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JS7 vs. RV MEC: The Pass

by The "Professor" Gary Bailey


Hey guys, Professor Bailey here to share a lap with you from the 2013 Monster Cup with Ryan Villopoto and James Stewart and to take a closer look at that textbook pass Stewart made on Villopoto. I'd like to share this lap and dedicate it too all those hard-working dedicated mechanics who did not necessarily have the best view to see all of the great racing during the race. I am sorry it has taken a little time to share this as I have been little busy the last couple weeks. This semi-retirement is not as easy as one may think, besides teaching a few private lessons and writing some articles, the wife and I had the opportunity to go down to Costa Rica to watch Tyler Bowers race in the Costa Rican championship. Not only was it a good time with good people but we also got to spend some time with Tyler, which was awesome. I've always known Tyler but this trip let me spend some time with him and see that he is not only an awesome rider and champion but also the kind of champion that we need. I say this because I have been around a lot of guys that have made it to number one and they act like they are better than everyone around them. Not this guy, he is humble and gracious. It is so refreshing to see someone at the top of his game without an attitude. He makes me think of Travis Pastrana in the way he appreciates everything and everyone. Class act Mr. Bowers .....

Let's get to what I saw at Monster Cup and let me preface this by saying, Monster Cup was awesome this year. In the past some say I have been a little hard on James Stewart but I was just giving my opinion of what I saw. I like James and what he does on a motorcycle alway amazes me. When it comes to going fast, he certainly knows how to do that.

For me, nothing was more exciting than watching past battles between Stewart and Reed. I always loved not only how fast James was going but how he would set Reed up for the pass. For the most part I've always liked Stewart's style. What I saw at Monster Cup was "old-style" James Stewart. but in my mind the question still remains. Is the old James Stewart back or will we see more of the wreckers or checkers James Stewart of the past few years?

Stewart for me has always been fast but the last few years I have found myself wondering, when is he going to crash? In contrast, I think Ryan Villopoto picked up the pace and got to the speed of James but always seemed to be more in control. I've never watched RV and thought to myself, "He's out of control. When is he going to crash!"

If you missed attending Monster Cup this year and did not have a chance to watch the race or practice, then you missed some quality riding like we haven't seen in a long time from two riders doing battle while riding with perfection. For me Villopoto was on his game as was expected, but the real surprise was James Stewart. Well, let's just say, he was back. What a treat to see James Stewart healthy and on top of his game! Boy, would I love to see this continue into the 2014 Supercross season. And, I would be remiss while I am focusing on Stewart and Villopoto as the Cream of the crop, if I didn't mention that there were plenty of other riders riding really well too. If the competition at Monster Cup is a preview of the 2014 SX season, I'd encourage everyone to buy season tickets now. I don't plan to miss a single race!

Crazy Stewart Scrub
First, I want to talk about that crazy scrub setup for the pass that Stewart put on Villopoto. There were several people talking about how much harder he scrubbed and how much lower he was than Villopoto. Well, there's no doubt that he threw a harder scrub but he was not lower than Villopoto. I know you're going to say that's not true because you saw a photo that looked like he was. Yes, there were photos that looked like he was lower but most of that was due to the camera angle and what point of the jump the photo was actually taken. If you look at it frame by frame from the same height that the riders are then you will see at one point Stewart's front wheel is actually slightly lower than Villopoto's but his rear wheel is higher than Villopoto's. But let's go beyond that in this analysis. If you time both riders' front wheels right at the take off of the ramp to the G out on the landing of the third jump you will find that the times are exactly the same. At the bottom of the ramp both riders were exactly the same distance apart as they were when they left the take off. But it is on the landing heading to the next turn where James really made his gain and setup for the pass.

Stewart Says Just Settle Down and See Ya
Okay, so let's back up a minute to the down ramp of the triple. If we freeze-frame just as the riders are landing, you will notice that Villopoto's front end is high and Stewart's front end is more at the angle of the down ramp. This angle allows Stewart to be wide-open on the landing and lets the suspension settle quicker creating a little more forward momentum while Villopoto's front end high angle tends to make the front end impact a little harder and rebound a little more. If you look closely, you will see that the real gain from Stewart was after the landing and the acceleration down the straightaway.

The Nascar Style Set Up
Maybe Stewart's time at JGR was not all for naught because Stewart's real set up for the pass was true Nascar. Stewart gets the drive down the jump and sets up on the far right for the next left. I see this as a sweet setup for a pass like road racing or car racing. Out, out, out, in. Stewart goes from one and a half bikes behind to the rear wheel of Villopoto on the outside. Stewart then is in position to set up the slide and the turn to cut back to the inside. While Villopoto tries to slow and hold the inside, Stewart makes the textbook pass carrying his momentum and cutting inside to make the pass. Sweet!

Just to give you an idea how close these two guys are, I'm going to give you a little bit of a comparison of different parts of the racetrack. When you look at this track map you're going to see from the finish line back to the finish line how close things really are. And rather than looking at it in hundreds of a second we're going to look at it in video frames. Let me first tell you if you're not familiar there are 30 frames per second with most video. Knowing that 15 frames would be a half a second, 10 frames would be a third of a second and three frames would basically be 1/8 of a second. So with that, let's see who was faster where. And then remember, of course this changes each lap and each section with who is the most perfect.

