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Cornering question for Gary...or other

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Just watched the two cornering technique vids. I know there's a sand-specific one and I'll get to it later, but I have a specific question about the technique.

You're advocating sitting at 1/4 and accelerating at 1/2-ish; there are a couple of turns at my local track (closed for the season now... :'( ), that are pretty tight; actually shaped like the track you scratched into the ground with your foot.

I find that the good riders carve a pretty deep rut (it's sand) on the inside line pretty early in the day, and I can't easily follow it.

I'm trying to visualize how I enter the turn. I suspect I'm coasting too much into it and then don't have any momentum to lean through it. I tend to get into it, and then at about the half-way mark jump the rut and have to correct with power once I'm on the flat part again.

If I break longer with a bit more entry speed does that give me the momentum to lean? Is that what these better riders are doing? Then the trick is that transition to throttle so I don't loose momentum and lay the bike down inside?

Also, if I could see slow-mos of advanced riders, would you say that their foot comes off the break slightly before half-way (anticipating) or after half AND after they've applied the transitioning throttle? i.e. is there a a fair bit of overlap?

Thanks for the help.


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Momentum and looking ahead are the two tricks for ruts.

Sand ruts are actually the easiest ruts to deal with because they usually are more like a berm instead of a deep groove. The deeper, harder ruts you will need to duplicate the lean angle of the groove to go through, where the sand ruts usually can be leaned against at any lean angle you want.

When you approach the rut, the goal is to get your shifting and braking done pre entry and get the front tire in on the brakes. Obviously, carrying as much momentum as you can is critical, if you scrub off too much speed, you will never be able to get the lean angles necessary to enter the rut. Also, getting the rear end out of shape entering the rut is not smart, the bike needs to be more symmetrical when entering or you'll probably just slide past it. You want to keep the front brake lever actuated (dragging it) as you lean the bike into the rut, this will keep the front loaded up and make it substantially easier to stay in the rut instead of popping out. The moment you enter the rut, you want to sit down at the same angle the rut is. So instead of pushing the bike into the corner, you lean with the bike, inside leg up as always. Sitting right after you enter the rut or before you enter the rut is a personal choice. It really depends on the rut and how comfortable you feel with it.

Once you're in the rut, you want to look towards the exit and apply gas right away. You need to keep the momentum, as the rut will drag all of the momentum out of the bike, especially since you're still on the brake a bit. If you do this right, looking ahead, trailing the brake and are leaning properly, you will exit the rut before you even knew you entered it!

Most importantly and this is a wide-ranging tip that people don't quite understand. When your in a deep rut (not so much a sand rut) the rut is like a rail of a train and you need to follow that rail to the best of your ability. The trick is to let the rut steer the bike and as the rider, you're just along for the ride. So staying loose on the bars, getting your lean angle just right and keeping even, will help those things. The more you lean over in a rut, the easier it becomes, but sadly some of the ruts on our tracks are more like vet ruts and have no lean angle at all, which means you sit upright more then you should. Those ruts are the most tricky to deal with because you want to carry more speed through them, but can't.

Exiting the rut is actually a lot easier then entering it. There will be a certain point on the exit where you can just apply full throttle and that will get the front wheel up and out of the rut. This isn't a problem, its actually the preferred method for exiting in some cases. In other cases, carrying the rut t its full length (due to the lean angle) is actually more worth while.

Ruts can be fun if you know how to do them AND the blokes who made them actually have some lean angle. I get very frustrated with shallow hard-pack ruts that don't allow any lean angle, but sand ruts are a blast!

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