This week I want to breakdown the whoops in NOLA. I can see that a lot of people would suggest that the general consensus of readers of The Breakdown will never face SX whoops, so why should I waste time talking about it? That isn’t true. I use the same technique whether I’m going through rollers on an outdoor track or a MASSIVE set of whoops in SX. I want to breakdown some photos so we can pick apart some does and dont's. Because you and I both know that they're putting rollers in outdoor tracks like crazy.
Before we start let me follow up on some questions from readers in my last column. Some asked about the “Blue Flag” rule. I know as a racer I have lost a few races where lappers got in the way. I also know how frustrating it is to have to race a lapper. So without name calling I hope they read my next sentence.
THE BLUE FLAG MEANS THERE’S A RACE GOING ON AND YOUR ASS AINT IN IT!! You guys can take that quote to the bank.
The other comments were about Justin Barcia and Lance Vincent. I still have not watched the race so I can't comment on what happened, but I can go on record to say regardless of who might have been at fault the dude was a lap down—read my statement above. You should never race someone that close who is in a championship hunt and leading the race, all the while you’re a lap down. There’s some codes that all pro riders know or should know, and not getting out of the way when there’s a blue flag and racing the leaders when your a lap down rank #1 and #2.
Now, let’s breakdown some photos.
Since we were just talking about Barcia, let’s start this thing off with newly crowned East Region Champion! The first thing I notice here is how tight he is squeezing the bike. Look at his toes. Do you see how they are just barely hanging on the peg and digging into the motor casing? If he were to do this with his heel on the peg his knees naturally would go out.
Try it for yourself. Find an edge of some sort, like a curb for instance, and then put your tippy toes on the end of the curb. Your knees will naturally go inwards. Now put your heal on the end of the curb. Your knees will naturally bow out. It does the same on a bike. That’s why your toes need to be on the end of the pegs so your knees can naturally go inwards to help squeeze the bike.
Carl Stone photos
Justin’s elbows and back look spot on. The only thing that’s a little risky is how forward his head is. It’s very easy for mistakes to happen whenever your head is this far forward. The head needs to be behind the bar pad so the weight is more to the shock and not the forks. Keeping the front end light not only helps with control, it helps with carrying speed.
Blake Baggett looks solid in this photo. Notice how still his head is. If you watch tape of the elite riders going through whoops, what stands out between them and the rest is how still their heads stay. It’s almost as if you could balance a book on top of their head. A steady head, well I'm not real sure the correct term to use, but it just works. You never want to cock your head sideways. That allows the bike to get crooked.
Another note on Blake is how he keeps his head behind the bar pad! I keep preaching that to you guys. That allows his butt to have more weight on the shock.
Let's look at Wil Hahn next. You see how straight up and down his body is. Doing whoops like this makes it extremely hard to stay mistake free and on top of the whoops. You see, when you get your butt back like Baggett did, in the other photo, the front end stays light and when the front end stays light it's a lot easier to stay on top of the whoops and most importantly if you do make a mistake, like skipping a whoop, having the front light lessens your chances of crashing.
It's just very awkward to try and do whoops straight up and down. You notice how tall riders take the mail in whoops, right? Well, it's because their lanky and they get stretched back as far as they can.
In all fairness to Hahn, it's very common to be in his stance early on in a whoop pad. He more than likely had to upshift as this shot was taken, and then shifted back once he got into the right gear.
Is it me or does Matt Lemoine's bars look bent? He is totally stretched like he needs to be, but look at his throttle arm. See how much lower it is than the other arm? This tells me he is really wide open on the throttle trying to find speed.
When you do what he is doing to the throttle you lose speed. If he were riding a two-stroke he would be golden. You see, they [two-strokes] still make power when you’re revving high RPMs. FOUR-STROKES are the OPPOSITE! The more you ring the neck of the throttle the more you hit the rev limiter, which in turn causes you to lose more power.
Remember, patience is the key. Don't get throttle happy. I like to say; you need to keep the throttle even not wide open and not closed— just even.
In closing, I mentioned sharing some photos from our shoot last week at my Compound. Click HERE to view some teasers pictures of what I have to offer for training in middle Georgia.
Thanks for reading!