SAND TURNS: Tips to nail a sandy turn

STORY SHANE BOOTH | PHOTOGRAPHY MATT BERNARD

Sand-Riding3

VISION

Once you have both wheels in the entry of the turn, 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 turn continues for another 10 metres. Where you look is where you’ll end up, so keep that vision up and look ahead.

INSIDE LEG

You can see here that my leg is at the top of the radiator shroud and my foot near the tip of the front fender. Keep your toe pointed so that when it hits the ground it will slide on the sand and not dig in. If you’re lazy with your leg it will cause you problems. Keep it out and use it as a guide around the turn.

BODY POSITION

Sit at the front of the seat and keep your elbows bent so your head stays forward over the handlebars. In a sand turn, you should lean with the bike; it has a soft 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.

CLUTCH CONTROL

Keep a finger or two out over the clutch lever so you can use it to help deliver power correctly through and out of the exit of the turn. 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’re in the rut and 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’ll mess up the whole turn or even crash.

STAY LIGHT

In the sand, avoid coming into the turn square and making a sharper turn than you have to; this will help avoid burying the bike mid-turn. You want to pick up your turn as early as possible and flow through with a consistent radius if you can. This will keep the bike light on the sand and give you the best chance of getting through consistently and as fast as possible. Open your turns up and you’ll flow much better around a sand track.