How to crash on the racetrack

We talked before about how to prepare for the racetrack in order to get the most out of your day and fully enjoy this experience. But if something goes wrong you should also know how to crash.

I don’t want to scare anyone with this article, I just want to inform you and I think if something scares us, we should talk about it. If we know more our fears will have another dimension and will appear more manageable. 

And I’m assuming you have a full safety gear on because this makes a huge difference. 

Different types of crashes

It doesn’t mean that you can pick the one you like, it just happens. Knowing what can happen in extreme grip conditions will lead you to a better understanding of what is actually going on underneath your tires. 

The Low-Side

It generally happens in the first part till the middle of the corner for too much weight on the front tire or too much lean angle. The crash is usually not too bad because you’re already close to it. The rest is just sliding, relax and let the protectors do their job. In some cases, a low-side is possible to recover especially if they’re pretty slow. The front tire tends to “tell” you that you’re about to lose grip and if you’re quick enough you can lift the bike and regain grip. 

Bautista's Bike

The High-Side

This can happen from the apex to the exit of the corner. Accelerating too much in relation to the lean angle will make the rear tire spin, which it’s ok if you can control it. But if it spins more than that you will lose the rear end. The natural reaction is to close the throttle but in fact, there is nothing to do to save a high-side. At this point, the back tire will gain grip instantaneously with consequent compression of the shock absorber which will shoot you in the air like a catapult. There is almost no chance to save a high-side because it happens faster than you can think and more forces come into play. All this will happen in a fraction of a second. This type of crash can be very painful, mostly because of you’ll find yourself 2 meters up in the air still at 150 km/h. 





The Collision 

This is actually very rare. The start of a race and the first lap are risky situations for a collision. Also, every loss of control when two or more bikes are very close can lead to a collision. In this case, it’s very important to keep your line so that the other riders will know where you are and where are you going. 

Motorcycle crash

Do it like a Pro

So most of the professional riders crash pretty often compares to a normal person but how do they manage to stand up like superheroes in most of the cases? Why does the regular rider get injured so easily? There are several things that pros do differently or pay attention to.

  • Relaxing – I know it sounds crazy, but the moment you hit the ground you should relax. Don’t contract your muscles, it doesn’t matter how strong you are, the tarmac is harder. If you don’t relax there is no space for tolerance in your body and you’ll be more likely to break a bone.
  • Training – Professional riders are real athletes. Their bodies are trained and flexible therefore more resistant and in the case of an injury, faster to recover.
  • Keep your hands and feet away from sand and curbs – let the protectors do their job and don’t try to stop your slide with your hands or feet. If they get stuck in the sand or against the curb they can break.
  • Don’t to stand up too soon – I’ve seen this even in experienced riders sometimes. Riding at 270 km/h will alter your sense of speed so much that when you crash at 180 km/h, sliding at 80 km/h will feel like 8 km/h. A good friend of mine says he doesn’t try to stand up when the gravel is still in the air. A this is a pretty clear and visual and advice.
  • Let it go – Some people simply don’t want to fall so they don’t let the bike. If your handlebar is already on the ground there is simply nothing to do to save it. Do yourself a favor and separate yourself from the bike, you’ll lower the risk of injuries especially to your hands. 

Joey Dunlop’s crashing technique

Joey Dunlop had a younger brother, named Jim. Joey was the great TT champion, he didn’t fall often and he rarely got injured. But Jim did, so as a good older brother Joey wanted to teach him how to fall. So they sat on the hood of a car driven by a friend on a beach at 70 km/h. Joey took the first run. He jumped off the car and after he stopped rolling he stood up, shook the sand off his leather and said “You see? You just have to relax the moment you hit the ground”. This time was Jim’s turn. He sat on the hood, the car speed up to 70, he jumped off the car and broke his collarbone.


A damn good advice

Do not fall in the first place. I’m serious, ride with care for yourself and the others. If you’re not racing there is no need to experience the limit, which is a line you don’t want to cross on public roads. 

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Von Nicholas Weaver – Eigenes Werk, CC BY 3.0,…

Photo credits by Christof Berger – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,…


Editor of Gasolirium, test-rider, and content writer. He began in the two-stroke era which makes him feel pretty old but gave him the chance to race everything from 125cc to 1000cc. All useless experiences when he got lost in the Sahara desert with nothing but a can of beans.

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