Sliding Through Flat, Sandy Corners

Scott hails from West Jordan, Utah, where apparently, the local tracks suffer from some serious soil issues. Scott has been struggling with the dry and dusty conditions at his local track, and as he mentions in his email, is looking for some advice:

“I went to a local track the other day to go riding. The track set up was awesome, but the condition of the track wasn’t so great. The track was dry and dusty, and despite the water cannons and sprinkler system, it just never seemed to get any better. I was hoping you could do a Tuesday Tip to help me out.”

Well, Scott, it just so happens that a while back we did a pretty solid Tuesday Tip with Heath Voss (back when he rode for Yamaha) on handling the dreaded sandy, flat turn. So to try and help you out, we pulled it from the archives…

Voss cautioned us that practicing his technique of two-wheeled drifting can lead to many a swap-out or high-side while perfecting, but swears it’s the quickest way around once learned. We’ll let Heath take it from here…


“Of all the different types of turns, flat corners probably require the most setup to go fast through. If you perform the technique properly you can actually slide your rear wheel through, using the throttle to steer the bike more than the handlebars. Actually, it’s kind of the same principle used by the guys in rally racing, where the rear ends of their cars slide sideways through corners.

“Start by entering the turn with your butt as far forward on the seat as possible. You should be nearly sitting on the gas tank with your head up and looking forward. Keep your elbows up and in an even position. This will also help keep your weight transferred to the front of the bike.

“I leave both of my feet on the pegs, with more weight on the outside foot to help control the sliding.

1,2,3… DRIFT!

“Now for the tricky part; like the rally car I mentioned earlier, you start the turn by flicking the bars in the opposite direction that the turn is going (this is called counter steering). Doing this will force the bike to begin its slide.

“From here, the key is using smooth throttle control to slide the back end through the turn. With absolutely no brake dragging or clutch slipping, I start at about a quarter throttle position and slowly begin to open it up. As you slide, gradually pour on more and more throttle. By the end, my bike is pinned and going as fast as it can while my head is looking forward and scanning the track for the next obstacle. Be ready to make small adjustments to the bars throughout the corner to help control your slide, and be smooth!

“Corners like this are tricky, but the better throttle control you have the easier they are. Learning how to slide your back end around with the throttle rather than the brake is something that will help you not only in this situation but in many others encountered on the track.