There is a special place in my heart for Supercross. I’ve always loved watching and racing it, so I was plenty excited when I was told that Southland hotshot Flynn Roskam was going to be doing both the Winton and Auckland Supercross events, especially seeing as I had the opportunity to coach him just before both.
He wasn’t saying much, having just come off a training day at the Winton SX track just the night before. I needed to cut straight to the chase and show him the gold that I thought would help him the most on those sharp lumps of dirt that the bigger riders call jumps.
He knew how to whip, so it didn’t take long to get him soaking the sharp points of the jumps by leaning bike and body over for a moment when almost leaving the ground and then straightening up again straight away. He had the timing and movement sorted, I just needed to get him doing it both ways.
I also needed to make sure that he wasn’t blipping the throttle in order to flick the rear wheel outwards. People really love doing that, but it just means they land sideways. In our situation it was the concern that his front wheel would drop that kept him powering off the upramp of any jump that wasn’t a step up. To counter this we needed to show that he was able to get his weight down and back instead of straight down. It took a while but really helped his speed once we got it.
This one can be harder because it doesn’t look as cool, yet gets the job done just as well. The movement is to drop your body straight down towards the bike, ending up with your upper chest often hitting the handlebars and bum almost hitting the seat. Something that can often catch people out here is the need to allow your knees to come forward at that moment to avoid moving your weight back, and then forcing your knees back again a moment later to recover.
What took the longest time with Flynn wasn’t the movement, it was the timing. He naturally wanted to soak while in the air, but I needed him to already be at his lowest as he got into the air. Fortunately I had been leant a CRF250RX so I could ride alongside and get him soaking early enough to really get the bike down.
The final challenge was to do both things at the same time. This is the ultimate in speed over sharp bumps, getting the wheels back on the ground much more quickly than your momentum would otherwise allow. It looks amazing though, and after this it was obvious that Flynn was on board because he got much more animated and into it. Yes, it is an advanced skill, but is something that almost anyone could learn, to great effect.