Tuesday Tip: 101 Pointers From the Pros Themselves, Part 2

Last week we started with the first half of 101 tips. This week we’ve got the remaining goods to add to your collection. If you missed the first half, click here.

  1. SIT DOWN FOR OFF CAMBERS
    “Unlike other turns, an off-camber corner requires you to sit down much earlier, so that both of your wheels can grab traction. Don’t attack; you must flow though these types of turns with a relaxed approach.” – Sebastien Tortelli
  2. BOTH FEET DOWN
    “On starts, I leave both feet down because I am less likely to lose my balance when I blast off the starting line. I also like to shift with the heel of my boot, but you should practice doing that before you do it in a race.” – Josh Hansen
  3. MENTALLY RIDE THE TRACK
    “After practice, or in between motos when you are relaxing and cooling down, close your eyes and ride laps around the track in your head. Think about the lines, the bumps and the jumps. It will keep you sharp.” – Brock Sellards
  4. SEAT BOUNCE FOR MORE HEIGHT
    “If there is a jump right after a tight corner, use the bike’s rear suspension to help pop you up higher. Stay seated in the center of the bike, lean back a little and be ready for the rebound of your bike’s shock to kick you straight up. This takes practice, and is an advanced technique.” – Ezra Lusk
  5. EAT RIGHT
    “I am not a big diet guy like some of my competitors, but from Thursday on I stay away from red meats. Instead, I eat a lot of chicken and pasta. Most of all, I drink a lot of water in the days before the race to get my body properly hydrated. You can’t just go and drink a ton of water the night before; it takes days.” – David Vuillemin
  6. SIGHTING LAP
    “I have seen riders unload their bikes, get on the track and ride wide open right from the start. Even if you are a total local at a track, this is a bad idea because there may be new obstacles or bumps that have formed since you were last there. Always take time to see all there is too see.” – Scott Sheak
  7. LOOK AT THE END OF THE RUT
    “Deep ruts in corners can be tricky, but one tip that is helpful is looking at the end of the rut. If you stare at the rut right in front of your front tire, you are more likely to lose your balance. Look at the end of the rut, or the exit of the corner, stay loose, and that is where you will go!” – Sean Hamblin
  8. STAY POSITIVE
    “Keeping a positive attitude is important on race day, even if the weather is bad or the track is crappy. They always say that everyone has to ride the same track, and it is true. Instead of dwelling on how much you hate the track, concentrate on what you can do to get around it quickly.” – Ricky Carmichael

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  1. INSIDE LEG
    “When you get your leg out in a turn, keep in mind that it is out there for balance, and just in case you need to take a dab. Don’t drag or slid your foot on the ground, because it wil cause you to lose your balance and increases your chances of spraining your ankle or blowing out your knee.” – Kevin Windham
  2. UPSHIFT FOR WHOOPS
    “You never want to be halfway through a set of whoops and have your bike run out of power or hit the rev limiter. I always upshift once or even twice before entering a set of tricky whoops that you can not jump through.” – Tim Ferry
  3. SLIDE THE FRONT BRAKE IN
    “I like to position my front brake master cylinder perch closer to the center of the handlebars. This gives me more leverage at the end of the lever. I also run my front brake lever higher than the clutch, because twisting the throttle often has your hand more horizontal.” – Grant Langston

