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Understanding Control

Gary Semics


blog-0784009001403811081.jpgAt the top pro level the rider's style and even their techniques are programmed into their nervous system's automatic reflex reactions so deeply from the many hours of repeated practice that they fire off naturally. In order for them to change a technique they would have to overwrite the old habit by replacing it with a new one. The only way to do this is to run the new program through repetition long enough to replace the old. At first this reprogramming slows you down and practicing a new technique can take weeks in order to make it happen naturally under race conditions. It's not something to do during race season. However, if you haven't already programmed all the proper riding techniques into your automatic reflex reactions you haven't started out with a good solid foundation. I have identified 55 absolute motocross techniques in my popular Motocross Practice Manual. Mastering all the proper techniques is the most important thing to do first. Breaking bad habits is a waste of time and not having the proper techniques is going to hold you back big time.

There are two categories of techniques where control comes from. One is your body movements, always moving in order to maintain the center of balance. The other is the five controls of the M/C, clutch, throttle, front and rear bakes and the gear shift. Beginner riders don't understand how important, how much of your control comes from the 5 controls. On the way into a corner I'd say about 60% of your control comes from the front and rear brakes and the other 40% from your body movements. At the transition, 60% control can come from a combination of the front and/or rear brake and the clutch and throttle at the same time. Sometimes braking and accelerating will overlap, meaning you're doing a little of both at the same time. They should always at least connect, meaning you go from braking straight to accelerating, never coasting. You wouldn't want to give up 60% of your control, would you? Once through the transition and exiting the corner 60% of your control comes from the clutch and throttle and the other 40% from your body movements.


Even on 4 strokes these guys usually use the clutch and throttle together at the transition. At these points it only takes a quick nip of the clutch to get it done. Once through the transition the finger stays on the clutch in case they want to cut the power to the rear wheel. Like if the bike starts to stand up and/or climb out of a berm. Cutting the power with the clutch instead of the throttle works much quicker and more precise. This is done with one or more quick little nips of the clutch, not disengaging it for much time at all but it is just enough to keep the bike down in the corner without loosing much time.


The right combo of the controls with the proper timing and finesse make the bike handle a certain way. To the top pros the precise timing and finesse of these 5 controls are as natural and automatic as working their hands and feet. They are a part of their body and nervous system. In milliseconds they feel what is needed as it is needed. That's how they make something that is so difficult look so easy.

Gary Semics

Professional Motocross Trainer

If you like this riding tip, it's just the tip of the iceberg.  Get all the riding techniques and practice methods that will elevate your riding skills For REAL from our Motocross Techniques/Training DVDs or one of our three Instant Access Video On Demand Subscriptions.


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