BY SEAN HAMBLIN, INTRO AND PHOTOS BY GARTH MILAN
Flip through the pages of most motocross magazines, and in nearly every test photo you'll notice one similarity. Whether the rider is wearing a back canteen, a leather supermoto getup, or even toting along his colostomy bag in the airbox, nine times out of ten the tester will be going through a left-hand corner while getting the quintessential “beauty shot.”
There are two easy explanations for this phenomenon: the first being that the majority of people on this planet are right-handed, and having your stronger right hand on top controlling the bike feels more natural and comfortable. The second reason is a bit more obvious: because the rear brake resides on the right-hand side of the bike, when you're entering a right-hand corner your foot has no access to it, meaning that all braking must be done prior to entering. Once you've committed to the corner, you no longer have control of the bike via the rear brake.
With a little practice and the right technique, though, right hand corners can be tamed. This month factory Suzuki rider Sean Hamblin lent us his skills on the Suzuki test track in Corona. With plenty of top-five National finishes under his belt and one of the most promising futures in the sport, we figure that Ham-Bone needs no further introduction…
COMIN' IN HOT!
“In a right-hand corner like this, all of your braking must be done as late as possible to keep your speed up, but soon enough to still make the corner. Right-hand turns are harder because you don't have the brake to control your traction, so you have to slow down way ahead of time and have everything set up before the corner. That way, when you go around the corner you can use the power of the bike to make it tract, and in turn steer you. I let off of both of my brakes at the same time just before entering, and from here your throttle hand is now in control.”
KEEP YOUR MOMENTUM
“When you enter the corner, set up by scooting up near the front of the bike; this will allow your back end to pivot around the corner. Wherever you want to exit is where you should finally get on the gas. If you want to exit the corner sooner, get on the gas right away. If you want to exit it later, roll around the top for a second before dropping in and finally accelerating.
“The most important thing to remember in right-hand turns is never to stab the throttle or clutch. This will cause your bike to have uncontrollable traction that will screw you up for the next obstacle.
“In a big bowl turn like this one, you want to carry as much momentum as possible which means you will barely even use your clutch, if at all. I come in and roll around the corner smoothly, and when I'm ready I roll on the throttle and never stab the clutch. If I am touching it, it is to set up for a big jump or large set of whoops that are right out of the turn.”