Tips from a Grand Prix mechanic
Red Bull KTM mechanic Rami Falt has overseen the last two FIM Motocross World Championship MX2 titles with Jeffrey Herlings. The likeable Finn spared us some of his precious time at the Motocross of Nations to reveal three of the quick and basic tips he uses to assist the Dutch genius in the search of all those victories.
1. Mesh to keep the engine cool in wet and muddy conditions
“When the ground is wet and you have a lot of mud flying around then it can pack-up the radiator. So on the radiator grill we put a mesh over the top to offer some protection and keep the engine performance at a maximum. It is quite a common trick in the paddock and just helps keep the radiator and engine cool. It is a five-minute job but it can help a lot because a DNF is always a risk in the mud races. You can get special nets, and in our case we use a plastic product from Twin Air. Other brands have the mesh and some with variations on the size of the holes but the function is still the same.”
2. Front fork hook adjustment to refine a good start
“The start hook is something we have worked a lot with Jeffrey this year. You can adjust the gap between the hook and the ring on the fork; the more tension you have on the front then the less traction you have on the rear wheel. For the hard starts you want a little bit less grip whereas on soft terrain you want more, so less tension on the forks. It helps so the bike doesn’t start pulling a wheelie or is wheel-spinning away. More or less every weekend we are changing this set-up. We have three or four settings worked out with Jeffrey and we sometimes have to work a little bit during the GP to find the right one. It is a small and helpful thing but can be a bit ‘on-off’ in terms of how well it works. There are many more factors involved for a good start, of course…”
3. Slimming the gear lever for deep ruts
“On the shifter for KTM the peg is quite long. I always like to cut 5mm away and it works well for my rider. You can see the lines that are marked and we just remove one section. The peg-end is shorter and when you have a hard-pack track with ruts then there is slightly less risk of catching it on the ground. It is something you grasp just from looking around the paddock. For example the ones Honda use are really small, they are tiny, it is the half of what we have. Jeffrey never complains and shifts well, getting the gears in place. He is a tall guy with a size 48 boot so he needs something to tap up and down but it is just an example of a small assistance we found.”