With all of the rain sweeping through Southern California lately, the only local tracks that were rideable for today’s tip were sand tracks because they absorbed all of the water. No matter; this gives us the perfect opportunity to discuss railing through soft, sandy turns. Our instructor this week is Frenchman Mattheiu Lalloz.
“Sand corners can be the easiest kinds of corners there are if you approach them right. Most amateur riders come into these types of turns way too slow, which in turn causes their front end to knife around and dart out all over the place.
“The correct way is to instead come in carrying as much momentum as you are comfortable with; this will keep your bike on top of the soft sand instead of dragging through it. I enter this corner standing up in the attack position, but you’ll notice that I’m a bit farther back towards the rear fender than normal; this is because of the sand, and you’ll find that throughout most parts of the track you’ll be much further back than you would on hard dirt.
“Once I’m committed to the corner, I make my transition to the seat, and at the same time that I sit down I also bring my inside foot off the peg, keeping it out for balance and stability. This is important, because like I said, in the sand you’ll have the tendency to wash out your front end. However, if you are ready for that to happen it won’t be a big deal. In fact, you can see here in this sequence that about midway through, I begin to change my line. When I do this, I barely dab my inside leg, but it’s enough to keep the bike in control and allow me to feel comfortable when my bike changes its course slightly.
“As I begin to exit, notice that I really start bringing my weight back a bunch more on the saddle. Once again, this is because I’m on sand and I need all of the weight on the rear end to keep me accelerating hard out of the loose turn. As I come out, I have also positioned myself a little more to the inside than the original line. This is common on sand tracks; as lines start to become blown out new lines like this form, so you must be ready to deal with these changes.
“So remember; keep your speed up, your inside leg out and ready for action, and your weight towards the back of the bike. Beyond that, don’t forget the usual stuff like keeping a finger on the clutch, your elbows out, and your head up.