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Gary Semics Riding Tips

Pax Trax Motocross Park is proud to introduce a new “Riding Tip of the Month” feature to the Pax Trax website, courtesy of Gary Semics Motocross Schools & Videos. Gary has been a part of motocross for over 40 years and has trained and coached many of the top riders in the sport including Jeremy McGrath, Kevin Windham, Ryan Villopoto, Brock Hepler, Stephane Roncada, Brock Sellards, Steve Lamson, John Dowd, and Ezra Lusk just to name a few. We’re sure Gary’s tips will help make you a better rider and look forward to seeing you out on the track. Check out Gary’s website at GarySemics.com

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Gary Semics riding tip

Posted by James On September - 1 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

Seat Bouncing

Seat bouncing is a good technique to use when your approach into a jump is short and you need more height and/or distance and/or don’t have enough time to stand up for the jump.  Since you’re sitting on the seat your body weight is going to go straight into the bike and therefore compress the rear suspension more, causing it to rebound harder and give you more lift (airtime) out of the jump. If you were standing your legs could absorb some of the compression and rebound, keeping you lower.

When seat bouncing, clutch and throttle control are very important and usually pulling back on the bars at the right time is also important for these two things are what control whether your front end is high or low.  You see, you have to deliver the power to the rear wheel just right with the clutch and throttle as that rear wheel compresses into the jump and rebounds out of the jump.

The timing with the clutch and throttle and jerking back on the bars is critical in order to keep the front end from dropping. This is an advanced technique and even then can only be used on short approaches where you’re accelerating all the way through the compression part of the jump.  The jump face also has to be smooth with no kickers in it.

My All About Jumps and Whoops DVD shows and explains this technique very well.  You can see free previews and all my Technique DVDs are currently on sale for 50 and 60% off at http://www.garysemics.com

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Gary Semics Riding Tips

Gary Semics riding tip

Posted by James On August - 7 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

Basic Jumping Techniques

To execute the proper basic jumping technique you should be standing in the central body position. As the rear wheel rebounds from the jump you have to nudge your body position back, which will also cause you to nudge back on the handlebars. The steeper the jump face is and the faster you hit it the faster and harder you will have to nudge back in order to make the bike fly level or how you want it to fly (front end high or low).

Okay so that’s how your body movement controls the jump now let’s take a look at how the throttle controls the jump. You see when you throttle off of a jump (accelerate off the jump) the throttle will also keep the front end up. So the more you throttle off a jump the less you will have to nudge back with your body movements. And vice aversely when you chop the throttle off as you rebound from the jump the more you will have to rely on your body movements.

Two common problems many riders have is either jumping with the front end too low or too high. So now you can understand that if the front wheel is too low you’re not using enough throttle and/or you’re not moving back as you take off. If you’re jumping with the front end too high you’re using too much throttle and/or moving back too much.

I hope this helps your jumping control. I have 2 really good jumping technique DVDs (The Art of Jumping and Whoops) and (All About Jumps and Whoops). Both on sale and see free previews at http://www.gsmxs.com

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Gary Semics Riding Tips

Gary Semics riding tip

Posted by James On June - 1 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

Holeshots

Starts are sort of like gun fighting.  A gun fighter has to be quick on the draw but at the same time he has to be smooth and have a good aim in order to hit the target before the target hits him.  In motocross you also have to be quick and at the same time you have to be smooth with your clutch and throttle control and your body movements.  If you mess up at least you won’t get shot but you may get run over in the first corner.
There are three important aspects of the start.  The single most important aspect of the start is the clutch.  Excellent clutch control is the key.  The other two aspects are throttle control and body movements.  Let’s look at each one separately and all the detailed techniques that go with them.

Following are all the techniques that go into clutch control.
You have to hold onto the grip and control the clutch independently.  This is true for when you’re riding on the track as well, but for the start clutch control is even more important then when riding on the track.  Therefore you should use your three outside fingers on the clutch while you hold onto the grip with your index finger.  This way your three outside fingers will allow you to have good strong clutch control while your index finger can pull your body position forward as you shoot out of the gate.  It’s also okay to use your two inside fingers on the clutch and of course your other two fingers to hold onto the grip.  If you didn’t use any fingers on the grip you couldn’t pull and hold yourself forward.  Or if you only used one finger on the clutch you wouldn’t have good strong clutch control for a perfect start.

