There is a way of catching and passing other riders that will leave them frustrated and scratching their heads. The most mysterious thing about it is that you won’t be carrying any more cornerspeed than them and yet consistently making time. A perfect place to do this is the mini track at Taupo, and is a something that anyone can do.
This skill did take a little prep work so we practiced some braking. Levi needed to start using his rear brake because we had mainly focused on front brake up until that point, which had helped him avoid too much brake sliding, but it was now time to go the whole hog. Mitchell needed work on both, but it was a massive confidence builder.
On the one hand I wanted them to attack their braking points, but they also needed the control that a small amount of braking offers when in the turn itself. Next we got them to blast through a succession of berms to get comfortable with that kind of braking.
Next we stopped and went for a walk. I needed them to step out the distance travelled around their normal line through a turn. I counted 19 steps. Then we took a lower line through the berm. This time I counted 16 steps, which is where the magic comes from because that is the kind of gap they might make up.
There are two reasons why the lower line can work so well through these corners;
- The berms are basically the same angle from bottom to top
- There is not a long straight after either turn
The second reason helps just in case the lower line means you can’t carry quite as much speed. Fortunately we didn’t have to worry about that because Levi and Mitchell were soon attacking the inside line with plenty of speed.
Next time you watch an AMA Supercross, take notice of these kind of berms where the angle is basically the same from bottom to top. It is weird to see some riders taking the lower line and consistently catching a bike length on their competition. It is not easy, but something that you can master if you practice it. The bonus is when you can turn that practice into a pass on your stiffest competition.