because it keeps them out of harm’s way, but most
important, when you turn your toes in, you move
your knees closer to the frame. When your toes point
outwards, your knees splay outward also. Try it and you’ll
see. You want your knees to be as close to the bike as
possible, so don’t make it impossible.
Traction. Finding good traction can some-
times be difficult. The rear end can quickly
get away from you if you drift off line, mis-
read the dirt’s consistency, grab too much
throttle or push the front end. Other variables that also
come into play are weight distribution and over-braking.
Being able to carry more speed through corners will allow
you to be smooth on the throttle and reduce the use of
the clutch. Also, placing your body weight to the rear of
the bike will help you gain more grip on terra firma.
Turn it on. You’d be surprised to learn that
on a lap of an AMA Supercross track, your
throttle is only wide open for five seconds.
The rest of the time it is off or in transition
between off and on. If you only have the throttle wide
open for a short time, you need to make sure that when
you twist the throttle, you twist it all the way. Many
riders who think they are turning the throttle wide open
aren’t. How can that be? Lots of times they grip the
throttle in a way that makes it impossible for their wrists
to go all the way. Add in timidity and you have less than
five seconds of maximum throttle. Practice turning the
throttle wide open.
Off the brakes. Most American
riders, from Novices to AMA Pros, have
a tendency to charge deep into the
corners. This may be fast coming in, but
it requires heavy braking to get the bike slowed enough
to pivot around the turn. The best riders get their
braking done before the corner and then carry more
speed through the turn, which translates into more
speed out of the turn. You lose time coming in, but
make it up coming out. ❏
Intuition. It doesn’t matter who you are; if
you have ever swung a leg over a dirt
bike, then you have experienced the
battle between your intuition and your logic.
Whether it’s a new section, a big jump or your first time
at a new track, logic tells you to stop and think about
what you’re about to do. Logic gives you all the possible
consequences of your proposed action; however, your
intuition kicks in and tells another story. Both logic and
intuition are important. Think about it. How many times
have you waited until the end of a day to finally jump
the big double? Logic told you that you shouldn’t do it,
but your intuition said you could. Our advice is to listen
closely to your intuition. It will lead you in the right
Head in. The head-in technique is some-
thing that Jeremy McGrath used religiously.
The concept is simple—wherever your head
goes, your bike will follow. In the 1970s,
they called this “leading with your face.” If you want to
test this technique, just lean your head away from the
corner the next time you come barreling into a turn and
see where you end up.
Commitment. Going all in isn’t just for
poker players. You have to give it all you’ve
got in every corner, down every straight and
over every jump. Do you think you already
do this? Think again. Do you really attack turn four as
hard as you attacked the first turn of the race? Playing it
safe by folding instead of raising the bet is the same as
taking it easy through the whoops. You won’t lose
anything, but you won’t gain anything, either.
Just relax. That’s right, relax. We don’t
mean you should be like a jellyfish on
your bike, but take the tension out of your
shoulders and arms. Let your body work for
you instead of against you and the bike will do the same
thing. It should be noted that we are only talking about
relaxing your body from the hips up; your lower body
needs to be squeezing the bike firmly.
Confidence. Having confidence in yourself
is the number one thing that will make
you faster. It is the first step to self-
actualization. You have to be able to
envision yourself doing well if you ever want to do well
in real life. Gaining confidence may take time, but it is
all about how you see yourself. When self-doubt lingers,
take charge of your thoughts. Think positively. Don’t let
your mind sabotage your body.
Athletic stance. An athletic stance is
used in sports, such as baseball, football and
tennis. This is the ready-for-anything position.
A low and aggressive stance starts with
knees bent, chest forward and head up. For motocross,
the only difference is that we have footpegs, which
makes our stance hip-width apart. The athletic stance
allows you to move, respond and anticipate what the
bike is going to do. It will ensure that you’re ready for
anything that comes your way.
Toes in. Do not ride with your toes out in
the most critical parts of the track—whoop
sections, ruts, rough corners or switchbacks.
Why should you keep your toes in? First,
TEN WAYS TO BE FASTER BY
(1) Jeremy McGrath goes head first.