Dream Traxx has become one of the leading track building companies in the industry. Building for many of the sports top riders, as well as some elite events. We receive many emails with questions about how we design and build our tracks, as well as what it is like to build for the sports top riders. We wanted to take the time to answer some of those questions, and give a little background on what goes into designing and building a track like the one just completed for Ryan Villopoto.
Villopoto’s new track built by Dream Traxx.
Photos: Dream Traxx
1. How do you plan a track design for a top rider like Ryan Villopoto?
Jason Baker: Basically, in Ryan’s case we talk about what stuff he likes and would like to see in his track. Then take into consideration the tracks that are coming up and if there are any features that stand out or that they are doing a lot of. We would want to put those features in to get practice on. Also, with Ryan having Aldon as a trainer, Aldon has a voice as well regarding what he would like Ryan to have on the track from a training standpoint. Then we put all of our thoughts together to build what works best for the riders program. All of our tracks are individualized for each particular rider to help focus on their strengths and weaknesses.
2. What is the most difficult part of building a supercross track?
Dirt management. When you are doing a knock down rebuild – you are not just fixing the jumps that are there, you are knocking everything down and starting from scratch. You need to make sure you manage your dirt to be able to build all of the obstacles so they are balanced throughout the track without running out of dirt. It is important to make sure that you don’t build one section bigger or smaller than the next, and that is all part of managing your dirt amounts as you build.
3. What is your favorite thing to build on a supercross track?
I really like building a big finish line, with real steep take offs and big landings. I love big jumps and I love visualizing the guys throwing a big whip off of it! I also like to build big whoops, but they are tough on you as an operator.
4. What is the biggest challenge building tracks for some of the sports top racers like Ryan?
Making a track that has the three key elements: fun, challenging, and safety! At the level the guys I build for our riding, plus the quality of the bikes they are on – to build a challenge can sometimes have a very fine line between challenging and dangerous. Keeping that line separated is important and often tough. Trying to keep it fun is a big obstacle too. These riders put more than 60 laps on the track each day, week in and week out. You want a track that makes them want to get up and train. You want them to have fun riding that same track over and over again, while trying to shave tenths of a second off their laptime throughout the season.
5. After completing a track like Ryan’s, what do you enjoy most as you look at the finished product?
I am very particular and critical during the build process. I demand perfection from myself and my crew – so its nice to look and see how all those little things add up to a beautiful track. I love standing up above the track, looking out over it, and seeing it picture perfect. Visualizing all of the lines, and everything symmetrical – and picturing the rider on it for the first time. I love being able to be there when the rider takes his first laps on the track. Watching a rider come off the track with a grin from ear to ear is so rewarding and the best thank you I can get.
It’s that time once again, all the riders begin heading East for the remainder of the series, and a fresh track is what they want. James Stewart called upon Dream Traxx to do just that, and Jason and the Dream Traxx Crew took on the challenge. Dream Traxx has been in charge of the Stewart Compound since 2008, but the challenge of building that perfect track is always there. Building for one of the world’s fastest racers is a huge feat, not only do you have to challenge them to drive their training forward, but you have to build a track that is also fun to train on day in and day out, as well as keeping it safe too!
Dream Traxx Photos
When asked about his building experience over at the Stewart Compound, Jason replied, “Building for James and Malcolm is an honor! I love building sections thinking they will do it one way, and then watch them take it to a higher level and jump it in ways I never expected! Just as I try to build a track that will push them to get better and stronger, they push me to be a better track builder by always trying to design and build a perfect track that was better than the one before.”
Dream Traxx was created in 2003, and since its beginning days has become a world-renowned track building company with an impressive list of clients. Riders like Timmy Ferry, Nico Izzi, Ian Trettel, James & Malcolm Stewart, Ryan Villopoto, Justin Barcia, Trey Canard, Matt Boni, and BBMX are just some of the racers that call upon Dream Traxx. Since 2008, Dream Traxx has also been the lead designer and builder for the Australasian SuperX Series, and also helped to design and build the 2009 and 2010 X-Games SuperX and Speed & Style courses. For more information on Dream Traxx, visitwww.dreamtraxx.com. Follow on Facebook,and Twitter for all the latest ‘dirt’ on their newest tracks!
In preparation for the East Coast Supercross, Geico Honda 250F rider Justin Barcia called upon the expertise of the Dream Traxx crew to build him a top notch training compound. Jason had big goals for Justin’s new training compound, and wanted to make sure he started the facility off with a bang!
