unfortunately for me, I failed to heed my father’s warnings about pulling stunts on my BMX, and I ended my racing career before it had reached its peak.
Looking back, I grieved for my racing career for some time; however, I am a big believer in attitude and perception. Accepting that I had no opportunity to continue as a racer took time. One thing I knew for sure was that, despite the accident, I still loved motocross. My father was a competitive racer, and even the smell of two-stroke will take me back to the excitement and adrenalin of a race day.
What does a former junior champion do when they can no longer compete at a world level? Well, for me, the answer came over time. Support the sport you love, and continue to ride at the level you can achieve. Competition is only one facet of motocross. The main bit is riding a bike in the dirt. On the bike is where the raw passion comes out—becoming one with your machine, flowing through bends and landing the jumps. That is where the magic happens.
Once you have accepted your reality, new opportunities open.
I originally started Motocross Advice as a hobby, a way of keeping in touch with my sport. I see so many motocross websites which are run by people who have never ridden a bike. Some of the advice and products that they review are just nonsense! Some are even dangerous. I knew I could do better, that I could provide a genuine alternative to the low-quality reviews I was seeing. Building the MA website led me to think about developing a course. The idea that I could help others improve and compete fired me up.
The journey has been challenging! Like any challenge, there is a point where you have to dig in and believe in yourself. I have had many of those over the last eighteen months. Ultimately though, I believe in what I am doing, and I am building a great team of people who have the same passion for motocross that I do. The vision for the Motocross Advice website and the TeamMA community is continually evolving. I have made mistakes on the way, but we are growing fast. I want to build the most accessible and affordable resource for dirt bike riders.
I spent a year developing the Motocross Success Principles handbook, which is a free e-book. I have seen many free giveaways which are OK, but I wanted a book which people would be proud to own. My handbook is graphically stunning, written with care and goes into great depth about each subject. I spent a lot of money, making sure the book was at a standard that I would be proud to own myself. It is my goal to have the book printed in 2021. A handbook that new riders can have on the shelf and refer to from time to time.
Off the back of the book, I launched my Motocross Success Principles video series. There are various levels for people to engage at, from a beginners techniques series through to a masterclass and private members group. The website and community are my passion now. I am as determined and focused on this community as that seven-year-old had to be to lift his world championship wreath.
Of course, I still ride. I am proud to say that I came first in a race early in 2020. I won’t be a world champion. I am determined to help someone else become one, though. Motocross is in a healthy state right now. I am proud to be doing my part in helping the next generation ride safer, faster and with more confidence. It is not about money for me. Motocross Advice is about passion, commitment and keeping the racing spirit alive.
Martin Varrand –
Former two-times junior MX world champion
Six times Estonian Junior champion
(Not so good at building ramps for BMX bikes).