One of the more-difficult types of terrain to master is whoop sections. Each set of whoops is different--you can even hit the same section a dozen times, and each time it could be an entirely different experience. To help guide you through the proper way to attack them, we spoke with Team Suzuki/Yoshimura factory rider William Yokley. Yokley has seen his fair share of whoops in all shapes and sizes throughout his distinguished GNCC and Baja racing careers, and he pounds through those rippin' rhythm sections like a champ!
Editor's note: Before you attack whoops at speed, you should hit them at a conservative pace. It's not a smart idea to just carelessly blast over whoop sections without rolling through them first. Look at the approach and downslope of each one, the distance between the rollers and other features. Not until you have thoroughly studied the whoops should you approach them with any sort of speed.
Notice how Yokley positions his body toward the rear of his Suzuki as he skims over the top of the whoops. By keeping his body weighted to the rear of the quad and staying on the throttle, he is able to keep the front end light. As the rear suspension compresses, you can see how he has transitioned his weight to the middle of the machine, thus adjusting his attack position to keep the ATV level. As he moves his weight off the rear of the machine, he is better able to maneuver it around as necessary. When he wants to drive hard off the edge of a whoop, Yokley squats down on the rear of the machine again and drives it forward using an even amount of throttle.
Yokley's Secret Whoop Tips
"There are few other obstacles that can toss you on your head faster than a gnarly set of whoops, so be careful," Yokley warns. "Ride smart, and don't get in over your head. It's best to start out slowly and build up speed as your skills develop. Here are a few tips I've learned throughout my career that have helped me get through whoops as effectively as possible."
1. First and foremost, preride the whoop sections before hitting them at speed!
2. When hitting whoops for the first time, be totally aware of what is ahead at all times. I like to glance several whoops ahead to prep myself for what's coming next.
3. Your goal is to skim or glide over the top of the whoops while keeping the quad as level as possible. You don't want to roll into the transitions between the whoops--that will only slow you down.
4. I keep my weight mostly toward the back of the machine, but I try and keep my butt off the seat so I can remain in the attack position as much as possible. You may need to shift back and forth between the front and back of the quad to keep it level while transferring between whoops.
5. If you shift all your weight to the back and keep it there, you can bottom out the shock. If that happens, the rear suspension won't be able to react properly and the shock might pack and buck you. Make sure you move freely with the quad as it skims the tops of the whoops.
6. Always have a good grasp on the handlebar--you don't want to roll into a tough whoop section only to lose your grip!
7. If you find that you're getting out of shape and the quad is starting to swap sideways or is generally getting out of control, either you need to apply some throttle to get it back in line or you may need to get on the brakes and slow down. Unfor-tunately, it's very hard to give a textbook answer here--each whoop section is different, and every ride through it could give you different results. Ultimately, you have to judge the situation, and the only way you'll be able to do so is by having plenty of experience (which means you have to practice quite a bit!).