A problem I see a lot at local motocross tracks, especially with younger A&B riders is a lack of throttle control. The throttle is to the stops, there is no traction and berms are getting blown out left and right.
A while back I was listening to DMXS Radio and Rick Johnson put this into perspective perfectly. He was working with Blake Baggett and said this about his throttle use:
“We’re working on smoothing him out… Getting him to relax, the throttle does not equate to lap times… It’s traction, roll on the gas and utilize the power the way you need it…”
Later in the same episode, RJ commented on Barcia, talking about how throttle control could improve his results.
“Barcia has a way of bringing a bigger hammer. Start with a bull peen, then he brings a sledge hammer, then he brings a giant hammer. When the hammer is the right tool he’s phenomenal. I just think he needs to not work on intensity so much and work on technique a little bit. I think it’s a similar scenario that we have with Blake. It’s not a matter of throttle, it’s a matter of what the rear wheel is doing… Smooth out a little bit, use a little less throttle and open up the turns and I think we’ll see big things.”
There is a reason why you will rarely see Dungey or Roczen grab a handful of throttle coming out of the corner and bounce off the rev limiter down the straightaway. It’s not fast. They control their power delivery coming out of the corner to maintain traction as good as possible, then shift as necessary to stay in the meat of the powerband. For reference, the meat of a motocross bikes power is not located at the rev limiter.
Here are ways that understanding how to use your bikes power and improving your throttle control will improve your lap times:
- Throttle control leads to better traction, making you go faster.
- You lose momentum every time your wheel spins without hooking up.
- You lose momentum when you blow up a berm.
- Your bike makes more power in the meat of the powerband than when bouncing off the rev limiter.
Here are some ways to improve throttle control:
- Understand that it is typically better to have traction than wheel spin and what traction feels like.
- Practice on different types of dirt so you can understand how to deliver power in different situations.
- Circle drill on hard pack dirt. Practice starting to break your rear wheel loose with the goal of making it around in a power slide.
- Understand how to properly use throttle and clutch together.
I’m not going to claim to be perfect at this. Very few are. Power delivery is different on different types of dirt and on different types of tracks. If you make a conscious effort to improve your throttle use and ride a variety of tracks with different types of dirt, you will understand how to use your power better in different situations and you will get faster.