Tuesday Tip: Turning Point

Hitting Fast Jumps While Exiting Turns, with Michael Byrne

Intro And Photos By Garth Milan

Most jumps are hard enough on their own, but when you add variables like sharp corners on the takeoff or landing, things are bound to get a little scary, especially on an unfamiliar or new track layout. This is the exact scenario we ran into while riding recently at one of our favorite local tracks, Perris Raceway. To our surprise, the designers of the course had introduced a fairly long third gear step-up/tabletop combination as the finish line jump.

What made the obstacle so tough was not its length or the airtime associated with it, but instead the corner that made its exit literally on the lip of the new jump combo. Don¿t mistake us for total rookies; none of us are strangers to seat-bouncing jumps out of bowl turns, but this one was different. The problem lay in the speed required to hit the tricky section. The turn before the lip was a fast one, too fast to allow riders the luxury of sitting down and seat bouncing themselves over.

After a few unsuccessful and frustrating attempts at the gap, being the self-conscious editors that we are it was decided that we just couldn¿t show our faces at the local track anymore if we weren¿t even clearing the finish line jump. Luckily for us, Team Kawasaki/Chevy trucks rider Michael Byrne showed up just as we were pulling our hair out trying to learn the proper technique to launch over the obstacle. The TWMX staff immediately hit Byrner up for some advice, and the Aussie obliged by sharing his technique and restoring our dignity at the track. This is what Michael had to say¿

Throw Your Weight Around

¿This is a tricky little section because it¿s such a fast approach¿if you want to clear the jump, you need to be able to keep your speed through the preceding corner. Additionally, if you don¿t square the turn off enough before hitting the lip, you¿ll wind up in the fence next to the jump rather than on the landing because your bike will be thrown sideways into the air.

¿I come out of the whoops before the turn, making sure that my composure is restored and that I¿m not in a weird position on the bike. Once I know I¿m in correct position for the corner, I immediately start angling my bike towards the apex of the turn. As I hit the apex, I try to approach the jump as straight as possible, knowing that the straighter I am on the approach the less I¿ll have to turn in the air. To do this, I combine smooth throttle and clutch control with plenty of weight on the outside peg. This is very important to remember because it keeps your bike controlled and allows it to track straight towards the lip. I gradually accelerate to the ramp, knowing that too much throttle will cause me to spin uncontrollably and rob me of my speed, but not enough will keep me from making it all the way to the landing.¿

Air Time

¿Now that I¿ve gotten through the corner with plenty of speed, I hit the ramp with my body in the middle of the bike, my foot still applying pressure to the outside peg to keep the bike balanced. Depending on the track conditions, I make my choice to either sit or stand through the turn, but it&rsquoo;s normally quicker to stand. As I launch into the air I move my weight a little more towards the front, allowing me to suck up some momentum and stay low and fast.

“The bike will want to drift a little sideways in the air because the lip of the jump is so close to the exit of the turn and you¿re still completing the corner as you launch upwards, but as long as you make the turn at the apex and are back on the gas off the lip you¿ll be fine. Spotting your landing will also help you straighten out. While in the air, stay in the attack position and be aggressive, land on the gas and pass the guy in front of you in the next corner!