Motocross Riding Tip: Line Setup

PRO TIP: LINE SETUP

WORDS SHANE BOOTH | PHOTOGRAPHY MATT BERNARD

In a perfect world we’d all be able to ride a motocross track using lines the way Mark Webber does in his Red Bull RB7. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible. We have plenty of other variables to deal with that don’t allow you to precisely start wide, sweep in to the apex and run wide on exit. However, keep this theory in mind, get creative and you’d be surprised how often you can make a sweeping line work.

GET OFF THE MAIN LINE

Nine times out of 10, riders will just stick to the line that almost everyone is using, which generally isn’t that great. It’s normally rougher, harder packed and tighter than you need to be riding. It makes it hard to carry speed and get traction and it wears you out. If you want to get on a good line, sometimes all it takes is to go where no one else has.

THINK AHEAD

Setting up for a pair of corners like this requires you to think ahead and know what’s coming up two or three turns ahead of where you are. Try not to ride the track corner to corner; if you do, you’ll struggle to get set up correctly. What you do in one corner will start to set you up for the next few.

GOOD LINE AND NO BUMPS

My aim through this right and left section is not only to use as little track as possible but to miss the big holes that have formed right at both apexes. An important thing to remember is you only need about 100mm of track to make a new line — that isn’t much. If you can have smooth track at the apex or tightest part of the turn, you’ll have more traction and in turn be able to carry more speed. One thing to remember with cornering is when I say carry more speed, that might be one or two km/h faster, not 20! You’re usually looking for 10ths of a second in corners, not whole seconds, but those 10ths will add up!

GET ON LINE

Probably the biggest struggle riders have when trying a new line is keeping the bike on it. Your best bet is to SLOW DOWN the first time you try it! Put your bike exactly where you want it, then build speed with each lap. As you exit one turn, make sure you look to where you want to be on the track heading into the next. Don’t let your momentum run you wide if that’s not where you want to be. In this case, I’m starting wide on entry into the right, apexing inside the bump and staying tight on exit to set up for the left. Then it’s the same again: apex inside the big hole, stay tight on the exit. Notice how I’m actually climbing the inside of the track to squeeze past the bump — remember, you only need 100mm! Even though you can only see two corners, this section of track is about linking up four corners in row. Get it right and it flows smoothly; mess it up and it’s slow, rough and energy sapping.