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How To Motocross Scrub | How To

It’s a jump technique first performed by Jo Jo Keller, then taken to the max by Bubba Stewart. Now every MX rider wants to motocross scrub and Joel Wightman is prepared to show us.


Motocross Scrub
In a racing situation (as opposed to play riding) the benefit of scrubbing is to reduce time in the air so you get over the obstacle as quickly as possible and get back on the ground and on the throttle. When you’re going to scrub a roller (on a motocross track) or a wall jump (on a supercross track) you can come in at the obstacle a little faster than normal and be aggressive on the brakes and really compress the suspension, using your body (arms/shoulders/knees/legs) to absorb the face of the jump and push the bike sideways as you ascend the up ramp. Your body position on the approach, the up ramp and take off is all about ‘sucking up’ the jump.


Motocross Scrub
Traction on the up ramp is the key to how far you can lean the bike over and how low you can stay. Start by hitting the jump at your normal riding speed then, as you gain confidence, you can build your speed and lay the bike over further, which lets you stay lower and jump faster. You should also hit the up ramp with a slight turn to help initiate the scrub. Just don’t break traction, because if either wheel slides out, you’ll have a big crash! The flow of the track will determine whether you scrub to the left or the right. On this track, there’s a right turn immediately after this jump, that’s why I’m scrubbing to the right.


Motocross Scrub
By the time the bike leaves the ground, it’s well tipped over and I’m shifting my weight to the left to compensate for the bike’s lean angle. But my right leg and knee in particular is pressed hard into the side of the bike for grip and control, whereas my left foot is off the ’peg and my left knee is tucked up tight under my left elbow/arm, which is also tucked in because the ’bar are cranked to the right with the scrub.


Motocross Scrub
In the air you should concentrate on keeping the bike low and getting back on the ground as fast as possible, which means sizing up the landing. You need to get the bike vertical again so you can land smoothly and instantly get back on the throttle.


Motocross Scrub
This jump has a flat landing but there were some small holes and edges I had to be careful to miss, plus the surface is dry, hard and stony, so I also had to be careful about traction. With a right turn coming up next, the scrub let me land with the bike pointed in that direction so I could get straight back on the gas and driving hard again. Any serious racer knows you always have to be either on the throttle or on the brakes, there’s no coasting, as that costs you time.


Step 6
Viewed from behind, you can see how I have ‘swept’ up the up ramp from right to left with the bike leaning to the right, to get the scrub going. You can also see how my body weight is over the left side of the bike to counteract the lean of the bike. To do this jump normally, you would go straight up the up ramp and the bike and my body would be vertical in the air. But you would be in the air much longer, costing time! translated by Clubby

A motocross scrub is definitely a more advanced jumping technique. You should be confident jumping before learning how to motocross scrub. Joel says common mistakes riders make when learning to scrub are:

Going at it too fast and mistiming the obstacle, which may lead to over jumping or landing too short and casing out.

Trying to lean too far too soon can have serious implications. If you lose traction on the up ramp by scrubbing too much, you probably won’t get the bike back in line in time for landing and you will likely bail out or land sideways and highside – ouch!