Tuesday Tip: The Bubba Scrub

Intro and photos» Garth Milan

If there’s one technique that every motocrosser on the planet wishes they could master, it has to be the art of scrubbing speed off of jumps like James Stewart. The originator and namesake of the Bubba Scrub, Stewart has virtually reinvented the art of keeping momentum and speed while in the air with his all-but-patented style of sideways jumping.

Staying low and flat are the staples of Stewart’s technique, and when done correctly the Bubba Scrub is the fastest way to fly, bar none. When we approached James to share advice with our readers on his Supercross and National Championship-winning technique, Bubba was understandably apprehensive about letting out his secret. After a few seconds of pondering, though, James decided that he wasn’t too worried about letting the cat out of the bag. “I’ll explain how to do it and it’ll probably sound easy enough, but they gotta actually do it on the track, and that’s hard! said James before he lent us his expertise. So here it is, the biggest secret in motocross—but like James said, knowing how to do it and actually doing it are two totally different things…

Getting Set Up

“To start with, I like to run my tires with a pressure that will let me slide around a little more than most people do. Experiment and test with different amounts of air in your tube until it feels right and you have a good combo of traction and sliding. Once you know your bike will slide off the face a little, hit the jump that you want to scrub at the opposite angle that you’re going to fly once airborne. If you’re going to lean the bike to the right in the air, approach the lip angling slightly toward the left.

The Snap

“Just before you leave the face, turn the front wheel back towards the right. This will cause your bike to whip back towards the direction you want to fly in the air. As you turn the front wheel, it will begin the slide or wash-out. This will feel really weird at first, but after you practice it for a while, you start to know just how far you can safely slide it out before crashing or losing control. Grip the bike hard with your knees and lower body, putting more emphasis and weight on the opposite side you’re scrubbing on. For example, if I’m scrubbing to the left, I put more weight on the right side of the bike to keep it stable. By flicking your bars the other way on takeoff, your bike will automatically straighten itself out in the air. Once you’re flying, just concentrate on landing straight and getting back on the gas. The Bubba Scrub is easiest done on a two-stroke, but as you saw at Glen Helen, it’s also possible on a four-stroke, too. Good luck and be careful; it ain’t as easy as it looks!