Controlling Throttle Pro Riding Tips with Johnny Campbell - Dirt Rider Magazine

Flat trackers like Chris Carr and company aren't the only ones who find themselves staring at fourth- or even fifth-gear sweepers. Fire-road enthusiasts and Baja racers also encounter them with some regularity.Thus, we looked for an area where Honda's Johnny Campbell could demonstrate just how a six-time Baja 1000 winner would ride such a turn. It's not extremely physical, but it does call for lots of focus plus a keen sense of what the bike's doing underneath you. "It's important to have good throttle control--know what your rear wheel is doing all the time," he says.Follow along, then the next time you come up to something similar, try out his moves. With a little practice, you may find yourself using such turns to put a lot of distance on your buddies—or the competition.1. "When you have a high-speed, flat sweeper, you need to determine what kind of ground it is," Campbell starts off. "In this particular instance, it's really gravelly, loose and slippery. One of the keys to keeping your speed up in a turn is knowing be on the outside or the inside of the turn. If you knew what was up ahead, you would know—like SuperMotard guys; they know the track, so they know whether to be on the inside of a turn to set up for the next turn, but in the desert we often don't know what the next turn is. So you need to concentrate on keeping your momentum up and being smooth and trying not to lose too much traction, but at the same time have a controlled slide." Campbell stands while entering the turn and does the majority of his braking then. "A lot of times I'll tap the rear brake just before I sit down to slide the corner, and that helps to set up the bike for the corner and get you into a slide—almost like brake-sliding, but you only tap it for a second, then you let off and the bike starts gliding into the slide. It's like a two-wheel drift. You don't want to lock up the brake too long or you might get hacked out too far, and that'll cause a kind of square-off-the-corner where in this big, flat, wide corner you don't want to do that. You want to have a nice, big, smooth arc."2. "Being smooth on the brakes entering the corner and then having good throttle control, slowly feeding it throttle as you start going through the turn ." (There are times, however, when he won't sit down for the turn. "It depends on the road or the flat surface you're on," he says. "A lot of times I'll be standing, of course, because in our racing you want to look as far ahead as possible to see, maybe, how sharp the corner is, if there are trees, if a car is coming the other way or if a cow is in the road. I'll stand because I get a better vantage point being up there.")3. "Start your acceleration point when the bike is slightly into the slide." Although Campbell has his inside foot out, it's more for balance than actually holding himself up through the turn. "You're also weighting the outside peg and putting all your pressure on the outside of the bike, the outside of the seat. You want to stay neutral and keep your head over the handlebar. I tend to be back maybe a skosh, just to keep the rear wheel in contact with the ground rather than sliding over it."
4. "Feed it throttle as you continue to have traction. If you give it too much throttle, you're going to get hacked out and possibly slide out and cause yourself to panic and let off. That can throw you into a high-side. Too much , and you might low-side the bike."
5. "A lot of times I'll sit up as I come out of the turn in order to get traction as I'm accelerating and getting up to speed. As soon as I feel it's grabbing as much traction as it can, I'll lay down into a tuck position if I'm going into a straightaway."