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Gary Bailey Trackside: Corner Leg Position

by The "Professor" Gary Bailey


For sure everyone needs to corner better. There are all kinds of corners and a lot of things to know to execute each turn faster. I am not going to talk about each and every corner and all the details needed to execute each perfectly. The point of this article will be to focus on the position of your inside leg in a turn.

I have talked about the position of the inside leg in a turn before as to where it should be and why. I believe this is a point worth going over once again for a few reasons. The first and most important reason is it quite possibly may save you from sustaining a knee injury. The second reason is because as a coach, I believe it is a good idea and it just plain works. After thinking about a topic for this week's column and shooting photos and video at San Diego, I knew it was a good idea. Then, after being at a local track the other day and watching the Dallas supercross on TV, I knew it would be important for sure to help all riders with their cornering.

When I first talked about this topic of inside leg position, there were not a lot of riders cornering with the inside leg bent, knee high and tucked in close to the bike. This is not a new way of cornering it is just something we stopped doing because everyone started saying "Get that leg up" when coaching a rider. Everywhere you went someone at the track or at a school would tell you that the answer to cornering better was you have to have to hold the inside leg high. Every time someone’s foot would touch the ground all you would hear is, "Get that leg up!"

In my opinion as a coach, there is one big problem with the inside leg held high and forward. If the front end washes-out in a turn and your leg is in this position, I feel you are increasing the risk of a knee injury. The more the knee is locked, the more things can go wrong. I am not going to get into the knee brace thing because I don’t need to go there. What I am going to say is, a knee brace will not stop you from injuring your knee if you catch your foot wrong. This is not about knee braces this is about how and why this way of keeping you leg in a corner is a good way when possible. With the knee high and leg bent, should you touch the ground it will be a dab and the knee will bend and not jam or twist. Another advantage to this inside leg position is when coming out of a turn the rider can get his foot back to the peg quicker, to the shifter quicker, or to the rear brake if needed.

So, let’s take a look at a few photos and then some video.

This is the look that will not only keep you and your knee happier should the front end wash out but will also allow you to put more weight on the front end.

Ever wonder why the best guys have the best look? The more tricks you have in the bag the better the show.

Ok, here are two different looks so you decide which one you like best.

This is the look I like; leg in tight, body forward, on the gas and hooked up.

This could go bad real quick. It has happened so many times so why risk it when you don’t need too.

In my opinion this is what you should look like if you have the number 1 plate. Head down and charging hard.

This pic of #51 is a difficult one for me because I am a Barcia guy. But what can I say except you need to be as perfect as possible if you are going to stay on the podium. Let me be clear as you look at this photo and the one above; the more perfect you are everywhere, the more perfect you will be.

Here you are looking at another good execution of how a turn like this should be executed. Leg a little bent, in close to the bike, head down, out side arm out, forward on the seat and on the gas.

Perfect execution!

Not much I am going to say about these two photos. I will let you make the call on this one.

Again, you be the judge as to which is best.

Ok let’s get to the video.

Well I hope you have the Dallas race recorded so you can go back and have a look. The track was one of those that didn’t have many ruts and the riders weren’t doing much bar dragging so this "leg bent thing" was happening a lot.

A small change like the position of your inside leg can help your cornering but you will need to spend some time working on it. Change is not easy, and if you don’t make a change, you will never improve as a rider. Until next time, ride safe.

That's it for now, until next time, good luck with your training and remember, if you have a question, log on to the Virtual Trainer Expert Forum and have your question answered by a panel of experts. In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section. Your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness. VT Signature

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  1. Gravatar
    Dave Thais February 21, 2013 at 8:49 am

    how does this technique apply with completely laid over, outdoor style ruts? there really isnt an option other than putting your inside leg up on top of the shroud with your foot up by the fender.

  2. Gravatar
    john m. jones February 21, 2013 at 9:08 am

    There is an option, actually. The leg does not have to be forward in some cases. Try dragging your toe BEHIND you. Uses the boot up quicker, but can be used to one's advantage. Especially in the sand. This was the way it was done long time ago.....In the sand it will stabilize the bike and it forces more weight on the front end. It works. Try it......

  3. Gravatar
    M. Hurd February 21, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    What about weighting the front wheel? I thought one of the main reasons to get your foot up by the front wheel was to put more weight on it and keep it from washing out. I agree its more risky. I see allot of the pros sticking their inside leg up by the front wheel when landing from a jump which seems even more risky.

  4. Gravatar
    Professor February 21, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    Dave, This article was not about deep rugged turns as I stated in the beginning and in the video. This was about flat turns or turns with a little bit of a rut.

    M.Hurd, Here is a little something that you can try sitting in your chair. Set on the front of the chair, Throw your leg high out front And then lean forward. Now bend your leg, bring it back toward the bottom of the chair and lean forward. Want you to also remember this. When we first started the leg high, The seats did not go all the way up to the gas cap. Now that the seats go all the way to the gas cap and we're setting so much more forward This technique works well. As far as your comment about the riders landing with their leg way out you are correct. However if you look closely You'll see many places where riders land with their leg out and bent as well. And just like having it bent in those corners it's the same when landing that jump. One thing we need to remember is nothing stays the same when we are looking for a better way.

  5. Gravatar
    Casey Pons February 21, 2013 at 6:01 pm


    Have you ever thought of maybe doing this coaching thing for a living...
    You seem to have a knack at breaking complex scenarios down into composite form to study each and every nuance of the big picture. That is exactly what I liked about your instructional methods in, "How To Win Motocross"
    Thanks for (still) sharing that huge cranium, some half century later, young man!

  6. Gravatar
    brian a March 01, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    hi love reading ur articles Gary , they are the best advice around , i am having a problem with a couple of tracks at the moment , my strongest part on the bike is rutted corners , but two of the tracks i race at are really really tight tracks and they have tires staked really tall to make the hairpin , normaly i would just lean really far over and try keep as much momentem as possible , but cant here cause you would just hit the tires with your shoulder , the ruts always get formed really tight and close to the tires and its a complete 180, was wondering what the best technique would be , was thinking maybe brake sliding in to appex and trying to keep the bike upright more , any suggestions would be really apprecated , thanks a mill

  7. Gravatar
    professor March 07, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Brian, those are not easy for sure. If you can come in a little wider so you won't start laying the bike over so soon or so hard that will help. Your form may not be so good here because, you will need to keep your inside arm in tight as you go past that corner marker. Sometimes you will start to lean in then real quick you need to stand the bike and your body up a little right at the center of the turn. You will need a little more defensive movement here to get past that part of the turn. Good luck on that one.

  8. Gravatar
    CJ Harris March 07, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Professor, thanks for the article it was very helpful. Turns seem to be my worst part and all though they say practice makes perfect it really doesn't if you practice bad habits. So I am super excited to go out and try these techniques .

  9. Gravatar
    brian a March 07, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    thanks a mill for getting back to me Gary, means a lot, and thanks for the tip I am sure it will help. One other thing with these tight corners, I need to have the clutch in to stop from stalling. When the clutch is in should I have a good high revs and slip it out? I tend to have low revs when I have the the clutch fully in which I try my best to never have the clutch fully in but at this track there is no choice. I saw one of the quick guys and he had revs like at the start of a race then slip the clutch out. Would this be a better way of doing it ? Again thanks a million for these these tips. They have helped me loads :)

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