With your three outside fingers on the clutch pull the clutch in and select first or second gear.  Then let the clutch out until it just starts to engage.  Then pull it back in just the slightest bit under engagement.  This is where you want to hold the clutch.  This way it will begin to engage as soon as you start letting it out.  With this clutch setting technique you will know that the bike is in gear and your clutch will be set and ready, not too far out and not too far in, but just right for the real thing hole shot.    It’s very important to control the clutch all the way out.  Don’t just start slipping it out then let it go.  And don’t release the clutch in a jerky motion.  When done correctly it’s just one controlled smooth release all the way out.  You are pretty much holding the throttle in one position according to traction and feeding the power to the rear wheel with the clutch.  You see, when you feed the power to the rear wheel with the clutch the response is instant.  If you rely on the throttle the power has to go through the carburetor and the response at the rear wheel can be delayed and not as actuate, even after you are pretty far out of the gate, if the front wheel starts to raise slip the clutch a bit to bring it back down.  Control the clutch all the way out at all times during the start.

There are usually ruts behind and in front of the gate.  Make sure you are lined up straight in the rut.  If you are a little crocked or the rear wheel is not all the way down in the center of the rut you are going to get sideways and loose a lot of time right from the get go.  It helps to prepare the rut before you set your bike in there.  Kick the dirt around and make it smooth and packed.  Build up a little ramp at the front of the rut where it meets the gate so you get better traction as you spin over the gate.

While seated in the proper position, grab the handlebars with a lot of over grip.  This is important so you can keep your upper body open and work from over the handlebars not behind them.  This will allow you to get more of your body weight up and over the front of the bike enabling you to keep the front end down more effectively.  This open body position will also give you better leverage for moving your body position from side to side across the handlebars, which will give you the control to keep the bike going straight out of the start.  This body position will also give you better leverage factors between your body and the motorcycle.  If you fail to do this and start with a low grip you will have less control.

If you want the entire scenario check out my Vol II DVD # 2 (How To Win Starts).  It has all the starting techniques in it.  http://www.gsmxs.com

is the place to find it.

Gary Semics Riding Tips

Gary Semics riding tip

Posted by James On May - 1 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

Clutch In or Out While Braking

The rule of the track here is to leave the clutch out while braking so the engine helps slow you down and helps control the braking process. It’s kind of like anti lock brakes. The best stopping power is just before the rear wheel locks up and that’s just what leaving the clutch out will help you with. This is done when you’re still carrying some speed into the corner. If it’s a tight corner where you’re going to be slowing down to a slow speed in the middle of the corner and/or if you’re going to do a brake slide than you have to pull the clutch in so you don’t kill the engine.

I’ve seen this technique of leaving the clutch out while braking misused and abused by a lot of beginner riders. Every time they apply the back brake they put the clutch in. They do this because they don’t have good braking control and by stabbing the rear brake on they would stall the engine. Sometimes making it stall even easier by being in too high of a gear.

It’s really the same technique for 2 strokes and 4 strokes. It’s also the same when exiting a corner with 2 or 4 strokes. The 2 stroke does depend on the clutch more than the 4 stroke but if you’re pulling a high gear out of the corner even the torquey 4 strokes can use a little help from the clutch when exiting the corner.

A good rider can make his bike drift slide into a corner real pretty like by leaving that low end lever out (the clutch). When a rider pulls the clutch in while braking at speed he’s taking a chance of locking up the rear wheel and sliding out too much, then his automatic reaction is to let up on the rear brake too. This causes the bike to straiten up and then he hits the rear brake again and so on and so on. This is especially the case on a high speed slippery approach to a corner. Learn to feather those controls or lock them up and every thing between. It takes a fine feel to go fast.

My “All About Cornering DVD” has all the important braking and cornering techniques. You can see free previews of all my Technique DVD and everything is 50 and 60% off right now at http://www.garysemics.com

. If you want to learn how to get the most out of your practice come to one of my 2 Day Motocross School classes this summer. Get 50.00 off and a free DVD of your choice. Register at http://www.gsmxs.com/schedule.htm

Gary Semics Riding Tips

Gary Semics riding tip

Posted by James On April - 5 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

The Art of Cornering

Cornering is an art form.  To get really good at it you have to have a lot of talent, know all the techniques inside and out and then practice it frequently in many ways over a long period of time.

There’s much more to cornering than just leaning over and going through the turn.  There are things like the angle of the corners, whether they’re banked or off-camber, sharp or sweeping, and the conditions of the track. Then there are the techniques of cornering between the rider and motorcycle. There are even techniques that affect the handling of the motorcycle in the corner. These techniques make the motorcycle either hold the track or brake loose and pivot, slide through the corner.

