A rut is one of the most technical obstacles you will face on a dirtbike. It requires accurate technique and precision control to conquer and it’s easy to overwhelm yourself thinking about too many things at once. Here are five key points to work on next time you have the opportunity to attack a rut
WORDS BY SHANE BOOTH PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATT BERNARD
Once you have both wheels in the entry of the rut you should be looking around the turn to the exit. Look all the way around and out past the exit as early as possible, even if the rut continues for 10 metres out of the turn. Where you look is where you’ll end up, so keep that vision up and look ahead!
Get your inside leg up high and out of the way before you lean into the rut. You can see here that my leg is at the top of the radiator shroud and my foot is near the tip of the front fender. Keep your toe pointed so if it hits the ground it will slide and not dig in. If you’re lazy with your leg it will cause you problems. Keep it up and out of the way.
Sit at the front of the seat, keep your elbows bent and your outside elbow up so your head stays forward over the handlebars. In a rut you should lean with the bike; it has a solid wall of dirt to hold the wheels so it won’t slide out. The more speed you carry the more you need to lean with the bike.
Keep a finger or two out over the clutch lever so you can use it to help deliver the power through and out the exit of the rut correctly. You can be quite aggressive with the power delivery on the exit of ruts but you don’t want to wheelie; slipping the clutch slightly will help you avoid that.
STEADY IN, FAST OUT
Don’t rush the entry to a rut! Give yourself some time to set up. Once you are in the rut and you are sitting down with your leg out of the way, look around to the exit and then roll the power on. If you rush the entry and make a mistake there’s a good chance you will mess up the whole turn or even crash.