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What Dirt Bike Racing Teaches Us About Leadership in Business

In dirt bike racing, when the green flag drops, you go. As in business, once you take your first job or hire your first employee, you go.

Larry racing in Baja 1000In the video, Larry Janesky connects lessons from his 1,000 mile off-road dirt bike race on the California Peninsula in Mexico to business.

Consider riding on a new racetrack. Around each corner and over each hill will lie the unknown or hidden. You won’t know which way the track goes until you’re on top of the turns. You also won’t know if any obstacles lie ahead.

For these reasons you won’t know how fast you can go. And yet, being in a race, speed is of the essence.

People are counting on you. Sports fans who came to see a race expect to be entertained. Your team, who prepared your bike and your gear, are waiting at checkpoints ready to refuel, change tires, and repair damage.

In racing, you just have to go. Look ahead, handle obstacles as they come up, and adjust your speed to suit the situation.

Dirt Bike Racing and BusinessThis video excerpt is part of the Illuminations on Business and Leadership series. To get the entire set of 50 Illumination videos visit

Business is a Similar Scenario

When you do something you’ve never done before, you don’t know how it’s going to turn out. Nor do you know what the next step is.

Do you need to hire another person, invest in a new vehicle, add a new service, purchase more advertising, or extend your hours to weekends or evenings?

How does a business owner or leader know what to do?

As in racing, regardless of the obstacles and challenges, in business you need to go.

Work on the current step of bringing in new business and revenue. Study this step and measure the outcome. Then make your best educated guess as to what next step will improve your business and proceed.

Repeat this process. Notice the feedback you are receiving, adjust, and keep going.

Saying, “I’ve never done this before,” “I don’t know how it’s going to turn out,” or “I’m no good at this,” are not excuses. What you should say is, “I’m not good at this… yet.”

And then you get good at it by trying, doing it slowly, messing it up, and learning.

Larry likes to say, “Either you win, or you learn.” Make sure that one of those two things happen.


The video playing in the background is the documentary, “Into the Dust.” This movie follows Larry and his son Tanner as they race the Baja 1000 as father and son team. The movie has been viewed more than 1.2 million times on YouTube.

About the author

Richard Fencil

Richard Fencil lives in Guilford, Connecticut with his wife and three sons. He works for Basement Systems in Seymour, CT that specializes in basement waterproofing, crawl space moisture control, foundation repair, and basement finishing.

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