There is nothing like a bootcamp with everybody on basically the same level. With no mucking around we got straight into one of the “Holy grails” of mx- entering and exiting a corner faster. Read on for the scoop.
“Here is a multi-choice question for you. The options are A, B, or C. There is no D. saying All of the Above. You have to choose one.
“Which if these things should you be mostly trying to do in the first half of a corner;
I thought the question was pretty clear and straight forward. Most people who do not race dirt bikes would probably have no trouble identifying the answer as B. Unfortunately there is so much confusion regarding the concept I was trying to put forward that not one of them got the answer right!
There is such a strong mindset that if you aren’t powering hard or braking hard then you are coasting. If we only ever raced something like the Red Bull Straight Rhythm, then they might be right, but in almost every other form of dirt bikes there is something called cornering that seems to get missed.
The point I was trying to get across is one of purity. I thought males would have understood this concept, because we are generally only very good at doing one thing at a time. If you want to brake really hard, then it is obvious that you don’t want to be powering hard at the same time or vice versa. The fact is- we need to turn corners as well. So why is it so hard to understand that you can’t mix hard braking or powering with hard turning?
Fear and Desire
A part of the problem comes from the fact that it is less scary to start turning a little the moment you start braking. Then we get keen, and want to get hard on the gas before the important part of our turn is done. What all of this does is a double whammy that kills our ability to any of those those things very well.
Back to the track. Once I had established the theory of separating those three things into more focused sections, then I demonstrated on a fast sweeper. I powered later than they had been, then braked harder because I wasn’t turning much yet. Then, a little deeper into the corner than they had been starting to turn, I suddenly let mostly off the brakes and leaned right over to get some hard turn happening. Soon after that I could start a small amount of power to finish the turn off, which then allowed me to power hard because my turn was now mostly over. Accuse me of over complicating things if you like, but in my mind I am actually simplifying. I am trying to separate the three stages out so each stage can be more effective.
Is it scary? Yes! But it is not a dangerous kind of scary because if you truly separate everything out, the only risk you take is the transition from hard braking to hard turning, and if you do lean too hard into the turn then your wipeout should not be a painful one. Yet the gains are massive, which is why I call this a “Good” risk. Just keep in mind to keep the weight off the front wheel for the hardest turning phase by standing low to the bike or sitting with your bum forward and upper body back. Only putting your inside leg out during that turning period and not earlier or later also helps, as does having the ball of your foot on the outside foot peg so you can push hard on that peg as you exit the corner to stabilise that rear wheel.
My bootcampers definitely stepped up a level or three in their intensity and speed. Their lap times shot up at the same time, barely even having any close calls, let alone any wipeouts. On the one hand it is the hardest thing to do, but on the other, it is just so simple.