1. Welcome back, Andrew Short. In this photo, Andrew is coming through the second turn, just after the rise. This is a very fast turn, and on the roughest Spring Creek days, usually has a very distinct inside line and outside line. The track crew prepped this section quite a bit this year, though, making every line viable. The biggest key is making sure to stand up through this turn and the impending downhill, which allows the suspension to work more freely. However, it’s tough to maintain late in the motos.
2. Here’s Broc Tickle in one of the infield turn ruts. This turn is very tough to flow through because of the hump built into it. The rut is cutting through that hump, but it limits how far the bike can be leaned over and also mandates that Broc lift his leg incredibly high to clear it. All of that sounds great, but as he comes flying down the hill, it takes a lot of body movement and precision to execute. Turns like this demonstrate how pro riders separate themselves from the rest of the motocross world.
3. This picture of Cooper Webb is the same turn as Andrew Short’s from above. Cooper is carrying a lot of speed here and is headed directly for the outside wall of the track. While Andrew had already made his apex and was headed down the center of the track, Cooper will be riding the far outside. Part of this is the difference in 250 and 450 engine torque and corresponding technique. The smaller bikes need momentum, while the 450 can be used in more “point and shoot” lines.
4. Matt Bisceglia is landing on the finish line jump in this photo. This jump is a bit tricky, as there is a very fast left-hand turn at the bottom of it. Landing on the downside is a must for maximizing momentum and having the right angle through the corner. Notice he has his fingers on the clutch, ready to unleash hell.
5. Here RJ Hampshire is doing a wheelie through the Millville sand whoops to keep the front end light. RJ is a Florida native and knows all too well how important it is to keep all of the weight on the rear end in sand whoops.
6. This is the second image in the sand whoops sequence. The main point here is how far forward he is staying on the bike even though he’s carrying a wheelie. If he allows his body weight to shift back, he’ll lose control of the wheelie and have to pull in the clutch, killing his momentum.
7. In image three, he’s rapidly approaching the next sand whoop and still trying to carry his front wheel over the top of it. He’s pulling hard on the handlebars here, doing everything he can to both keep the bike from burying into the sand and the front wheel on top of each whoop.
8-9. In images eight and nine, he is finally in contact with the next sand whoop and is going to drive right across the top of it without really leaving the ground. He wants to keep his rear wheel on the ground as much as possible, allowing the bike to drive through each whoop.
10. Zach Osborne is shown here in the same photo as Webb and Short before. The long shadows indicate this is from the second moto, and since Zach is pivoting hard to the inside, the track is getting a bit rougher. He’s cutting back to the right side of the track and will follow the very inside down into the next switchback, hoping to avoid the big braking bumps. That roost he is about to eat is mmm mmm good, too.
11. Zach blasts the outside berm in between the two whoop sections in this picture. He has a lot of slop on his bike and body, so I’m thinking this is from timed qualifying. The dirt is still very thick from the overnight rain, and the amount of mud that his front tire is pushing is a dead giveaway of that. The biggest key in these conditions is to keep the momentum up so that the smaller 250 engine doesn’t have to get back up to speed from a stop.
12. Joey Savatgy is shown here in the same turn that we’ve harped on in this series. Savatgy is railing the outside line, much like Webb was about to in his photo. He’s standing and accelerating along the wall, allowing the bike to work and soak up the deep bumps. He has great body position here, right in the center of the bike and in the attack position.
13. Andrew Short doing his best Nac Nac in celebration of his return to the nationals. Ok, not really, he is actually very close to crashing but his agility and strength allowed him to ride out of this. This usually happens from catching a toe in the muddy ruts entering a turn, pulling your leg off the pegs. This was just before the “Chadapult” jump and this section always gets deep ruts all the way through the long right hand corner. One way to counteract this happening is to remember to always point your toes toward the inside of the motorcycle. Positioning your toes inward also helps in squeezing the bike with your legs.
14. Jeremy Martin rode without a clutch in the first moto and damn near passed Joey Savatgy for second place in doing so. I was completely flabbergasted as to how he could go so fast without a clutch on that track. Coming down all of those hills, the clutch is key in controlling the bike’s speed. The most remarkable aspect to me was how fast he was able to roll through the corners without help of the clutch. He was completely reliant on his corner speed and the engine’s torque to pull him out of the corner as he had no way to build rpm. He really wasn’t losing any time to Savatgy exiting the turns, and that's simply incredible when taking into consideration how deep the Millville sand was and that there are multiple uphills directly following many of the turns. It was a clinic on corner momentum and determination. If you ever want to see how impressive that ride was, just take your clutch lever off sometime and try to put in some fast laps. You will be amazed when you think back on how fast Martin was going. Incredible job of improvisation in moto one.