The limited space in baseball and football stadiums requires obstacles to be very compact. Therefore, to allow riders to maintain speed in the turns, track builder Dirt Wurx uses a lot of bowl turns in its designs. This enables riders to carry more momentum through the turn so they can accelerate hard toward the next obstacle, which is usually some type of double, triple or combination jump.Ricky Carmichael is considered to be one of the masters of these unique turns. He’s able to get in and out faster than anyone else; and we recently spent a day with him at Suzuki’s private test track in Corona, California, to learn what makes him so quick.A. Carmichael enters the right-hand turn standing up and sits down only after he gets into the middle of the corner. He’s hard on both brakes, looks for the smoothest line with the most traction and maintains a neutral body position. His elbows are up, the clutch is pulled in and he’s looking straight ahead the entire time. He uses only one finger on the front brake; he wants to make sure he’s not too aggressive on the front brake, since it could lock up and cause the front end to wash out. When this “pushing effect” comes into play, riders have to quickly let off the front brake if they want any chance of saving the front end from tucking under.B. RC slides toward the front of the seat and starts to get back on the throttle at this point. Although he’s under hard acceleration, he’s not being too aggressive. He wants to drive out of the corner with a limited amount of rear wheelspin. If he dumps the clutch with too much rpm, the back end of the bike will be difficult to control.
C. The harder RC gets on the throttle, the more he readjusts his body position. He grips the tank with his knees and uses his arms to pull himself toward the front of the bike. Notice that his head is now over the handlebar; he still has not let the clutch entirely out, and his inside foot is down for support. What you can’t see is that he’s weighting the outside peg to balance the bike from side to side, and he’s rolling on the throttle instead of pinning it to the throttle stop.
D. Carmichael continues to grip the tank with his outside leg. By keeping his body weight forward, he’s able to steer with the front wheel and prevent the bike from wheelying.E. RC is now wide open, and the bike is beginning to get a little sideways; but it’s totally manageable. This is as crossed up as he gets on this loose soil, and to get the bike back in line he simply uses the clutch to control rear-wheel traction and to keep the bike driving forward.