Lastly, there were suspension and gearing changes made over the course of the season.
“I was running a 13/47 at the beginning of the year. For a couple races like the Utah or slightly slower ones I ran a 13/49 and it was cool. It gave me a little more hit to it,” he remembers. “It also pushed the rear wheel forward which makes the bike turn a little bit better [due to the slightly shorter wheelbase].
“But ever since [round 7, the point-to-point starting in] Lovelock, [Nevada,] I went back [to 13/47].”
As for suspension adjustments, it was primarily location-dependent. “I started with my clickers at one [setting] and at the end of the year at Lucerne [Valley, California], I have them at the same point, but I have two different clicker settings [for other places]. Like at Panaca, [Nevada,] where it’s smoother and it’s a lot of washes, I actually slowed down the rebound two clicks and stiffened it two clicks [on compression]. That way I could push a little harder into the corners.”
He also learned that keeping the suspension fluid fresh can play a huge role in performance: “I felt like it was getting soft so [Travis Flateau of] TBT [Racing] was out there [at the final round in Lucerne] and because I had four races on the suspension oil, he freshened it up for me [with new fluid] and it was way better! I couldn’t believe how much more hold-up the bike had. I’d thought I needed a different suspension setting and I was going to have to update it. I should just keep my oil fresher!”
All of this will undoubtedly be valuable information when it comes time to begin defending his number-one plate in January. Before then, however, he has a few local races plus next month’s ISDE in Portugal where he’ll be campaigning a very similar setup.