In order to do a corner fast you need to carry as much speed as possible and as long as possible into the corner, slow yourself down just enough to still have control at the exit dex, (the exit dex is where you go from braking to accelerating) and then get on the gas as soon and as hard as possible. In order to carry a lot of speed into the corners, you need to have a fast and late approach dex (the approach dex is where you go from accelerating to braking).  With this in mind, we can understand that a very important part of cornering is braking. To be good at cornering, you have to be good at braking.

Of course, all through the corner, you have to maintain complete relaxed control. Tightness and mistakes will only make you tired and slow you down, if not make you crash. Remember, you can only try as hard, and go as fast, as you can do the basic techniques correctly and maintain relaxed control. So, if you’re tight or making mistakes, you will benefit by slowing down, which in turn will allow you to learn how to go faster.

In others words, it takes much more finesse than just charging into the turns at full speed and hoping you’ll be able to make it when you get in there. You have to constantly anticipate exactly what is going to happen just before it happens. You have to know the exact line that you want to be on. That line should take you to the best possible traction for the exit dex. You see, it’s very important to know exactly where your front tire is going, so you can find the best traction at the most critical part of the turn. This is where you’re going to be turning the most, at the exit dex. Again, make sure your front tire is going exactly where you want it to go. If you’re doing the techniques correctly, the back tire will also go exactly where you want it to go.  For much more in-depth cornering info check out my DVD #7 (All about Cornering)

on sale now.

For free MX Technique DVD previews, MX School Schedules and much more visit www.garysemics.com

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Gary Semics Riding Tips

Gary Semics riding tip for March

Posted by James On March - 2 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

Fast On The Straights

mobile downloadStraights are usually the easiest but because of the speed you can really crash hard.  Of course most of it depends on the soil condition and the room you have for mistakes.  If you’re speeding through the trees over rocks, tree roots, ruts and mud you better keep her under control the entire time.  Another tricky straight away condition may be over big uneven bumps.  Whatever the conditions are following are some key points.

1.) Scan the ground as you’re going along and see all the details.  At the same time keep your focus out far enough ahead of you that you are ready for what’s coming up.  This takes the kind of concentration to light a news paper with a magnifying glass in the sun.

2.) If it is at all rough you should be standing on the pegs in the central body position and make the bike go exactly where you want it to go.  Squeeze the bike a little with your knees.  This will make you more connected to the bike for better control.  The thing that is most likely to through you off course is hitting something with your front wheel that you didn’t see.

3.) Stay in the right gear (in the meat of the power) and if it’s really technical keep your foot on the rear brake, not just to slow down fast but to give you more control.  Think about it; the only control you have over the M/C is body movement and the five controls (front and rear brakes, clutch and throttle and the gear shift).  What else could there be?  But there are 55 Absolute Techniques that go into these two categories.  Check out my Motocross Practice Manual

for all of them.

Going fast on the straights is kind of like jumping doubles.  You don’t jump distances you don’t have control over and you shouldn’t do speeds over rough ground that you don’t have control over.  If the fear is there it’s most likely there for a good reason.  When you get enough seat time and confidence the control will be there and the fear will not.  In the mean time you may consider paying attention to that fear, it’s a survival instinct.

For free MX Technique DVD previews, MX School Schedules and much more visit www.garysemics.com

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Gary Semics Riding Tips

Gary Semics riding tip for February.

Posted by James On January - 4 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

Riding on the Balls of the Feet

Balls of feetI am really surprised how many people are interested about the technique of riding on the balls of the feet or riding on the arches.  I’ll tell you right up front that being comfortable riding on the balls of the feet takes a lot of practice.  But when a rider does become comfortable with this technique there are three benefits to it. # 1 you have more body travel, #2 you won’t hit the shifter or rear brake by accident and #3 you won’t get your feet ripped off the foot pegs from your toe hitting the dirt.  As I said, for this technique to become natural its takes a lot of the correct type of practice.  So don’t throw it out the window if it feels awkward at first.

It’s kind of like down hill skiing.  It’s easier to keep your feet farther apart when you are a beginner but the pros keep their skis closer together.  One place motocross pros are always on the balls of their feet is through the whoops.  If it can be done through the whoops it can be done anywhere on the track.  The only acceptation is if you’re going to land hard from a jump or even case a jump.  In this case you would want to be on the arches of your feet so you don’t sprain your ankles.  Just make sure you have your toes pointed out a little so you don’t hit the shifter or rear brake by accident.  It all comes with knowing the correct techniques and a lot of quality practice time.  For all the correct techniques in an affordable easy to understand format check out my Motocross Practice Manual on the DVD ordering page of my website.

For free MX Technique DVD previews, MX School Schedules and much more visit www.garysemics.com

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Gary Semics Riding Tips