Tuesday Tip: Talledaga Tango!

Two-Wheel Drifting Through Long, Fast Turns with Sean Hamblin

Intro and Photos by Garth Milan

Turns on motocross tracks are often deceiving. For instance, slow, rutted corners appear much more difficult to rail through than long, sweeping ones without grooves because of the intimidation factor associated with the ruts. However, fast and sweeping turns are sometimes actually tougher to keep pace in and require a completely different method of riding altogether due to their lack of traction and banking—there’s nothing to “lay your bike into. The high amount of speed doesn’t help matters, either, making these corners even more scary and intimidating due to the sheer velocity being achieved.

Never is this rule truer than on turns like the one Sean Hamblin is shredding through in the accompanying photos. The size and length of this elongated berm made it tough enough to go fast through, but consider that the turn is nowhere near banked enough to lock into and is slipperier than a banana peel and things really start to get tough! With no ruts or loam to depend on, Hamblin was forced to make use of his throttle, clutch, and body positioning to go ridiculously fast through this normally awkward and slow turn. Pay attention; even if you don’t take corners like Sean does yet, by studying his technique someday you too might be doing a little two-wheel drifting of your own…


“I enter this corner on the gas, going fast from the long straightaway before it. As I come in, I realize that there’s not much traction here and nothing to lay the bike into, so I need to be ready to lose traction; it’s inevitable. To prepare I get my lower body in the center of the seat and put my head and shoulders slightly over the front of the bike. This way I can pivot the bike around my head and shoulders and use them as a center balancing point. I drop the bike over slightly and start leaning into it, but at the same time I put pressure on the outside peg to keep things balanced.


“The key to going fast through this turn is to downshift quick enough to get your rear end to slightly break loose, kind of like the Super Moto guys do when they enter corners. I give the bike two quick downshifts, letting the clutch out fast and keeping the bike at high rpm. Combined with the leaning I’m already doing, this starts my two-wheeled slide. You basically have to create your own traction through balancing the bike once it starts sliding, but after a few times practicing this it becomes much easier. Remember to use your legs when steering—this always helps.


“I always keep one finger on the clutch just in case the back end starts to break loose or I suddenly need more power, and beyond that I am very careful with throttle application. Ease it on; don’t just pin it, or you’ll wind up doing a big donut halfway through. I also like to get low on the bike, and while I’m getting on the gas I make sure to stay balanced and centered so I can react to traction changes.