It’s a day late, but some of us here at TWMX have been knocked down by the gnarly flu that’s been going around. That being said, here’s this week’s riding tip. Be sure to check back each week for more—and they will be on Tuesdays as long as the swine/chicken/bird flu doesn’t keep us down…
Mastering slick turns with Red Bull Honda Racing’s Andrew Short
Intro and photos by Brendan Lutes
Motocross tracks can be tough to navigate sometimes. On a good challenging racetrack, there’s everything from big jumps to sweeping turns to sandy straights to whoops to slippery hardpacked corners. For the latter it takes a bit of finesse, stabbing the throttle and locking up the brakes just aren’t going to cut it when trying to go fast on hardpack. It takes impeccable technique and a smooth throttle hand to carry speed. In a sense, it’s better to slow down in order to go fast. To get a few pointers on how to do just that, we cornered Red Bull Honda Racing’s Andrew Short to pick his brain about these often-misunderstood sections of track. Take it away, Andrew!
1 – THE TRANSITION: I think the biggest thing in the entrance is making the transition from standing to sitting. Right before this photo was taken, I had just made the transition from standing to sitting. As you sit down, you want to make sure to be looking where you’re going, which is very important, because you will actually find that you will naturally go in that direction.
2 – WEIGHT THE OUTSIDE: As you’re making the transition from standing to sitting, you want to transfer your weight to the outside of the seat and outside footpeg by hanging your buttcheek off the outside of your seat. By doing that, you will be putting pressure on the outside of the rear tire, making it squat and get more traction. You also want to make sure that you do this all in one seamless motion to make it go smoothly.
3 – ELBOWS UP: In the turn, it’s very important to keep your elbows up. By doing that, you’re going to have a hand position that will also apply weight to the outside of the bike, and by keeping your elbows up, you will also have more stability to keep control of the bike. For maximum control, you want to keep your elbows up and inside leg out for balance and to dab on the ground if needed.
4 – SMOOTH THROTTLE: If it’s slippery, you want to be sure to roll the throttle on and be very smooth with no clutch. If you use the clutch to accelerate too quickly or stab the throttle, the back end will probably step out and cause you to lose drive through the turn and cost a lot of unnecessary energy.
5 – THE RIGHT GEAR: You need to be in the highest gear possible, because if you’re in a lower gear and at a higher rpm, there is going to be more force on the rear wheel and it’s going to want to break loose. You can almost get away with not being on the gas as much, in a higher gear, and keeping up your momentum, rolling the throttle on when needed. This will help the bike keep traction and help you to go faster through the turn. Gear choice is critical.