Photos And Intro By Garth Milan
Every good track has bumps; that’s just a fact of life. How you handle these bumps depends on the situation, though. Some small bumps or whoops allow riders to pin the throttle, lean back, and simply skim or float over the tops of each bump. We like these. Others are a little more spaced apart and peaked, making rhythm jumping the quickest passage through them. These are nice, too.
The type we don’t like, however, are the scattered ones. Large, unevenly spaced whoops are the most energy sapping, suspension troubling, and just plain nastiest variety on the track. These types of bumps are often found on sand tracks, but can appear on any spot on a course that the builder was cruel enough to add them to.
The ones that Team Factory Connection/Chaparral/Honda rider Chris Gosselaar used to illustrate this article were found at Millville, and these babies are world famous; they even have their own monster. We’ll let Chris explain how he made it through without being accosted by the Millville Whoop Monster…
STAY BACK AND ATTACK
“Irregular whoops are really hard to keep a rhythm through, but I’m used to them—where I live in the desert, that’s all there is! The biggest trick to whoops like these is just to stay as far back as possible, with your knees and elbows bent and ready to soak up the bumps. You want to enter the section as far back as you can over the rear fender in order to keep your front end light and out of trouble.
“If you place your front end down in the wrong spot and you have all of your weight over it, you’re going down. In order to get my weight back and keep it there, I use a combination of throttle, clutch and body English. As I come in, I pin the throttle, give the bike some clutch at the same time, and get my butt over the back.
“Maybe even more important than keeping your weight back and throttle on is keeping you and your bike going straight. If you start swapping sideways in whoops like these, it’s really tough to make it out without going down. Even if you do make it through, you’re going to be twice as tired as when you entered them.
“Again, using the clutch and throttle correctly are essential to keeping the bike straight. Enter with the bike as vertical as possible; this will keep you from starting out sideways. Now, just react to each bump as it comes, handling each and every one of them with the same goal of staying straight and staying back. If you use your knees and elbows to help soak up the hits and keep your head pointed straight ahead and looking forward, you’ll be through them before you know it.