70's riding style

A young friend who comes to see me ride at my local track mentioned to me that my riding position is swept back, arms extended. He said that I look like the guys in an older mid seventies European dirt bike book that he found in his Dad's stuff! I rode late seventies to early eighties when 9" of travel was alot. Kind of funny but would like to correct my position to more modern type and to avoid looking like a geek. Where I am back is mostly in whoops and off of low high speed jumps. Did any of you carry over things that you had to correct after a 20 year layoff like me?

[This message has been edited by Hugh LePage (edited 07-20-2001).]

Hugh, think forward! You want to get in a "jockey like" position over the bike, with your elbows out. The straight arms and vertical back riding position should be used sparingly. Any '70's flashbacks should be limited to very specific situations on the track, or retro kool-aid acid parties. :)

Even though we had no suspension in the "old days" we seemed to sit down a lot. I still have problems getting off my butt. BUt I have managed to get into proper position for cornering, butt on the tank, elbows up and foot up by the front axle.

Of course, for those of you who remember the poster of Roger DeCoster, taken from the front with his foot straight out so you could see the sole of his boot and his handlebar about 3 inches from the ground at Carlsbad.

Hanna or Charmicheal don't look that stylish but go very fast. Who cares what you look like, we all can't be Roger D or David Bailey :)



99 WR400f, YZ timed, MX-Tech suspension, Scotts steering damper, White Bros E-Series (12 discs), tapered header and a/f. Kouba T-handle for the fuel screw. Works Connection billet throttle tube and frame guards. Cycra Pro-Bend, triple clamp mount handguards. Thumper Racing rad guards, Renthal Jimmy Button highs, YZ Tank and IMS seat, YZ number plate, odo removed, EKP, 48PJ, 175MJ at 500-1000' Thanks James Dean!

That reminds me of a rider from the late 60's and very early 70's named Billy Gibson. I saw him ride at Elkhart, Wisconsin in '72 when I was in the Navy at Great Lakes. He rode with his back nearly prefectly straight and very stiff. It was one of those styles that caught my eye and I couldn't help but watch in fascination. That was my first attendance at a professional motocross race and it was an international GP. I had hoped that Joel Robert would show up, but he didn't. Lackey, Arne Kring, and many of my European heroes were there and blew me away with their talent. Lackey put on a good show at the starting line when one of the motos was delayed for about a half hour. He had a little 80cc Yamaha dirt bike that he rode backwards. He actually sat on the bike backwards and a friend pushed the bike backwards until it started. The engine ran backwards. He could ride it like that for about 75 yards before he would start weaving out of control. He's a clown.

Who remembers the starting procedure we had at that time? For you youngsters, we would line up fairly straight and, with our transmissions in neutral, we had to put our left hand on our helmets until the flagman dropped the starting flag. Then, we would have to shift into gear and get going as quick as possible. I had a way to beat the system. I would always line up a few bikes from the starter so that he couldn't see my clutch lever clearly and when he signaled for the riders to get ready, I would pull in the clutch, shift into gear, turn my bars slightly to the left and use my knee to hold in my clutch lever. When the flag dropped, all I had to do was dump the clutch with my knee and save about a second getting off the line. It worked great. The bike was a stone stock Suzuki TS 90 that I raced in the 100cc class(there was no 90cc class). I would get the jump but the larger and more motocross oriented bikes would soon catch me.

[This message has been edited by Boit (edited 07-20-2001).]

[This message has been edited by Boit (edited 07-20-2001).]

I was also away for 20 years and I am still working on body postion. I agree with the comments above, getting forward, jockey stance and elbows out. I would add gripping the bike with your legs. It is also very important to support your weight mostly with your legs, as opposed to your arms. I found the Gary Semics videos helpful in this regard.

Hugh- I am like you, but for me I decided after quite alot of time on the track to just use what works. I tried forever to do the brake tap but for me it just doesn't work as good as muscling the bike around in the air. I have adopted a few of the newer forms but not all...

Thanks for the input Guys! I will put my bars in a more forward position to start with and as mentioned above will just relax more and will work the elbows out style into my riding over time. I guess it is like skiing, you cannot work on all aspects at once but must master them one by one.

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