Of all the types of corners, rutted ones are perhaps the trickiest and toughest to master. Throw in slippery, sloppy conditions, and ruts become even more difficult: mud ruts are always deeper, stickier, and more inconsistent than ruts that form in drier dirt.
Rainfall in Southern California not only dampened the race conditions at the Anaheim 1 Supercross Series opener last year, but the precipitation wreaked havoc on the dozens of local motocross tracks, as well. This particular corner is at Starwest Motocross Park, a Supercross-style track in Moreno Valley, California, and what made this rut extra tricky was the fact that it was in what is normally a nice, bowled corner. That being said, the rut was not carved straight into the track, but rather into the sides of the berm, making it more like a nine-and-three-o’clock affair instead of a traditional 12-and-6-o’clock rut. While most riders at the track struggled to make it through the foot-deep rut, Trey Canard ripped through it with ease, nearly dragging his Renthal grip.
1) “You always want to look ahead when you are riding, but this is especially important in a rutted corner. If you look down at your front fender, at the rut right in front of you or somewhere else that you don’t want to be, chances are good that you’ll end up either riding out of the rut or losing your balance. In this photo I am less than halfway through the rut, but I am already focusing on the jump that lies on the exit.”
2) “Keeping your outside elbow up helps you lean the bike over into the rut, and it also helps lean your upper body into the corner. The sharper the apex of the corner, the further you will have to get the bike leaned over.”
3) “I like to ride through ruts like this in the mat of the powerband: not all revved out, but not lugging, either. Keep a finger on the clutch in case you need to get the rpms and power up, but try to roll the throttle on smoothly to maintain the best control.”
4) “Weight the outside footpeg to help keep your bike clawing for traction. Get your boot up on the peg and ride on the balls of your feet. You don’t want your toes to get caught in the sides of the rut, especially if it is a deep one like this.”
5) “Getting your inside leg up and out of the way it crucial because if you drag your boot in the mud you will either get ripped off the back of the bike, or lose your balance and momentum. I stay centrally located on the seat, with my upper body leaned slightly forward to help the front end get traction.”
6) “My finger is not on the front brake lever because I was really feelin’ it when this shot was taken, but you can always drag the front brake a little to help keep your front wheel tracking inside the rut.”