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  1. PRACTICE CORNERS
    “Anyone who has seen me race outdoors knows that I make up most of my time in corners. Lots of riders spend lots of time practicing jumps because they are fun, but practicing corners is more practical. It’s not as fun or glamorous, but it will pay off on race day. Becoming comfortable and confident in the way your bike slides as you power out of a turn is important if you ever intend on getting aggressive in turns.” – Ricky Carmichael
  2. PRACTICE RESTARTS
    “If you ride a four-stroke and race, you should be comfortable with the starting procedure in case you stall it during a race. Lots of guys panic when they stall the engine during a race and they blow it. Stall on purpose a few times and figure out your own bike’s routine.” – Brock Sellards
  3. BRAKING ON JUMP FACES
    “If you are completely comfortable on a certain jump, you can actually fly lower and go faster by approaching it faster than normal, then braking hard on the face so that you still leave the jump with the same overall speed needed to clear the obstacle.” – Mike LaRocco
  4. WEIGHT THE OUTSIDE FOOTPEG
    “When cornering, make a conscious effort to weight the outside footpeg with your boot. This will help the bike get good traction, as well as help you get the bike leaned over to make a good directional change.” – Ryan Hughes
  5. WALK THE TRACK
    “If you have the opportunity, take the time to walk the track. At Nationals, I always walk the track after our Saturday practice sessions to check things out. You will be surprised at how much you see and the lines you will find.” – Michael Byrne
  6. WATCH YOUR OPPONENT’S GATE PIN
    “At the start of a race, never watch your own starting gate, because it is the last thing to move when the starter pushes the release lever. Instead, focus on the little pin that holds the gate next to you up because that is the first thing to move.” – Nathan Ramsey
  7. GRIP THE BIKE
    “You should always grip the bike, whether it is with your knees or lower legs. To see how hard you should grip your bike, put it on the stand, grip it with your legs and lean back without your hands on the grips. You should always squeeze hard enough to hold yourself up without your hands.” – Jeff Emig
  8. THERE’S NO TRACTION IN THE AIR
    “It’s an old saying, but it is totally true. It pays to get back on the ground and on the gas when clearing another obstacle is not required. Jumping really far just for the sake of catching air is actually slower.” – Mike LaRocco
  9. PRACTICE STARTS
    “Practice starts every time you ride. If you are racing, get out on the starting area and do three or four practice starts there, too, because every start is different.” – Michael Craig
  10. FEED THE POWER
    “A common mistake that riders make is cracking the throttle wide open as they exit corners. Rolling the throttle on smoothly will provide more consistent traction, less wheel spin and require much less energy.” – Tim Ferry
  11. RIDE THE BALLS OF YOUR FEET
    “A lot of boots nowadays have replaceable arches, but that’s not where you should be standing, anyway. Try to ride on the balls of your feet. That allows your ankles to work with the suspension.” – Jeff Emig
  12. FRONT BRAKE RUT SAVER
    “Sometimes, if you come into a rutted corner too hot and aren’t lined up perfectly, you can tap your front brake to help keep your front wheel from riding up the sides and out of the rut.” – Mike LaRocco
  13. STAND UP
    “I see a lot of novice riders sitting down way too much. You should always try to stand as much as you can: sit down at the last second when entering corners and stand up as soon as you can when exiting them. When you stand, you can use your legs as additional suspension.” – Ryan Hughes

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  1. ONE-FINGERED CLUTCH
    “Some riders say that using only one finger on the clutch helps you be smoother with the clutch, but personally, I switched to one finger is because it gives me one more finger on the grip, holding on. Having three fingers and your thumb gripping the left grip is a lot more secure than two fingers and your thumb. I like to use my middle finger, but some riders use their index finger. It’s all what you’re comfortable with.” – Ricky Carmichael
  2. WEIGHT THE REAR IN SOFT STUFF
    “In contrast to the way you ride hard-pack terrain, sandy, loose tracks require you to lean back and steer with the throttle. If you get too far forward in sand, the front end will knife and tuck out from under you. Lean back and gas it hard to corner in the soft stuff.” – John Dowd
  3. LET THE BIKE PULL YOUR FEET
    “Instead of hanging off your bike and letting it pull you by your arms, lean forward and grip your bike with your thighs, knees and lower legs. Your legs are much stronger than your arms, and riding like this will help you conserve energy.” – Erik Kehoe
  4. DON’T OVERREV YOUR BIKE
    “Some people think that you need to overrev your 125 to go fast, but it is more important to keep the engine in the meat of the powerband. When you overrev your engine, it puts a bind on the chain and rear suspension, and doesn’t allow the shock to work properly.” – Michael Byrne

