Nathan Ramsey has held a number of industry positions since retiring from the racing aspect of the sport, with his most recent coming as riding coach to both professional and amateur competitors. We see Ramsey nearly every week at either the test tracks that dot Southern California or at that weekend’s professional event, and took a moment to ask the talented rider about key areas where every rider could improve. “To narrow it down to few is a bit tough,” said Nate Dawg, “but if I have to pick I will say…”
Everything Begins With The Start
I think that sometimes, and I was guilty of it as a racer, we underestimate how much time to put in working on starts. You come to a lot of these tracks and it's really hard to get a good dirt composition or some moisture so that you can practice starts. But you have to actually want the holeshot. You can do perfect starts all day long, but if in the back of your mind you are thinking, "I don't think that I can stay up there, so why get it," you're not going to do well.
I believe that you need have confidence already and make the decisionYou have to think, "I don't care if I go backwards, because I want to get the start and have that opportunity so that I can see the pace." Maybe you can stick with it or learn something from it so that you get faster. But if you get nervous and a little rattled, at least you learned something. You have to say, "I'm going to go out there and go after the start." You have to do that and fight for every inch in the first laps of the race.
We try to do what we can with starts, because you don't want to do them at the beginning of the day because it's hard on the clutch. So we wait and try to find some moisture, maybe on the side of the track or even in the dry dirt. That way you are at least working on hitting your shifts and the release of the clutch. It's important to get it in, even when the track's not at its best.
Entry Speed Into A Corner
This one is tough, obviously as tracks get rougher, but you have to figure out how to free up your body and bike when coming into turns.
I see guys coming in with the brakes bound up or much too slow. Nine times out of ten, it's someone coming in too slow when the track is rougher, and they don't get the proper lean angle or the other details that go into a corner. You want to come in nice and free, that way you haven't bound up the brakes, and you can get the bike leaned over even in bumps.
Roll On The Throttle
A lot of people think the harder they are on the throttle, the better it is in a corner. But a lot of times that is not the case. It's best to get on the throttle earlier, but with an easy transition that creates traction.
Make The Most Of The Day
You come here with a purpose, execute the plan, and work on the little details as they come. I usually have a them for a week, which is what we focus on, and we add in the details as we go. I'd say that ninety-seven percent of the time track conditions aren't what you'd want, but the Nationals aren't beautiful either. While there is moisture there, the ruts are never consistent, and it takes a little more throttle control and setup. Out here (in the dry conditions), you are trying to create traction in a certain situation.