The first task at hand was to build the supercross pad, which turned out to be the largest supercross pad ever sculpted by the Dream Traxx crew. Jason always plans his practice supercross tracks to have big, large landings to help ensure safety as his riders train. This time, he also planned for the pad to have enough room for the water truck to be able to go all the way around the outside of the track on the pad. Since all of the dirt was generated on site, this was a long process.
In one week, the Dream Traxx crew put over 80 hours on both the excavator and the dump truck! Just as the pad was complete and the track was beginning to take shape, ole’ Mother Nature came and dumped more than an inch of rain! Jason was pleased to see that the pad drained perfectly, and was excited to continue working. The dirt was pretty wet, but the track continued on. Just as the final lanes were being built….here comes Mother Nature again! This time dumping more than 2 inches of rain and stopping all construction on the track. After the sun baked the track for a few days, they were finally able to put the finishing touches on.
As Justin completed his first few laps around the track he was pumped! “That track is so sweet! It is challenging and fun at the same time! I am so pumped that I have such an awesome track to train on! Big thanks to Jason and the Dream Traxx crew!”
“This track is the first one in a long time that gave me anxiety! From a weeks worth of hauling dirt, to the rain coming and going, to wanting to make a new customer completely happy….I had many nights of restless sleep”, says Jason Baker, owner of Dream Traxx. “My crew put in an insane amount of hours and I couldn’t have done it without them! It was awesome to work for such a great family. Justin and his father Don were a pleasure to work for, and I appreciate the opportunity to work for such a talented racer!”
The entire Dream Traxx crew wishes Justin the best of luck this supercross season!
Well they say what doesn’t kill you, will only make you stronger. If that is the case, then last week would have been a high intensity strength workout. With Launceston being located in Tasmania, which is an island off the main land of Australia, they do not have near the resources to pull from. That said, the equipment was definitely not the latest technology. So we knew it was going to be a battle from the get-go. We just tried to keep a positive outlook and deal with the task at hand. Next hurdle, the dirt. If you can imagine what slabs of sun-baked modeling clay would look like, that is what we would have to build the track with. This left us scratching our heads while we tried to come up with a plan on how we would form these chunks of clay into a track. Without a bulldozer to help break up the large chunks of clay we used trial and error to come up with a system that would work. In the end, the new method of track building was to dump the clay into large piles, then beat it down with the bucket of the excavators. Once our pile was formed we would use the cutting edge of the excavator buckets like a knife, and cut the excess clay off the pile which would form our jumps. This left me reminiscing about my high school pottery class, only on a much larger scale. It did not take us long to figure out the the skidsteers were not nearly strong enough or heavy enough to carry out there normal task of putting the final clean-up on our oversized sculptures. Back to the drawing board. With rain in the forecast and the unfinished appearance of the track, I decided it would be best to use a track building secret that I learned from my buddy Brooksie and find a top dressing. I jumped in the truck with the dirt broker and we went on a scavenger hunt to find the right material. What we found would prove to be orange gold. The material was 70% sand 30% clay mix that would allow us to put the butter smooth finish on the track. Fianaly at 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning we completed the track. After all the pounding and sculpting of the clay, the extra time to lay a complete blanket of finishing material, and some track changes the Dream Traxx crew still came out on top. The never say die attitude of my crew is something I can’t begin to thank them for.
After the riders track walk there was some question to why there were not any whoops. With the nature of the clay and lack of a dozer, there was no way for us to build a safe and proper set of whoops. What we did build though, was a very tricky sand section that would allow you to make a serious time advantage if done correctly. Once practice got under way, our efforts were rewarded by all the positive feedback that we received from the riders. The top layer was mixing perfectly with the under-base and created a great surface material.
The last hurdle was the high percentage of rain, and mother nature did not let us down. Right before track maintenance, the rain began to fall. Here is where the top surface layer that we put down proved its worth. Because of the higher sand content in the material, it absorbed the rain like a sponge, and the orange color shined like gold to us.
All obstacles had been overcome and we had some great racing. It is challenges like these that leave you the proudest when you succeed. I can’t say enough about my crew this year and could not have done it without them. I am looking forward to my much needed week off. Then it is 2 rounds in New Zealand, before heading back to Australia for the final 2 races.