So, looking at the map diagram and breaking the track down this is how close the lap times are and where the pluses and minuses are. Remember this is only one lap of many so these numbers will change each lap and each little section per lap. I also make note of the fact that there was no gain on the big scrub and make note that on that particular lap, RV had a +2 from 5 to 6. But when it comes down to that big pass James had a +7 in the same section. Set up, drive, and determination.

These guy are so about detail it's crazy. They do things that most never see or think of and I love it. I am so looking forward to 2014 to see more of those Stewart, Villopoto battles. I sure hope Dungey gets back in the game with a little more intensity. And how cool will it be when Barcia, Tomac and Roczen step up the pace and get in that battle.

Can't wait for A1 2014. Stewart stay healthy and don't let us down. We need you at the top of your game!

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
    mxtompkins44 November 07, 2013 at 7:55 am

    Hey Professor Bailey, I also noticed how Stewart's technique at the Monster Cup was spot on perfect and he had a flow to his riding style. He must be taking notice of your articles!

  2. Gravatar
    Cory November 07, 2013 at 8:00 am

    Great observations but I think more than anything, Stewart read RV's line into that corner and knew that he could squeeze by on the inside and block the exit of the corner. Had RV held a tighter line that wouldn't have happened but I'm sure RV was following a rut and Stew just blazed a new line. The mental aspect of MX is what I love so much!

  3. Gravatar
    Randy November 07, 2013 at 9:46 am

    I was thinking that the overotation of the triple for Villopotto was also him not timing his throttle application correctly and being early on the gas driving the rear of the bike down before the bike was on the ground while Stewart was flawless and yes Stewarts front suspension did not compress as far on the G out. The outside in on the next corner was Brilliant beyond belief after the perfect set up. You are still the Master Professor Bailey I took your Canadian schools in 78 and 79 at Hully Gully

  4. Gravatar
    The logical Swedish moose November 07, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Professor Bailey,

    three frames would basically be 1/8 of a second...???

    Three frames would basically be 1/10 of a second!!! ;-)

  5. Gravatar
    Will November 07, 2013 at 10:28 am

    For the Frames per Second 11to12 I think you may have got that wrong? Should be the other way around right? I didn't think there was a lap after the 2nd lap where JS didn't jump all the way over the table, however I do remember RV not doing it a lap there because he made a mistake. Either way, great article.

  6. Gravatar
    Perry November 07, 2013 at 11:18 am

    It wasnt just camera angles that showed Stewart was lower over that triple. He started off behind Villopoto before the triple and came out nearly dead even on landing. EVERY camera angle showed he was lower. He scrubbed the crap out of that jump, watch it frame by frame and tell me hes not nearly dragging footpeg off the face.

  7. Gravatar
    Professor November 07, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    The logical Swedish moose,

    You are right. I was trying to make it simple in 1/2, 1/4, 1/8 sec and I should have said approximately.


    Never said he did not scrubb the crap out of the jump. If you want to think that Stewart gained on the scrubb then you are entitled to your opinion. However when Ryan's rear wheel is that the bottom of the ramp James front wheel is not there yet.

  8. Gravatar
    lieb248 November 07, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    What I thought was amazing is that stewart can scrub both ways, to the right and to the left, it seems to me, but I could be wrong everyone can scrub to the right cause if you watch that race no one was scrubbing down left on that jump like stewart, just my observation

  9. Gravatar
    byrner November 08, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    I think James was able to scrub harder and keep the front end lower because he was able to keep all his fingers on the grips, not wasting precious energy feathering the clutch lever.
    I could be wrong but I've finished top ten once on a local hare scramble.

  10. Gravatar
    bonocross November 09, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    I'm happy to hear you talk about that pass, when they said the "best pass" of the race was RV missing the joker I was pissed. By the way, I think JS7 actually MADE RV miss the joker with a beautifully timed break check as they went into it, what do you think?

  11. Gravatar
    Tony November 09, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    I have a new take idea.

    Villopoto was looking back going into the corner and then he had to be careful watching his line in case Stewart came in for a takeout. With RV being on the side going for the jump he could not scrub or angle as much knowing Stewart was beside him...he couldn't turn too much into the other lane to avoid a collision. Yes Stewart did an insane scrub whip, but it didn't look like Villopoto couldn't fully carve the way he wanted to on that jump like Stewart could. Stewart created a much better drive line out of the turn where Villopoto was just trying to protect his line illustrated by the lookback and line choice. A super scrub would have Villopoto turning his bike into Stewart's line?

    Amazing footage how just a wheel or compression makes a difference, it all looks so easy in real time/or in this case fast forward! After 20 years of watching these guys are so advanced that every grain of dirt spun counts! Stewart may be on the edge of crashing but that's because he is willing to go past the limit, is there such a thing? If there is a limit Villopoto has found it too! 2014 no limit in sight!

  12. Gravatar
    Slow Moe November 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    I used to try and pause McGrath at landing and the suspension would compress down almost evenly but not bounce back up again. Did he just have good body position to soak it up or I wonder how his settings would compare to Stewart or Villopoto...I used to hear a lot about Stewart's forks being stiff but how about RV, Reed, or old-schoolers from the 90's? Is finding speed outriding technique and settings?

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