Rutted faces add another dimension to the skills needed to get over jumps effectively. Picking the right rut, avoiding kickers, and making sure you’re lined up correctly for the jump are all elements you need to master.
Here are a few tips we nabbed from SoBe Suzuki ace Sean Hamblin.
Selecting a rut: “During the parade lap, I try to pick a rut and use that one for the whole race. I try not to wander away from it.
(If you don’t get an opportunity to do a parade lap, try to scout the good line in races prior to yours).
“I try to pick ruts that aren’t so deep that your feet or toes can drag, so it can’t buck you over the bars or get your back end squirrelly.”
Sticking with what you know: “I try to stay with the same rut that I picked in the first place. I don’t try to wander off and try other ones, because that one I know full well how it shoots me and I know it’s not going to kick me.”
When good ruts go bad: “If a rut starts to mess me up, I’ll wander six inches to the left or right and see if I can find one that works better for me. The other option is to try to go where there isn’t a rut at all, so that if one does start to form, I know it’s from me, and I know that it’s not going to have a kicker.”
Getting lined up: “It’s just like when you’re riding. You have to look ahead. As soon as you look up the face, you’re already up and over the jump.”
Focusing on where you want to go: “Always look ahead, and not side-to-side, otherwise you’re going to end up leaning and veering in that direction.”