Knowing how to handle slippery, flat corners will cut seconds off your lap times and help move you to the front of the pack.
How to basic: getting traction on slippery corners
1. Super smooth
On the approach to a slippery corner you have to be super smooth with your braking because it’s easy to lock up. Look for a line with the most gentle radius. You don’t want to be making any sharp turns because you will have to wash off too much speed, and you’ll struggle to get going again.
2. Weight the front
Sit forward on the seat to weight the front wheel and select a gear that will give you the smoothest exit. Continue to brake into the corner, aiming the front wheel for the pivot point. You want to limit your time rolling forward because that is when you’ll loose traction.
3. Choose your pivot
Because you’re taking the corner a little wider to help maintain traction you won’t hit the apex. Choose a pivot point that intersects with your line at the centre of the corner. Once you hit that point, smoothly release the brakes and wind on the power.
4. Extend your leg
As you begin to accelerate, extend your inside leg forward to help put more weight over the front tyre, like you would on most corners. At the same time you are going to slide your butt right to the outside edge of the seat. This will force the tyres into the track.
5. Weight the peg
You need to push down on the outside peg to help the wheels get traction, but the amount of pressure you put on the peg determines how straight you’re going to go. Try to aim for the inside of the corner as you exit the turn as that will set you up for the next one, and keep adjusting your weight on the outside peg to control traction.
6. Hold the slide
The bike will most likely go into a powerslide as you exit the corner. If you can, try to hold the slide but keep the throttle on and your weight on the outside peg. The aim isn’t to step the bike out but, if it’s getting traction, that’s good. Don’t back off the throttle as you might highside. Slide your inside foot on the ground until you get the bike going straight, and then power on to the next corner.
• Take a wide line around the corner so you can carry more speed.
• Sit down on the approach and put as much weight on the front tyre as you can to increase traction.
• Brake late into the corner and limit your time rolling, this is when you will lose traction.
• Heavily weight the outside peg as you accelerate to increase traction and drive.
• Back off the throttle while the bike is in a powerslide exiting the corner, this could lead to a highside.
• Roll into the corner, the more time you spend rolling the more likely you are to loose traction.
• Intentionally try to step the bike out as you exit the corner, just try to get as much traction as you can.
• Enter the corner in a gear too low for the slippery conditions and wheel spin as soon as you apply any throttle.
Tips for chasing traction
• At a wet motocross or endurocross event make sure you walk the track several times and feel your way around the corners looking for the best line. The apex of a turn will often hold the most water and should be avoided.
• If you are out in the bush, it is often best to avoid the avoid the obvious line that everyone else has been using. Leaf litter can be the only thing between you and a lowside when there’s a tonne of clay underneath.
• Experiment with tyre pressures until you find ones that work for you. Ride a series of corners and then try dropping a pound or two out of the tyres and ride the same stretch again to sort the best pressures.
• Do yourself a favour and fit decent tyres designed for wet conditions. You’ll be amazed how good they are now.