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Trackside: Cornering Help

by The "Professor" Gary Bailey


Writing a new article on riding is not always easy. The reason I say that is that these days it seems everyone is writing how to riding tips and everyone has a little different idea about how you do it. So, for the last month or so I have been sitting back, looking and listening. Some writers write about how they ride or how fast they are or were. And then, there have been some talk shows mocking all of us riding coaches saying that we coaches all say that our way is the best way.

So this is the climate I find myself in as I write this article after years of teaching, after a legacy of making champions and after my own success as a rider. And yes, I was damn fast, one of the top riders in America in my day. But all of that is irrelevant when it comes to writing about riding today. What matters today is what is working for the top riders today. So, that is what I do, I watch and analyze and study the successful riders of today on the bikes of today riding the tracks of today.

As I study the current best riders, I look to see what makes each one of them the best. I watch for anything one of them does different from everyone else. I listen for the sound of the bike. I watch for nuances in form, or technique or bike set up or line selection or power application. If I see any little thing that is different or if I notice a rider that is consistently faster in a particular part of the track, I photograph and video that rider and other riders to compare and rewind and study until I spot whatever it is. Then, I take what I have seen, apply it to one of my riders and see if it is faster or smoother or offers a benefit. If it does, then I try it with another rider to see if the same result happens. Only after I can prove that something is better do I endorse it or teach it.

So with that said, I won’t tell you or show you how fast I am or was and I won’t talk about all the guys I have helped. What I will do is show you what I see from the top riders today. I will breakdown what I see riders doing and also what I see other riders not doing. With this information, you can then choose to do whatever you would like. The reason I do this stuff is to give you some ideas of things to try when you go riding so you can get better and be safer.

What works for one may not work for another, that’s why there are different styles and different riders on different bikes. It’s the same in all sports! They don’t all look the same, just because they are number one doesn’t mean that everyone will or can do it that way. If I were looking to get better, I would sure be looking at what the best are doing and give it a try.

So let’s get to it. When I was at the Elsinore National I thought about all the cornering articles and all the tips about how to. So I thought I would just shoot a turn or two and see what everyone was doing and share that with you.

Thank you for checking this out, I hope it helps you become a better, safer rider no matter what your skill level. Because I am in semi retirement after 43 years teaching full- time, I am only doing private coaching one-on-one or a few riders at a time. Most of my time is in Virginia; however, if you are on the west coast I will be spending some of this winter out in California with the kids and grandkids. If you are interested in scheduling a coaching session shoot me an email or go to my website

Thank you for checking out this article. Other similar articles can be found in the archive section. I hope all of my articles help you become a better, safer rider no matter what your skill level. Because I am in semi retirement after 43-years teaching full-time, I only do private one-on-one coaching or with a small group of riders. Most of my time is spent in Virginia, however, if you are on the west coast I do spend some of the winter months in California visiting my kids and grandkids. If you are interested in scheduling a coaching session shoot me an email or go to my website. You can come to the mountain or the mountain will come to you!

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
    magnus markestad September 20, 2012 at 8:08 am

    Having the leg as long forward like Roczen and Musquin, in fast turns is a bit oldschool.
    The straighter the leg is the weaker you are. (weight*lengt). And you can easyer loose your balance.
    Think this article was nice and open minded.

  2. Gravatar
    Rick Newman September 20, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Sorry Gary but, I'm not changing a single thing or defer from what you taught me WAY back in 1975! In fact, the entire 70's era package hasn't missed a season of motocross since. Not have I forgotten that famous rap on the knuckles! Besides, at my age, it would be like teaching the proverbial old dog...well, you know!

  3. Gravatar
    Alex Jaroshevich September 26, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Jump for show and corner for dough!

  4. Gravatar
    Kelly Shires November 29, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Gary, My memories of the Blue Frame Bultaco 250 that you sold me in 77 was the best ! Thank you for everything

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