The technique pros use for fast flat-track-style hard-packed turns isn't simply pitching the bike completely sideways. Instead, they put the bike into a controlled drift, maintaining momentum by putting power to the ground. We asked Baja champion Mike Childress to show us how he does it. "I think of it as a piece of pie," he notes, indicating a bird's-eye view of the bike. "Any time you get your wheel outside of that piece of pie, you're losing time; keep the rear end in that 'slice' and you're going fast."1. Setting Up For The Turn
Approaching the turn, Childress is up on the pegs, squatting and using both brakes; he is centered on the bike, with his head over the handlebar. "Approaching the turn, I'm looking through it to see if there's any rocks-or in Baja's case-any cars, spectators or animals," he says.2. Starting The Slide
Childress sits toward the front of the seat, weighting the front end for optimum steering. To aid the slide, he looks far ahead to the turn exit. He uses his outside knee to press hard against the tank to get the bike leaned over. He keeps his elbows up to maintain maximum leverage on the handlebar. At this point, he swings his inside foot forward for balance but doesn't put it as far forward as a motocrosser blasting a berm. This is also the time when he sets up the slide, either by tapping the rear brake or gassing it as he leans the bike.3. Maintaining The Slide
Midway through the turn, Childress is on the gas in a controlled drift. He's sitting a bit more upright and controlling the amount of drift with the throttle as well as with body English. His inside foot is just skimming the ground. "In this particular , you're not really looking for traction; you're trying to keep the wheel spinning in a nice, controlled slide so you're not really weighting the peg a lot," Childress reveals. "You're putting some weight there to push against it and using your body weight to move the bike.4. Exiting The Turn
As he nears the turn exit, Childress begins to bring his foot back up, and the bike begins to assume a more vertical attitude, helping maintain traction.5.
This is how it's done, at least if you're a Baja champ. While he could pitch the bike farther sideways, it wouldn't be a time-efficient move.