Welcome to the new Answer Racing Moto Tips feature! Answer Racing has been producing the highest-quality motocross and off-road gear since 1976, and this month launched its new line of 2020 apparel. With riders like Alex Martin, Kyle Peters, Ryan Villopoto, Nick Wey, and Mike Sleeter flying the Answer flag, there is a wealth of knowledge and know-how when it comes to riding a dirt bike efficiently and effectively in the Answer camp. Each week, Answer will bring you some riding tip to help you become better at the sport you love! Have a specific skill you’d like to improve? Comment below and we will cover it in a future post!
Somewhere during the two-stroke to four-stroke transition, the art of maintaining momentum around the track lost its importance. We know just as well as anyone that it’s a thrill to bury a bike in a turn and hammer the throttle at exit but doing that in every section would wear on one’s energy and destroy the track. And why make getting a fast lap any harder than it already is?! With this in mind, we asked Mike Sleeter to explain the ins and outs of carrying speed from one section of the track to the next. Take it away, Sleet…
This was a sweeping left turn, so I started my braking early and planned where I wanted to go. As I entered I applied the front brake very gradually and smooth, then released the rear brake, started to lean over with my outside leg tight against the bike and the ball of my foot on the peg, and rolled on the throttle. That got the rear tire rolled over on its side so that it hooked up.
I had my head and eyes pointed forward and put weight on the outside peg so that the bike didn’t break loose. Once I was positioned, I could really get on the throttle, which put more weight on the outside peg.
My inside leg was lifted up, but things have evolved. You no longer need to have your leg all the way up with your toes pointed at the sky. You just need to get it off of the ground so it doesn’t catch, but close enough that you can quickly get it back onto the peg for more stability.
I put myself over the edge of the seat, which helped me keep traction without using the cushion and running the risk of catching a hook.
I pivoted off the cushion instead of following it all the way wide. You can see that it went further out, but you don’t always have to follow that exact line. Just look ahead and plan the exit.
I planned my approach very early and chose to split the ruts because they both had hooks in them.
I came into the turn standing but got into a seated position so I could weigh the outside peg, get to the ball of my foot, and get the inside leg up just enough so that I could quickly get it back to the peg when I started accelerating. The right leg comes up in a right-hand turn, so it won’t always be close enough to tap the brake.
The process of maintaining momentum starts early and you want to carry as much of it into the turn as possible. When you come into the corner, you want to operate the clutch smoothly and not get too aggressive or hard on the brakes. Not only will being hard on the brakes bring the bike to a complete stop too soon, but it’ll also cause the bike to stand up.
You want to “trail brake” with the front brake, which is to pull it in gradually enough slow down and not a quick stab, and then smoothly release off the rear brake.
As you get on the throttle and set your body position, you can bend your torso and get your head over the front of the bars, then get into a seated position to get traction.