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  1. BRACE YOURSELF
    “When you get on the brakes hard for a corner, there is a right and a wrong way to do it. Just like when you accelerate out of a corner, you want your tires to get the most traction possible. Brace your upper body behind the handlebars when you get on the brakes, and squeeze with your lower legs and force the bike into the ground. If you just slam on the brakes and don’t help the bike get stopping traction, you’ll just slide or skid into the corner.” – Tim Ferry
  2. USE THE RUT
    “A lot of riders hate ruts, but you have to love them. A rut is a traction tool, and it can allow you to rail a corner faster than if it were flat. Get your inside leg up and out of the way—dragging your foot is the worst thing you can do. Use the rut to accelerate hard out of the corner, because it will keep your rear wheel from sliding out.” – Jeff Emig
  3. WORRY ABOUT THE WHOLE TRACK
    “Lots of amateurs show up and worry about one big jump. They spend all morning concentrating on clearing the one big jump and don’t concentrate enough on the rest of the course. Entering and exiting corners properly is more important than one darn jump.” – Brock Sellards
  4. INSTANT STOPPING POWER
    “I like to run both my rear brake pedal and front brake levers. Rolling the throttle on smoothly will provide more consistent traction, less wheel spin and require much less energy.” – Tim Ferry
  5. RIDE THE BALLS OF YOUR FEET
    “A lot of boots nowadays have replaceable arches, but that’s not where you should be standing, anyway. Try to ride on the balls of your feet. That allows your ankles to work with the suspension.” – Jeff Emig
  6. FRONT BRAKE RUT SAVER
    “Sometimes, if you come into a rutted corner too hot and aren’t lined up perfectly, you can tap your front brake to help keep your front wheel from riding up the sides and out of the rut.” – Mike LaRocco
  7. STAND UP
    “I see a lot of novice riders sitting down way too much. You should always try to stand as much as you can: sit down at the last second when entering corners and stand up as soon as you can when exiting them. When you stand, you can use your legs as additional suspension.” – Ryan Hughes

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  1. ONE-FINGERED CLUTCH
    “Some riders say that using only one finger on the clutch helps you be smoother with the clutch, but personally, I switched to one finger is because it gives me one more finger on the grip, holding on. Having three fingers and your thumb gripping the left grip is a lot more secure than two fingers and your thumb. I like to use my middle finger, but some riders use their index finger. It’s all what you’re comfortable with.” – Ricky Carmichael
  2. WEIGHT THE REAR IN SOFT STUFF
    “In contrast to the way you ride hard-pack terrain, sandy, loose tracks require you to lean back and steer with the throttle. If you get too far forward in sand, the front end will knife and tuck out from under you. Lean back and gas it hard to corner in the soft stuff.” – John Dowd
  3. LET THE BIKE PULL YOUR FEET
    “Instead of hanging off your bike and letting it pull you by your arms, lean forward and grip your bike with your thighs, knees and lower legs. Your legs are much stronger than your arms, and riding like this will help you conserve energy.” – Erik Kehoe
  4. DON’T OVERREV YOUR BIKE
    “Some people think that you need to overrev your 125 to go fast, but it is more important to keep the engine in the meat of the powerband. When you overrev your engine, it puts a bind on the chain and rear suspension, and doesn’t allow the shock to work properly.” – Michael Byrne

[IMAGE 4]

