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Dungey dishes out the Supercross tips

With the 2013 AMA Supercross championship (also an FIM World Championship) just a few weeks away we thought we’d ask recently turned 23 year old Red Bull KTM star Ryan Dungey for some expert advice when it comes to conquering the most technical and relentless form of closed-circuit dirt bike racing. Supercross is the second most-watched motorcycle series in the world and features some of the fastest athletes when it comes to knobbly tyres…

On the beginning…
First of all Supercross is something that requires a lot of technique and it is something you have to practice. For those starting out I would say ‘take it slow’, do not force things. You are going to want to do this and want to do that but back it down a notch and don’t feel like you have to jump everything. For any rider it is natural that you want to get out there and attack, but the whole rule of ‘slowing down to go faster’ is very true for supercross. When you rush this sport it can sometimes go against you. Slow a little into the corners to let the bike settle and then set-up the next section.

On bike positioning…
Staying in the centre of the bike and having a good bike set-up is key because things come at you really fast in supercross. You need to keep the bike balanced otherwise you will be out of shape for the next section.

On getting out of the gate and being fit…
It is all in the starts. It is the only part of the race where you can pass every rider and it will make things a lot easier for you. Supercross is high intensity. Our heart rate is exceeding 170bpm for sure. From the time the gate drops until the chequered flag a race can be between 17-25 minutes and it is pretty much an all-out effort, and it has to be if you want to think about winning. Motocross is about two 35 minute motos on the day so for 70 minutes it is also high intensity but it is more about longer endurance and trying to keep at that high level for as long as you can. Supercross is tighter and sharper.

On the mental side…
Your mind is so powerful. Just how you are thinking can affect how you feel and it’s an important area. When you get the physical side ‘down’ and get familiar with the tracks you get to a point where the mental part can make the difference. You have to constantly work on yourself and ask questions: How would I react in this situation? What would I do in this circumstance? What is motivating me? Everybody has different mentalities and forces that drive them on. Doing laps in your head is really important. Whether it is during the week before a race or just a few minutes before you go into the gate. You think about your lines but also your game plan and your strategy for attack.

On the moment when it all comes together…
You get to a point where you are really trying to figure it out but then eventually that moment comes where it all happens. You get that feeling and the win comes or gets much closer. That happened for me at the end of 2008. I started to feel more confident. If you break it down a bit more I think that period was a culmination of things that I had learned up until that point and also a big push that I made to be mentally stronger as a rider and competitor. I found a spot for myself in this sport. It can be very hard and you can get pushed around. There are times when you are pretty beaten-down from the worries and the stress of trying to perform and get those results. Part of the job is about how you deal with that and come through it.