MIKE LAFFERTY?S RIDING TIPS-MARCH?99
LAFFERTY ON STARTS
Lean: Probably the most important thing to remember is to keep your body as far forward as possible when you get on the bike. That way you kick back, not down, on the start lever. In case you hadn?t noticed, that?s the direction the kickstarter rotates.
Plan it out: You have to plan exactly how many steps it will take to get on the bike and know exactly where each foot will land. If you choose to start the bike in gear, it?s a little riskier. To eliminate as much clutch drag as possible and increase the likelihood of a one-kick start, put the bike in gear while it?s still running and kill it with the kill switch. Then, hold the clutch lever in with your left hand (even when you?re facing backwards) while you?re waiting for the flag to drop.
Twist it: There isn?t much technique for going through the gears. As long as you keep your weight forward, then you won?t have to let off the throttle. Gear selection depends on your bike; I usually start in second. At Tecate, Russ Pearson managed to get off the line a little quicker, but that?s okay?I had three hours to catch him.
LAFFERTY ON DROPS
Slow it down: Don?t just leap off the top. You?ll land so hard all your fillings will jar loose. Gravity will give you all the speed you need.
Keep the front end light: Give it a little throttle as the rear wheel goes over the edge and pull back. Don?t let the front wheel dig in or hit anything that can put you over the bars. And remember to keep your CG low by crouching down.
Use that run-off: Try not to hit the ground front wheel first if possible. The sharper the angle between the cliff and the ground, the more important to keep the front end light. Throttle control is critical; not enough and you can go over the bars, too much and you?ll break the sound barrier going straight down.
LAFFERTY ON STRATEGY
Miss a turn? At a race last month I overshot a turn and slammed on the brakes hard. Another rider followed me right past the turn and almost hit me when I spun around. Look behind you as soon as you realize you?ve missed the turn.
Quick spin: If you missed a left-hander, then I suggest you look over your right shoulder, and then spin around to your right. That way you?ll have a straighter shot back in the right direction. If you turn left, you?ll probably have to do an S-turn to get back on the course. By lifting the front end, you can turn sharper in less space, but it takes a lot of energy.