Never Blow Out Tricky Right-Handers Again With Michael Byrne’s Speed-Scrubbing Secrets
Intro and Photos: Garth Milan
What do you get when you add the two trickiest braking situations together? Well, in the case of tight right-hand hairpin corners with jump landings immediately before them, you get a lot of blown-out turns without the proper technique.
For starters, braking into right-hand corners is never an easy task, because you aren’t able to take your right foot off of the peg for balance until after you have completed your braking (for obvious reasons). But adding a jump landing right before the corner heightens the degree of difficulty to a much higher level due to the extra speed carried from the jump—don’t forget, there is no braking done in the air!
Lucky for us, Team Kawasaki’s Michael Byrne has a little trick up his sleeve. By coming up short and thus scrubbing speed on the landing of the jump prior to the turn, Byrner is able to relinquish enough forward momentum from his approach to slide smoothly into the fast-approaching corner rather than blow it out. Pay attention and stay out of the cheap seats…
Keep Your Spoke Wrench Handy
“It probably sounds a little weird, but I actually case the jump before that right-hander just a little bit to scrub speed from my approach. It makes it much easier to slow down if you clip the landing just a tad, and with the track here being as slippery as it is, I don’t think I would even make the corner without doing it. I’m not talking about a full-on case-out, just hitting both tires on the top of the landing rather than going all the way over the backside.
“When you hit the upside or flat part of a landing, it’s going to be a little harsh, so hold on tight! Actually, squeeze hard with your knees while at the same time staying strong in the shoulders, and this should be enough to brace you for the impact.”
Now Brake, And Brake Hard!
“With this corner being so close to the landing of the small triple that I am jumping before it, there is not much time to brake, especially if you are going fast. To slow down quickly, I land with both brakes on very hard, with an emphasis on the front brake, because it has the majority of the stopping power. I continue gripping the bike hard with my knees to prevent it from sliding around, and also continue using my rear brake until the last second that I begin my pivot.
“In one motion, I get off the brake, sit down on the seat, and swing the bike around hard with my body. Using my throttle, I also swing the back end around to complete the turn, then use strong and smooth throttle control while exiting. Keep your head up and over the bars, and look around the corner and into the next section as soon as you can, because when your head looks in that direction, the rest of your body (and bike) will follow.”
To see an animation of the photos in this sequence, click the video link in the right-hand column.