Pascal Eckhardt’s driving tips for the racetrack part 5

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Pascal Eckhardt's driving tips for the racetrack part 5
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Pascal Eckhardt’s driving tips for the racetrack part 5

Pascal Eckhardt’s driving tips for the racetrack
Part 5 Correct sitting position

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Hanging-off is the whole big thing among athlete fans. But how do you do it properly and how do you sit at all, many ask. There is no simple answer – as is so often the case – PS instructor and IDM crack Pascal Eckhardt is certain.

Pascal Eckhardt

04/17/2013


Pascal Eckhardt's driving tips for the racetrack part 5


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Eckhardt: “I do hanging-off, not Kelle – in the end we were mostly pretty much the same speed”.

As I write these lines, the lousy winter weather is still bothering us. My fingers itch a lot, especially on the right. But it gives us time to think about an important aspect of motorcycling. Today’s topic: “Sitting”. What sounds banal is quite complex on a motorcycle, and even more so on a racing motorcycle. But one thing you have to know: Correct sitting on the motorcycle cannot be broken down into steps one, two, three and so on.

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Overview: racetracks in Europe

Race track training with the MOTORRAD action team

Movements must be fluid

I have often observed how self-proclaimed instructors have explained to their buddies that you first slide backwards, then put your foot down one way or another, then immediately twist your bottom, immediately bend your arm, then hold your nose in this or that direction and then only brake. Unfortunately, it looks just as choppy when you see them driving. Just as the line has to be made of one piece, the movements on the motorcycle have to be fluid. In order to achieve this, there is only one central message: stay relaxed!

In this regard, I had a key experience with none other than Kevin Schwantz. It was my luck that I could exchange a few words with my Hero during the Sachsenring GP, including about “Riding Style”. Using a few drivers who drove through the downhill passage behind the paddock, he showed me what it means to sit comfortably on the bike and just let the motorcycle run. The machines of some pilots started pumping like crazy after they were turned over and accelerated out. Nevertheless, the pilots didn’t seem to mind and the motorcycles calmed down after a few meters, although the drivers stubbornly kept the gas tap open. Of course, the GP stars have the best suspensions and the best electronics in the world, but it was basically due to something completely different.

“Sit on the bike like a jockey” was Kevin’s message. And that’s mine, too: Sit on the bike like a jockey, the reins, uh sorry, the stumps loosely in your hand, weight on the pegs and when things get tough, bum up and take the strain off your hump. So when you drive, check again and again whether you are -locker. If your forearms burn after a turn, you are sitting far too tense on the motorcycle. Then always think of Kevin’s jockey!

Gymnastics insoles during training

In hardly any situation is “staying relaxed” more crucial than when cornering. And what doesn’t you get when you sit in the stands during training? Pilots do inserts so that Fabian Hambuchen’s world championship horizontal bar exercise comes across like children’s gymnastics.

Theoretically, the hanging-off makes sense, of course, because by shifting weight I change the center of gravity of the pilot and the motorcycle, which in turn has an impact on my possible cornering speed. But as mentioned above, the movement has to come from a single source and serve my main objective, namely to get faster.

But if I first move around in a cumbersome manner, load the pegs in an uncoordinated manner and fidget on the handlebars, I have way too much time, can only be too slow and also cause unbelievable restlessness on the motorcycle. If I then hang from the motorcycle at a 25 degree incline that my knee slider brushes against it, that is not only counterproductive, it also looks stupid.

Do not force hanging-off

There is actually no precise recipe for how hanging-off works properly, the topic has already been exhausted by many “competent” advisors. But the cracks among you should also think about what it’s really about. Keep calm! Use physics, but stay calm! You should feel comfortable at all times, because that signals to you that it is slipping. If you don’t like the extreme hanging-off style, don’t force it – it works pretty quickly without it.

When I went out on the track together with my new IDM team-mate Christian Kellner for the first time in early 2009, I always thought to myself, why is he almost boring his helmet into the asphalt but not slipping off the seat? “Kelle” drives an almost completely upright driving style and was therefore not only one of the fastest in the Supersport World Championship. I do hanging-off, trowel not – in the end we were mostly pretty much the same speed. What does that tell us? Find your own style and ride your bike like a jockey!


Pascal Eckhardt's driving tips for the racetrack part 5


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Not only does it look ridiculous, it is also an indication of a lack of speed – hanging-off gymnastics exercise at a 25 degree incline.

Speaking of style: With the MotoGP stars, it is popular to emphasize the inside leg when braking. There have been countless interviews with the drivers about why they are doing this. They didn’t really know it themselves. So why are hobby drivers suddenly doing it, lapping the Hockenheim GP course in 2.15 minutes? The moral of the story: Find your own style – but get fast, stay relaxed, stay seated and don’t make a fool of yourself!

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