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On Track How To: SX Whoops With Ryan Hughes

One of the most challenging obstacles throughout the years in Supercross has been the dreaded whoop section. With two sets never the same, this section of the track can be the riders worst nightmare if he or she isn't comfortable. Check out some of these pointers that Ryan Hughes gives us and boost your confidence next time your on the track.

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Hi, I'm Ryan Hughes and we're going over whoops today for Motosport.com. There's a few things about whoops. Whoops, everything is technique. It's how you enter the whoop. Yeah, everybody says you got to enter it as fast as you can. If you enter it as fast as you can, but your technique isn't sound, well, now you just made yourself more dangerous or a more spectacular crash.

There's a few things that we want to talk about when you're coming into a whoops. One, you want to make sure that that back end doesn't go side-to-side-to-side-to side. So how are you going to keep that rear end from going side-to-side? Well, you need to grip with your feet, grip with your legs so you're controlling 90% of the bike. The lowest point of the bike to ground is at the foot pegs closest to the rear wheel where all the traction and inertia and all the swapping is happening from.

One thing is control the bike at your feet, and the way to do that is to be on your toes because the first point of contact from body to bike is your feet. So when that bike is hitting whoops and coming up, and you're flat footed, well now that bike is going to kick you off your foot pegs. You see this with a lot of people. Now you look at Villopoto and you see how tight he is with his feet and on his toes so when that bike come up there's softness. There's softness at the first point of contact from body to bike and that's at the foot pegs at the feet.

  1. Control your bike with your feet coming into the whoop
  2. You're on your toes so you have softness coming into the whoop
  3. You need to make sure that that bike can come up forward and back, forward and back so you've got to make sure that you're not rounding your back

If you round your back like this and that bike kicks up, it's now pushing your body all the way forward. You need to make sure your hips are out like this just like Bubba, just like Villopoto, Wilson, Dungey, the rest of them.

Their hips are out and Bubba does it the best. His hips are out like this so when that bike goes through the whoops he has a little bit of softness in his body, and he's not rounded more like an Alessi that starts kicking him forward and then the bike starts to huckabuck because if that bike kicks you forward what's going to happen, your arms are going to be tight. If you arms are tight, you're not going to allow the bike to do what it needs to do come to you and away from you.

If your arms are loose because:

  1. You have your hips out
  2. You're on your toes
  3. Your chest is high

Your arms can relax because now you're in a strong, stable, coordinated position. But if you're flat-footed, your tail is tucked, your shoulders are rounded, you're not in a strong, stable, coordinated position so now the bike is going to control you.

There's a few things when come into the whoops:

  • We're on our toes
  • Our feet are tight
  • Right when we come into the whoop we want to be looking up about three or four whoops

If we look up three or four whoops, well, now we have time to process what's coming up, and if we have time to process what's coming up then we can relax. If you're looking too close to your front wheel things are coming up so fast, you're going to hang on tight.

Once you enter the whoops, you want to be able to get those hips out and put weight to that rear end and be able to have a little bit of softness there so that rear end can kick up and it's not affecting the highest part of you from the hip to the head. Once you have that happening, you want to not ever round your shoulders because if I round my shoulders you see where my weights going. It's going into my arms. If I keep my chest up, it's going into my legs and my head comes up. Round my shoulders goes into my arms. Head comes down. Bring my shoulders up, it goes into my legs. Head comes up.

Once you're into the whoops, then again, relax those arms. Allow those arms to come forward and back, forward and back. Another thing is when you're coming into a whoops, you want to make sure you come in with a lot of speed like I said before, but don't come in with a lot of speed if your technique isn't sound. You got to again - the immediate. The immediate is where am I on that motorcycle so if I do come in with speed, whatever happens I'm ready for. If I come in with a lot of speed, and my technique isn't sound, well now the bike's going to control me.

Again, on your toes, gripping with your feet, hips out, chest high, looking ahead, arms relaxed, high gear so you want to make sure you're coming and then you can have a little bit of a bog coming into the whoops and then that bike should pick up speed as you go, but if you come in in too low of a gear, you're going to run out of speed halfway through and then that front end is going to start dipping on you.

A few things like that. Pay attention to where your technique is because that's where the fastest guys in the world are - why they're so fast is because of where they are on their motorcycle. The strong, stable, coordinated, efficient position is the most important thing. Good luck.

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