Courtesy of RacerX
February 9, 2018 10:30am
by Thomas, Brayton & Me!
Great racing in Oakland! Our regular analysts David Pingree and Ryan Sipes were busy this week (Ping on the fireman front and Sipes has a brand-new baby!) so we grabbed two favorites to help this week. Justin Brayton was actually in the race in Oakland, so he knows what’s going on. Denny Stephenson is the 1990 125 East Region Supercross Champion-turned-current SX superfan. We also used our man Jason Thomas, who has been more supercross main events than most people.
1. ON A DEMANDING TRACK LIKE OAKLAND, HOW CAN YOU THINK ABOUT PLANNING MOVES AND MAKING LINE CHANGES WHILE ALSO NEGOTIATING THE REST OF THE TRACK? ARE THESE GUYS GOING THROUGH THE WHOOPS WHILE ALSO THINKING ABOUT THE LINE THEY’RE GOING TO USE IN THE CORNER AND THE RHYTHM THAT COMES NEXT?
Jason Thomas: A lot of this is planned on the hot lap before the race, but, of course, some mid-race changes have to be sorted on the fly. Tracks like this can show who is staying mentally sharp during the main event and who isn't. It can be very difficult to not lock into a line and continue to go there even after that line has lost its effectiveness. Ricky Carmichael was really great about changing lines throughout the race. Riders think about all kinds of things during the main event, so they should be continually evaluating their lines.
Justin Brayton: On a track like Oakland, you have to plan your move two or three sections ahead of time, sometimes even a lap ahead. Barring a big mistake from the rider in front of you (which happened a lot) the track was fairly tough to pass on. So, you had to pick a spot on the track you felt you were better and try to make it happen.
Denny Stephenson: Man, that Oakland track looked gnarly! The most difficult parts, it appeared, weren’t necessarily the rutted jump faces, but actually the rut down in the transitions. It's much easier to plan your lines when you get ample time to see the ruts. When you're in the air and trying to pin point what rut to land in, for me, that just amplifies the difficulty and mental wear throughout the main.
As for the whoops, most of the time you're searching for the least hammered and freshest path you can find with no real regards as to where it leads into the next corner, especially if they're a considerably long set. The time you can make up in whoop has the most value, so worrying about getting into and through the corner after them is kind of an afterthought.
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RacerX 2018 Oakland SX 3 on 3