  1. BRACE YOURSELF
    “When you get on the brakes hard for a corner, there is a right and a wrong way to do it. Just like when you accelerate out of a corner, you want your tires to get the most traction possible. Brace your upper body behind the handlebars when you get on the brakes, and squeeze with your lower legs and force the bike into the ground. If you just slam on the brakes and don’t help the bike get stopping traction, you’ll just slide or skid into the corner.” – Tim Ferry
  2. USE THE RUT
    “A lot of riders hate ruts, but you have to love them. A rut is a traction tool, and it can allow you to rail a corner faster than if it were flat. Get your inside leg up and out of the way—dragging your foot is the worst thing you can do. Use the rut to accelerate hard out of the corner, because it will keep your rear wheel from sliding out.” – Jeff Emig
  3. WORRY ABOUT THE WHOLE TRACK
    “Lots of amateurs show up and worry about one big jump. They spend all morning concentrating on clearing the one big jump and don’t concentrate enough on the rest of the course. Entering and exiting corners properly is more important than one darn jump.” – Brock Sellards
  4. INSTANT STOPPING POWER
    “I like to run both my rear brake pedal and front brake lever with as little play as possible, so that I have instant stopping power. I prefer to run my pedal higher than the footpeg, so that I never drag it on accident.” – Mike LaRocco
  5. BODY ENGLISH IN HARD PACK
    “Going fast in hard-pack conditions requires way more rider input and body English. Stay forward to weight the front end when entering turns, and lean back when exiting. This will keep your front wheel clawing for traction going in, and the rear gripping the ground on the way out.” – Ryan Hughes
  6. TIGHT EYES
    “Even though it may feel less comfortable, make sure that you have your goggle strap nice and tight. Once you start to sweat, the foam will compress and if you don’t have the strap tight enough the goggles won’t seal against your face and this will let dirt and mud in.” – Matt Walker
  7. WATCH AND LEARN
    “When there is a tricky jump on a track, you can usually figure out how to do it, just by watching. Find someone of your similar ability who is jumping it, then listen to his engine to figure out how much gas to give it. Watch his body English to see how the lip of the jump throws him. If you can swallow your pride enough to ask for advice, do it!” – Scott Sheak

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  1. ATTACK DOWNHILLS
    “I know it’s scary, but try to attack downhills as if they were normal straights. Ride a gear higher and try to wheelie over some of the braking bumps on the way down, and brace yourself for the bumps at the bottom. If I know that a big downhill is coming, I take a deep breathe at the top and relax my grip on the bars.” – Tim Ferry
  2. FLOW THROUGH CORNERS
    “If you can, try to flow through the corners, rather than racing in hard, slamming on the brakes, then having to build your momentum back up. Sometimes, if you charge into the corner a little slower, you can flow through it and actually carry more momentum out of it.” – Michael Byrne
  3. BE AGGRESSIVE
    “In a race, the first few laps are critical if you want to do well. In the beginning stages of a race—especially if you have gotten a bad start—the majority of your passes can be made. Don’t follow those ahead of you, or wait for an opening; make things happen!” – Grant Langston
  4. ONE FINGER CLUTCH CONTROL
    “Using just one finger on the clutch is better than two because it allows you to disengage and engage the clutch more smoothly. When you use more than one finger, the action tends to be more jerky and less fluid.” – Jeff Emig
  5. ATTACK DOWNHILLS
    “It can be scary, but attack steep downhills as if they were flat straightaways. Ride a higher gear than normal, so you have some power on tap to gas it over bumps. It also helps to take a deep breath and loosen your grip just before you start to descend.” – Mike LaRocco
  6. FOCUS ON THE START
    “When I roll up to the starting line, I don’t think about anything else but getting a great start. I think about how I will release the clutch when the gate drops and I think about my shift before the first corner. Getting the holeshot requires focus.” – Michael Byrne
  7. MIND GAMES
    “It doesn’t work that well at the professional level, but amateurs can oftentimes be forced into making a mistake if the rider behind him screams or revs his engine when entering corners. Braking someone’s concentration can have positive effects for the pursuer.” – Grant Langston
  8. PREJUMP
    “On rough outdoor tracks, the faces of the jumps will often get chewed up from riders blipping the throttle. Find a small bump on the face to use as a prejump, and clear the kicker at the top of the lip. Hit the jump with your legs locked, and ‘bunnyhop’ off the jum