TEN THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TAKE-OUT MOVES
1) The art. To perform a take-out move with precision and effectiveness is much like in martial arts. It has to be executed with a calm and fluid matter. When it involves anger, it is much like the meathead at the bar swinging for haymakers. Maybe he will connect, but the odds are he won’t. His big swing leaves his body wide open for the opponent to retaliate.
2) Why do it? For some riders, take-out moves are part of their modus operandi. Riders like Tyler Bowers and Justin “Bam Bam” Barcia are known as dirty riders. Their aggressive passing puts them on the radar of other riders, who may choose a preemptive strike to avoid being a Bowers or Barcia victim.
3) Commitment. Take-out moves are not for the faint of heart. Making a commitment to get your fender in front of the opponent is a high-risk move, and you can never predict the outcome. A smart rider stalks his prey by studying his lines while searching for the best place to attack. But, even with the best riders this technique can backfire, as happened with Trey Canard jumping inside of Chad Reed at Anaheim II into a tight 90-degree corner. Trey studied Chad’s moves and found a place to attack, but Chad switched his line from the outside to the inside at the last second, which resulted in a collision that put both of them on the ground. Chad Reed retaliated and was disqualified because Trey was off the racing line and only had one hand on the bars when Chad punted him.
4) Block pass. When performing a block pass, there should be no intention of either rider crashing. Block passing is common operating procedure in Arenacross and Supercross. The outside lines of the corners are usually banked high and fast, which results in the inside being slower, but shorter. To make a block pass stick and still be as safe as possible, the chasing rider needs to be on the inside of his opponent and close enough that the other rider is aware of his presence. It is important the other rider know that something might happen—so he can check up or cut back. There is a fine line between a block pass and a take-out move. The intent may not be to hit the other rider, but if the rider is unaware before contact is made, it will be labeled as a deliberate take-out.
5) Brake checking. Brake checking is a very simple technique that is easily performed in tight, rutted turns. When your opponent follows you into a rut, all you have to do to slow him down is to slam on the brakes in the apex of the corner. Your opponent will either hit you or be thrown off balance. This maneuver is best used to throw a rider off his rhythm and get him off your tail, but it is also a sure-fire way to get your opponent’s blood boiling to seek revenge.
ACCIDENTS HAPPEN, BUT TRY TELLING THAT TO THE RIDER YOU JUST SLAMMED INTO.
Rubbing is racing. You could see this collision coming from a mile away as Jody Weisel (75) comes in hot to gently lift Mic Rodgers (115) out of the corner—as Lars Larsson charges just in case a hole opens up. Mic paid Jody back in the next turn.
6) Cross-jumping. Intending to take a rider’s line in mid-air is the bottom of the barrel of take-out moves. The majority of riders will not cross-jump an opponent because touching in mid-air goes against the self-preservation gene. But, you have to distinguish between cross-jumping a rider you are trying to pass and jumping from side to side to avoid being passed. Neither one of them makes friends, and both are taboo. Also risky is throwing a whip in the face of a rider who closes up on you over a jump. Whipping it in front of another rider is an in-your-face move that is guaranteed to make the whipee angry beyond belief. Thus, the whipper had better put some distance between himself and the guy he just insulted before the next corner.
7) Pinched off. From the starting line to the first corner, the track is shaped like a funnel. The best line to get through the first turn unscathed is to take the shortest and straightest route to the first corner. The danger of going straight up the inside is that if you don’t get there first, you will be pinched off by the riders sweeping through from outside of you. In this case, discretion is the better part of valor, and you should back off and try to turn tight. If you don’t shut off, there will be a first-turn pile-up in your future. But, if you take the shortest route and get to the turn first, you call the shots.
8) One-lap rule. What is the “one-lap rule”? It is an unwritten rule that says a faster rider will give himself and a slower rider one lap before anything forceful will happen. If you get caught by a faster rider and start blocking him, his patience will wear out on the next lap around. Not that you have to let faster riders by, but you have to be aware that a clock is ticking and eventually things will start getting aggressive.
9) Oops. Accidents happen, but try telling that to the rider that you just slammed into. Maybe you missed your brakes, maybe you got whiskey throttle, maybe you thought he was going to take the outside line. Whatever happened, you see it as a racing incident, but the other guy doesn’t see it that way and you can now put him on the list of competitors who have it out for you.
10) T-bone. The definition of a T-bone is crashing the front of your bike into the side of another vehicle—a motorcycle in this case. The resulting collision forms a “T.” Unless it was an obvious and unfortunate accident, it falls in the category of endangering another rider. T-bones can almost always be traced to revenge for some earlier incident—maybe a month old or maybe two turns old. The T-bone is the most obvious black-flag offense. And, don’t think that T-bones only happen on the track; many a rider has been T-boned at the track exit or in the pits by an angry competitor.