The two Ben’s got their training started early at the venue for next years Junior MX Champs. Converging on the sandy track near Foxton a day before what was to be a Broxy camp, my job was to give them the best prep for we could.
It turned out that braking bumps were what we had to master most- teaching them how to do it Mohammed Ali style.
We needed their arms bent while the bike was moving around. The way to do this, as always, is to get really low to the bike. But the whole concept of the bike moving around sparked some good questions from Graham. A little extra thinking was required to explain what kind of movement was acceptable.
I realized that gripping with the knees or ankles was what kept the bike stable without kicking your body around. Keeping your arms bent means that most of your upper body doesn’t get kicked around as much, saving energy and actually getting the wheels back on the ground sooner.
“Brakes Only Slow You Down”
Something we laugh at is the video where Ronnie Mac shows his bike with no front brake. Well there is some truth in brakes being detrimental to your speed- if you are talking about the rear brake. The more rear brake you use through braking bumps, the harder it is for your shock to soak up the bumps. This translates to a beating through braking bumps, so I find myself coming completely off the rear brake much of the time.
This was not an easy thing for the Ben’s to put into practice, but not only did it prove to give them a smoother ride, they were actually able to stop sooner because their wheels were on the ground more. Which leads on to the final point.
Using Power to Slow Down Quicker
There are times when you actually need to power through braking bumps. Not to accelerate, but rather to soften the hit because you won’t hit them as hard. Again the suspension can work better. It was especially noticeable through a nasty set of holes after the final step up. This took us a few goes but we eventually got them much smoother through those bumps, with impressive results.
Our time was well spent, and they were soon settled enough to rail through the soft corners better than ever. Sand riding is tough enough as it is, so we definitely don’t want to make it harder than it has to be.