Top Tips: Hard-Pack Speed

How to go faster on hard-pack

· 3 minutes read

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The recent round of the 2019 FIM Motocross World Championship in France posed a question that tends to arise a lot. What is that? How can one gain time on a track that is fast, slick, hard-pack and doesn't pose too many opportunities. Tracks like that can be found across the globe and, whilst they may not be as spectacular as St. Jean d'Angely, that basic issue that baffles riders stays the same.

It is easy to gain time or become faster on a sand track, for instance. Why is that? There is an abundance of lines and therefore a lot of opportunities to make new lines. Racing acumen comes into play at that point and those who latch onto new ideas the quickest gain ground, become faster and so on. Things do not develop in that way on a stereotypical hard-pack track though. Although the ruts get deeper and braking bumps get taller, there is still typically one fast way to get around the track and most tend to crowd to that one spot.

Is it possible to make a difference? Yeah, sure. The fact is that it is all about the details. It is not as simple as just charging into a turn faster or staying lower on a jump, instead it is about tidying up technique and ensuring that you are as fluid as possible whilst flowing from one turn to the next. A mistake on a hard-pack track can be costly and cause a rider to lose five seconds, a margin that can take an eternity to recover from. Again, in comparison, one good line on a sand track can result in a five-second swing in one lap alone. This is why it is so very important to tidy everything up on the hard-pack.

Anyway, how does this swing back around and relate to the Grand Prix of France that was mentioned previously? There was no clear place to make a difference on the historic circuit, yet former world champion Tim Gajser did it and went more than a second quicker than nine-time world champion Antonio Cairoli on each lap. Crazy! That fact puzzled countless pundits across the globe, so we went directly to #243 for an answer that could potentially impact and influence weekend warriors across the world. What was learnt?

"I think the track did not allow us to be really aggressive," Tim Gajser told us exclusively. "You had to be really smooth on the gas and the throttle to pick up the smooth lines. In the corners, because they were ripping, you had four or five lines into the corner. It was kind of like choose the right one and also leave the brakes into the corner, so you carry more momentum. On the exit also, especially uphill, so you really have to be clean out of the corner. That was the section I think where I tried to be smoother."

One would presume that a world champ does not have to try to be smooth, yet that is the case. It is something that riders across the globe can relate to and often encounter as an internal struggle of sorts. This is reassurance that attempting to perfect that style of riding is the way to move forward though! It is worth taking one step back to take two steps forward in some cases, which is exactly what Tim Gajser did at the Grand Prix of France. Gajser refused to rush, really took his time and flourished as a result of that.

Mistakes stem from rushing and forcing the issue. The next time that you end up frustrated and desperate, think of this and just take a step back. Doing that can allow someone to

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