JC Hilderbrand, Off-Road Editor

Whip it real good

Motocross riders are the most stylish of all dirt bike racers – or at least they should be! Ask any racer out there, even the ones who look the most natural and fluid on the track, and I bet most of them would say the coolest thing to do is a whip. Everyone can put their own personal touch on a whip, but before you can customize, you’ve got to have the basic skills down. We had the joy of watching former 125 SX champion and regular MotoUSA professional test rider, Damon Huffman, effortlessly toss the rear end of a Yamaha during a photo shoot at the 2011 Yamaha YZ450F First Ride. He threw them off of a step-up with a seat bounce, standing up and one-legged, so we asked him to break it down for us – nice and simple – so our unstylish little journalist brains can understand.

If you’re a cool cat who’s got it figured out, just enjoy the pretty pictures. If not, take some notes from this old pro during his day at Racetown 395. You can get personal tutoring from Huff Daddy with during one of his motocross lessons. Check out his website, www.damonhuffman.com, for more information.

How to whip…

Step 1 – This particular jump is right out of a corner, so making a clean turn is important. When exiting the corner you need to start looking ahead. You want to see the face of the jump and make sure you’re hitting a clean line. This is only the first step, so it’s important to come out of the corner smooth and in control.

Step 2 – Now I’m on the face of the jump. This particular jump is a step-up that kind of turns a bit. I have selected a clean line away from ruts, and I’m beginning to lean with the bike on the takeoff. You can see that I’m on the balls of my feet and my weight is leaning forward. This is a good balanced position to ensure a nose-down landing which is essential. Leaning on the takeoff is where it all starts for a smooth rhythm to the whip.

Step 3 – Once airborne, my weight continues to fall to the inside and my bike begins to float out. You want to let the rear of the bike come around a bit. This is a learned sensation that takes time to get comfortable with, so start out slowly and build up to this.

Step 4 – Here I’m pretty much at the apex of the jump. I’m nice and level, but soon my front end will be dropping. I have the bars turned out a little, steering into the whip. The rear of the bike is still coming around and I’m spotting my landing already.

Step 5 – I am coming down nose-first with the bars a little straighter now. I have clearly spotted my landing and the bike is beginning to straighten up. The size and the takeoff of the jump, really dictate how much you can whip it on a particular jump. Here I did just a smooth, flowing whip. This is what you should work on first in learning how to whip.

Step 6 – My front end has touched down, although the rear is still kicked out a bit, I have the bars turned in the direction that I’m traveling. This is very important to ensure a smooth roll out on your landing. I have both feet planted on the pegs and my knees are in to help support the landing. I’m also touching down at the top of the jump just on the down side. It is crucial, when whipping to clear the jump perfectly.

Step 7 – I have made a clean whip with a smooth landing. I’m now traveling perfectly straight, am in total control and able to sit down, relax and ride it out. The landing is important, so again, start out slow and build up to a full whip. Start by finding a jump that you’re comfortable with and start to experiment by leaning off the face a little. This will be the start of whipping it for you.