"Here you can see a fine drop-off. I was faced with this at the FatCat extreme enduro course and the sequence of photos really doesn't do the scale of the drop justice, although the technique that is required to execute this type of drop-off is the same for all drop-offs regardless of size.
"The biggest factor that you must respect is the angle the bike will drop down to the ground at. A nosedive will hurt you/humiliate you/ingrain fear in you/lose you positions/lose you prize money/damage your bike. A loop-out will do exactly the same. So, concentrate on the angle your bike is going to drop to the ground at and be sure to stand very proud and strong on the bike for when it lands.
"A back wheel landing is essential and a golden rule to avoid two broken ankles or two snapped Achilles tendons if you land too flat or front wheel first. But too high on the front wheel and you will have a hard job holding on with your arms and hands whenever you hit the ground. The bike will get away from you. The ultimate position to land in is the one you can see in the photo sequence. Look at how I stand central with my legs nearly straight for landing. Yes, nearly straight but definitely not fully straight or worst case locked out straight. My upper thighs are touching the handlebars as the front wheel is so high on landing and I have to stand forward to the bars so as I'm not hanging off the back of the bike. I need to be upright with my body so I can take the force of the landing with my leg muscles and not my arms.
"I also apply a crack of the throttle whenever I land on the ground. This helps with taking the severe slap out of the impact that the front wheel sends through the handlebars. A non-throttle application landing would be like a dead weight hitting the ground. If you crack the throttle on landing the bike will squirt forward and drive out of the heavy dead landing. Hold on tight at this point!
"One important factor to control the angle at which the bike is going to fly is the amount of rpm you apply on the take off section approaching the drop. Steady mid-range rpm is the ultimate amount to apply. Finding consistent traction is a primary condition you should respect. Wheelspin halts forward drive and will send the bike into a nosedive once you leave the ground. Too much of an increase in rpm will make the bike accelerate and generate a lightness on the front wheel. Once you take off the theme will continue and the front wheel will continue to want to rise. You then enter into an arrangement where you are out of control and then the front wheel can rise too high and cause you to loop-out and force a crash. The only chance of recovery is to grab some clutch and dab the rear brake during flight. It's not what you want to be relying on as a recovery tactic but that is all you can do to help salvage the consequences of your mistake.
"Drop-offs of this degree and scale are not that common in regular motocross. The bombhole at Hawkstone Park is a good example of where this technique is executed. The only other option on offer at Hawkstone is to ride down the bombhole drop-off like an auld woman. Not cool and not fast.
"My suggestion would be to learn these skills on a small drop-off and then build up to larger drop-offs as you develop the skills required. Get this wrong and it will hurt you. Take my advice on that last fact or learn the hard way yourself."
For video footage of Gordy's drop-off technique go to www.dirtbikerider.com or run your smartphone over the QR code..
THE MIGHTY CZ FACTORY BURST OUT FROM BEHIND THE IRON CURTAIN WITH EVOLUTIONARY MACHINES PILOTED BY ROCK HARD SOLDIERS WHO PLAYED STARRING ROLES IN EARLYMOTOCROSS HISTORY...
Words and photos by Jack Burnicle u
Every year the organisers of the Czech Republic Grand Prix at Loket welcome the great Czechoslovakian MX warriors of the past. The former communist Eastern European state used to despatch riders around the world during the 1960s and 1970s. All serving soldiers mounted on CZ motorcycles manufactured at Strakonice (in southern Bohemia!), these hardy pioneers played a major part in the early years of world championship motocross.
Founded in 1919 as the Czechoslovakian Weapons Factory ('Ceska Zbrojovka' hence 'CZ'), a division of Skoda specialising in armaments, CZ started producing small two-stroke motorcycles at Strakonice in 1932.
Nationalised after World War Two, CZ merged with its main rival Jawa in 1948. Together they became the second largest post-war producer of motorbikes in Europe and Jaromir Cizek, riding a Jawa, beat future world champion Rolf Tibblin (Husqvarna) to lift the 250cc 'Coupe d'Europe' in 1958.
CZ's revolutionary twin-port 250 and 360 machines -with new-fangled exhaust expansion chambers -radically altered motocross during the 1960s, out-dating the fat four-bangers that had reigned supreme. They won four 250 world titles with Joel Robert and Russian Viktor Arbekov and a hat-trick of 500 championships for East German policeman Paul Friedrichs. But nine native Czech stars would also win MXGPs for CZ... »
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