Another Supercross season will be here before we know it so I thought it only fitting to have another lesson on Supercross riding techniques and this time to explain jumping. All the jumping that takes place in SX and especially those rhythm sections it truly is a thing of beauty and grace but when it goes wrong, it can get ugly real quick. Just like the whoops, the top SX riders make lap after lap doing all the combos of jumps look easy, but we know better, it’s a lot more difficult than it looks. SX jumping has definately become an art form.
Jumping is one of the most important aspects of SX because you’re almost jumping the entire time. As soon as you land from one jump you’re taking off from another. If you’re not taking off as you land you’re setting up to take off in just a few feet. In this scenario there is not time for mistakes. So how do these racers make all this hop/skipping and jumping around these demanding SX tracks look so easy? Well, besides a good dose of talent, courage, practice and experience it does take the proper techniques, so let’s break it down and take a close look at them.
All together there are six jumping techniques in SX and MX .
- Getting more height and distance. This technique causes you to get more height and distance in order to clear obstacles.
- Seat bouncing. Seat bouncing is used when you have a very short run at a jump and you still need a lot of height and distance.
- Slowing down and getting back on the ground fast. This technique keeps the airtime low and short.
- Jumping lower but still getting the distance. This technique is a big time saver on jumps that are easy to clear.
- Scrubbing keeps you low and also gets you back on the ground fast.
- Whipping. This technique is very similar to scrubbing as it also keeps the bike low, gets you back on the ground fast and can set you up better for the next corner or section. It also looks pretty cool.
Rhythm jumps have to be executed from start to finish (take off to landing) perfectly. If not you won’t be able to continue jumping the rhythm section because your next jump depends on your landing. Takeoffs and landings have to be precise, you have to use your legs and body movements in order to help the compression and rebound for more height and distance or absorb the compression and rebound for a lower and/or shorter flight. You have to control the angle of the bike so you can land just how you want, with the front end high or low. You also have to control the clutch and throttle in order to deliver the exact amount of power to the rear wheel at exactly the right time. You have to look ahead early enough to see your landing just before you takeoff. If you can’t see it because the jump is blind you have to know exactly where it is from the previous laps.
A tragedy of rhythm sections is getting your feet bucked off the footpegs. This usually happens because of coming up short and casing a landing. If this dredged mistakes happens the rear wheel will rebound violently and you will have to use all your body movement to the rear of the M/C; if that is not enough to even things out the next thing to go are your feet off the footpegs. This is a major problem because if you don’t get them back on the footpegs in record time you are going for Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride as you launch off the next jump by the seat of your pants.
I would say that the on/off tabletops are the most difficult to master and the type of jump where all the above (A through E) are used to the limit. Sometimes when jumping up onto these on/off tabletops you have to use your legs and body movement to absorb the small jump just in front of the tabletop. This is so you can carry your speed up onto the table top and have enough speed in order to get all the way over the single jump just in front of the tabletop.
Almost always in order to jump off the tabletop and over the single in front of it you have to really use your legs and body movement to help the compression and rebound. You have to really push down on the footpegs when the bike lands and then lift your weight out of the footpegs as the bike rebounds. At the same time the bike compresses you have to use the clutch and throttle in order to deliver a lot of power to the rear wheel so it will launch you off the tabletop. Talk about timing and control and it all happens in an instinct.
Scrubbing and whipping it off jumps has become the new normal. Now a days all half descent riders are doing some sort of scrub or whip off just about every jump. I remember when I was training Ryan Villopoto when he was still on 85s I noticed he did a little whip off every jump. It wasn't a leaned over whip, it was just a hint of a whip. As he would go off a jump the bike would go a little sideways. Of course he would straighten it out for the landing. This wasn't just once in a while but on every jump, as long as the jump was relatively easy to clear. The only jumps he didn't do this cool trick off of was jumps where it was difficult to clear the landing. Here Ryan would help the compression and rebound and keep the bike straight. Even by age 13 it was effortless for RV to jump this way. Now at age 24 it's just as easy for him to do a full on scrub. Just like anyone Ryan had to start somewhere. Repetition is the mother of skill. If you do something enough your going to get good at it.
If you’re a beginner or intermediate and want to improve your SX skills make sure you understand all the proper techniques, work on one section of the track at a time and don’t take any unnecessary chances, be consistent before you try to do more difficult sections.
The popular Motocross Technique DVD Volume 3 Series has recently added 3 Jumping Technique DVDs;
DVD 6 Basic Jumping Techniques.
DVD 7 Seat Bouncing and Launching Techniques.
DVD 8 Absorbing, Scrubbing and Whipping Techniques
Keeping an attitude of gratitude,
Professional Motocross Trainer
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