With the Outdoor Nationals behind us, riders are busy getting ready to hit the Supercross track once again, and a select few will have the chance to race on a Supercross-style track this weekend at the Jeremy McGrath Invitational. We ran into Eric Sorby today as he was preparing for the JMI with some practice time on the Supercross track at Competitive Edge MX Park.
As we looked over the track this morning we were quickly reminded just how different an SX course is compared to the long, high-speed circuits of the Nationals; and without a doubt, one of the uniquely challenging features of these technical tracks is the whoops. Supercross-style whoops tend to be peaked, tall and closely spaced together, making them especially intimidating to conquer at high speed. Sorby even admitted to sometimes feeling a little bit scared when staring down a long run of whoops, although he didn’t show it as he blitzed through them. There were several pros at the track getting in some practice time today, and Eric was definitely one of the faster guys through the whoops.
Although these whoops out at Comp Edge are certainly not as big as those typically seen at Anaheim and the other AMA Supercross races, they are certainlly still tough to get through. We asked Eric to give us a few pointers on how to conquer this challenging trademark feature of Supercross-style tracks…
1. Bike Setup Comes First
“I’m pretty short, so I make sure to have my sub-frame 10mm short and my foot pegs raised 5mm higher than normal, explained Sorby. “Making sure you have your bike setup is the first thing, he went on to say.
Of course, another major consideration regarding bike setup as it relates to whoops, is your suspension. It is crucial to have your suspension dialed in for your body weight and type, and the type of riding you are doing.
2. Kick it Up a Gear
“When you go through the whoops, you always have to run one gear higher than normal, said Eric as he emphasized the importance of hitting the whoops with enough speed.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Gas It
“You have to go fast at the beginning. If you go through the first four or five whoops really fast, you can almost cruise through the rest. Most new riders will start out slow at the beginning and try to go faster, and that won’t work.
4. Use Your Legs
Sorby also stressed the importance of positioning and using your body correctly. “You have to use your legs to squeeze the bike really tight, he told us. “You should be in the back-middle of the bike. Not too far forward, or you will lose control and start to swap, explained Eric when describing where your body should be on the bike.
As many of us know, the hardest part of getting through whoops is just having the nerve to get on the gas and stay on it. Hopefully with these tips from Eric Sorby you will be ready to conquer a tough set of whoops at your local Supercross-style track.