The first time you hit a big jump, how do you know how fast to hit it?

I've been asked this question hundreds of times. The best rider I've known at doing this is Kevin Windham. You've probably seen him doing huge Supercross transfers on TV during opening ceremonies.

Kevin can calculate a big jump so well that he always hits his landing target within a foot. He does it the same way any pro does it - he's just better at it. He's better at the calculations in his mind's eye. He can perceive exactly how the jump is going to throw the bike, how high and how far. Then he calculates and perceives how hard he'll have to hit the jump in order to land on target.

I say how "hard" he'll have to "hit" the jump instead of how fast. Sure the speed is important but there's a lot more to it than just speed. The speed has to be close but the techniques used when hitting the jump, when going through the compression and rebound parts of the jump are just as critical.

In short, Kevin carries the correct speed into the jump, then he precisely times his body weight into the compression part of the jump. At the same time he hits the precise amount of power with the clutch and throttle. That's the compression part.

Now for the rebound. As the bike begins to rebound he springs his body weight out of the footpegs, while remaining on the power. The next millisecond requires Kevin to catch his body's balance with the proper body movements in order to maintain the center of balance and keep the angle (front end neutral and straight or into a whip for extra eye candy) during this time he also backs off the throttle. By this time he has seen his landing target and knows he hit another home run, making the entire process look seamless and easy.

In the video below Zach Osborne pulls the trigger on a big quad in a Supercross rhythm section. I know it looks like a triple with a tabletop at the end but in pro Supercross language it's called a quad. Here Zach is using the Seat Bouncing technique in order to get even more height and distance. Zach's on his modified Geico Honda 250F practice bike.

This is a dangerous jump because the landing has to be hit just right. If he would come up short chances are his feet would get bucked off the pegs, causing him to get spit off the bike as he hits the next jump. I promise if you rode through this rhyme section you would think "There is NO freaken way."

About Gary Semics:

Learn our GSMXS time tested and proven practice and training methods to improve your riding skills and race results. How? Through our hands on Motocross School Group and Private classes, with located in six countries. Through our Techniques and Training DVDs.