Andrew Short Shows Off His Flat Turn Technique
Luckily for us, most turns feature either a berm or a rut to allow for optimum traction and exiting speed. Berms and ruts help the rider stay straight in his or her line, all the while keeping the rear wheel from skipping around when the throttle is applied. So what do you do when there’s neither available, rendering the corner completely flat and slippery? Well, if you’re the typical goon at Lake Elsinore MX Park, you slide around uncontrollably, swapping from one side to the other until you’re out of the corner and halfway down the next straightaway.
However, if you’re Team Honda’s newest factory rider Andrew Short, you use calculated weight placement techniques and a smooth throttle application to keep you and your bike slightly sliding around the flat turn like a professional speedway rider. We caught up with “Too Short recently to find out exactly how he does it, and he was more than happy to save us from our lame-duck, flat-corner tank slaps. Take it away, Shorty…
THROW YOUR WEIGHT AROUND
“Flat turns are tough because there is nothing for your bike to hook up on. To deal with this, you need to alter your weight placement, especially on your outside footpeg and handlebars.
“When I come into this quick 180-degree turn, I downshift and brake hard. This is important for two reasons; the first being that if you are trying to go fast, you never want to be coasting—you should always be on the gas or on the brakes. The other reason for the hard downshift and braking is to break the rear end loose to start a small slide.
“As you begin to slide and start the turn, concentrate on weighting your outside footpeg and the outside edge of your seat. Also, keep both elbows up to prevent your front end from sliding around. All of this will help keep the weight better distributed on your tires for maximum traction, which is exactly what you need in corners like this. Be ready for the bike to slide back and forth, because it will!
EASY ON THE GAS
“Once you’ve mastered the technique of weight placement, the next step is to perfect your throttle and clutch application. What you don’t want to do is be stuck in a low gear. After you’ve shifted down to slow yourself going in, start your upshifting immediately so you are at a low rpm for the exit—if you are high in the powerband, you’ll spin. While weighting the outside peg, keep your inside leg out for balance and be ready to use it to catch yourself if you start falling over.
“If you need to, use your clutch a little to control the rear end while sliding, but don’t stab it too much, or once again you’ll spin out. Also, don’t forget to apply the throttle very smoothly; if you let off the power suddenly, your back tire will come back in on you, causing you to swap out and crash.