When Tim Gajser passed Evgeny Bobryshev at the Matterly Basin a while ago, he basically blew him away. It was a masterful combination of a series of well executed tricks that I can’t help but break down. You can see it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEkLPybRQU0
He took advantage of the defensive riding by Evgeny to set up extra wide before three turns in a row, two of these before his pass and the third directly afterwards.
The first two times enabled him to get his turn done early enough that he could square the corner off. That meant he could straighten up early and really lay down the power, but it also meant that he travelled less distance through those two turns. How much ground this gains is especially easy to see on a GPS unit like a LitPro.
While passing Evgeny you can see Tim looking across to make sure that the pass was made, then he cuts across to use the next berm from its very beginning. In this case he rails it the whole way around instead of squaring up; because he could. Setting up wide and getting the worst of the turn completed early gave him that option.
More than a Scrub
Only a small percentage of riders could achieve a scrub of that proportion during a race, so it is a good thing that there was much more to his pass than just that. He also cranked it over on the two jumps before his pass to great effect, but the biggest benefit came from landing far enough on both jumps that he didn’t bounce.
Like an extreme athlete landing nicely on a halfpipe, Tim was able to crank through the dip after both jumps at full acceleration because he jumped a little further. He also landed with his head past the handlebars. He didn’t need extra traction, he just wanted to lay down maximum power.
It is hard to tell from here but I also wonder if his initial power when landing was softer than a moment later. Bursting hard on landing can add to a bounce which then requires easing off the throttle for a moment. Tim is definitely accelerating hard during the transition between bumps, something that many people miss because they got too keen on their initial landing.
Keep in Touch
On the replay you can hear Jeff Emig commenting that Tim was already hard on the throttle when entering the turn. He was able to start powering early because he leaned himself and the bike so far into the shallow berm, but part of the reason he could do that was during the time his front wheel was in touch with the ground through the braking bumps.
Using some front brake to keep it in line, he could pick his moment of leaning to line up with a good part of the berm and was already leaning right over when he got there. Instead of slowing down as much as Evgeny he was able to keep more momentum because of the lean that he was confident enough to achieve.
Another point is that he kept his inside leg from touching the ground. There isn’t even a little stab. That is the natural reaction of most riders when we lean further than usual into a turn, yet we are usually better off to not touch the ground and simply get on the gas harder instead. No question about it, this is scary, but it is the safest way to go a lot faster.
He also threw up some roost in the berm, but probably not from early power or rear brake like many would think. The extreme turning forces would have done that, and I would guess that he did not power all that hard when first hitting the turn. Like I mentioned earlier in how he landed, a smaller initial turn of the throttle will avoid any bouncing which will quickly lead to getting the gas to full and keeping it on.
There is more to going fast that late braking, early power and scrubs. Using things like front brake for confidence to lean right in to a turn and limiting your initial turn of the throttle will give a dirt bike rider of any type more potential to increase their speed and safety dramatically. Then it just takes practice time!