Skills – Going Long

Increasing Your Speed By Over-Clearing Obstacles, With Andrew Short

The standard rules of motocross dictate that riders should land on the downside of jump obstacles like doubles and tabletops. Coming up short can result in a major crash in the worst-case scenario, and at the very least will rob you of your forward momentum by inducing a nice big bounce down the backside. Over-clearing jumps can be just as bad, as the flat landings are normally too much for a foot’s worth of suspension to handle.

Sometimes, though, the rules must be broken. If the jump is in the middle of a fast section and it’s not too big, oftentimes the pros will soar past the intended landing and all the way to the flats on purpose, in order to keep their blazing speed intact. Of course, this approach does not work in all conditions (especially when the jump is bigger than a few feet tall or extremely steep), but in the right scenario, the technique factory Honda rider Andrew Short explains here can save you major time. Take it away, Shorty…

OVER THE TOP

“Small jumps like this little double on the Honda Supercross test track can slow your momentum a ton if you downside them like they were intended for. If you just stay on the gas and maintain the right body position, you can fly past the landing to the flats and carry much more speed into the approaching corner. If I were to land smoothly on the back of this little double here, I would be forced to coast or even brake off the face. This would slow me way down and allow people to pass me going into the turn.

FRONT END FIRST

“You’ll notice that I land with my front wheel first. This is not a coincidence; I land front tire first so my bike will absorb the landing better, settle faster, and allow me to get on the brakes sooner. The front brake is much more powerful than the rear, so this is crucial in order to make the fast-approaching corner. If I land rear wheel first, my forks will slap down instead of settling correctly.

ATTACK POSITION

“On this small set of doubles, I lean back a little more than normal because of the short, abrupt takeoff, and also because I want to land front wheel first. If I were leaning farther forward, it would result in my back end kicking me up and possibly sending me over the bars. When I touch down, I’m fairly neutral on the bike and in the attack position, ready to deal with the slightly harsher landing I will receive on the flat ground. I will immediately be on the brakes very hard, so I need to be standing and ready. Also, if I were to land on a braking bump or in a hole, I could handle it much better by being in this position.

“The last thing to remember before trying this technique is that the jump has to be on the small side for it to work effectively. A good rule of thumb is that if you are bottoming when landing, it’s probably too big, and you’ll be better off downsiding the back of the landing. “

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