In motocross, races are won in the corners. Everyone can go fast over jumps, rough straights, and whoops, but what truly makes a racer great is how fast they can rail a corner. With this in mind, we met up with Geico Honda’s Wil Hahn while he pounded out motos at Lucas Oil MX Park in preparation for the 2013 season. On this day, Hahn was ripping around this particular bowl turn quicker than anyone else, making it an easy choice for this month’s riding tip.
A lot goes into line selection. I try not to ride too high up on the berm, but sometimes you have to because that’s where the line goes. You definitely don’t want to put yourself up too high on the berm, because if push comes to shove with another rider, you’re probably going to push the front end over the top of the berm and go down. Lately, I’ve been working on staying lower on the berm, a lot like Ryan Dungey does. I always watch Dungey because he is a perfect example of how to stay low in a bowl turn.
A bowl turn is pretty self explanatory because you can come into it fast, there are a lot of line choices, and you can carry your speed all the way through it. I try to make sure that I stay off my brakes, because when you hit your brakes, it can tend to stand you up in the corner. In a bowl turn, you want to be looser and allow the bike to flow a little more. It just takes practice to get comfortable with going faster through a bowl turn. You don’t necessarily need to get on the gas really hard or brake slide in order to make the apex of the corner. The more momentum you come in with, the more you’ll leave with.
Gear selection is different depending on the corner or the bike, but second is probably a pretty good bet in most bowl turns. In Supercross, though, there are times where you can land off a triple and carry third through a bowl turn.
You want to try to be super neutral on the bike and not drop your elbows or body weight because that’s when you can wash out the front end. I try to stay very neutral on the bike and let the bike drop underneath me.
As soon as you’re starting to come around the corner and toward the next section of the track, you need to start looking ahead because it will help to carry you through the corner. If you go through the corner looking at the front of your bike, and then enter the next section, it ends up making it into two different lines and doesn’t connect the sections. Looking ahead is very important.